Blu-ray Review: Silent Hill (Collector’s Edition)

Sometimes it’s best that you don’t know that a movie was based on a videogame. Mario Brothers and Doom made you want to scream at whomever was holding the controls for constantly going the wrong way. Whenever a scene doesn’t make sense in a Resident Evil flick, you figure that this must be a major fighting location in the game. The players need to see the “real world” version of their computer game. What’s frustrating is that when a video game movie begins to drag, you can’t scream out a cheat code to the projectionist and get to a more exciting level. Not owning a PlayStation, I hadn’t a clue that Silent Hill was based on a videogame. Upon first viewing, Silent Hill felt like it was based on a fever dream.

Rose Da Silva (Pitch Black‘s Radha Mitchell) is concerned that her adopted daughter (Tideland‘s Jodelle Ferland) is sleepwalking into dangerous places and muttering about Silent Hill. She finds out that Silent Hill is a ghost town in West Virginia that has been empty for nearly 30 years because of an underground coal mine fire that’s still burning away. The husband (Ronin‘s Sean Bean) isn’t sure what to do, but knows that taking her to Silent Hill is a bad idea. Rose doesn’t take his advice, grabs their daughter and does a late night drive to the town. She gets a hint that something is wrong because there’s no real directions to the town. Her desire to find the town is so overwhelming she speeds off with motorcycle cop Cybil Bennett (The Walking Dead‘s Laurie Holden) in pursuit. After Rose smashes her car through a locked gate blocking entrance to the town, she spins out while avoiding a local that vanishes. Her daughter disappears in this land where ash flakes fall on the land like snow in a blizzard. She finds the town is filled with nightmare creatures and strange cult-like people who might know the secret of her daughter. Even if she leans the truth, can she get back home to reunite her family?

Silent Hill is a visual masterpiece of a Hell on Earth. There’s so much messed up stuff on the screen. There’s nothing lurking in the shadows because the horror steps into the key light. The scares are endless. Even when you think things are “calm,” the nightmare emerges from simple items. The production design is never normal. This is not a good movie for impressionable children since they’ll never use a public bathroom again. What’s especially interesting about the film is that it’s a female character driven horror film. Two of the major local characters are played by Alice Krige (Chariots of Fire) and Deborah Kara Unger (Crash). But this is not a traditional Chick Flick since they don’t dance around a table to a Motown hit. They don’t even dance when they roast someone over the bonfire in a church. Silent Hill: Collector’s Edition really lets a viewer get deeper into the grotesque world of the town that’s eternally on fire. At no point do you wish you were in control of the joystick.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The resolution brings out the floating ash in the air and all the nasty stuff oozing all around the town. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround to bring the bumps all over your living room. There’s also a 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo mix if you just want noises from the front of the room. The movie is subtitled in English.

Audio Commentary With Cinematographer Dan Laustsen really lets him talk about the look and effects in the film. He’s brought his atmospheric camera work to Crimson Peak, Shape of Water and the last two John Wick films.

Theatrical Trailer (2:27) sets up why mom would drive her kid to Silent Hill.

Interview With Director Christophe Gans covers the Origin (26:01), Adapting a True Work of Art (21:21) and Delivering a Nightmare (24:50). He speaks French. He speaks of the fans who were going to be upset if he screwed up their favorite game. He understand their feelings. He engaged the fans online so they knew that he also played the game and was also one of those people who’d be upset if he screwed it up. He also hired a crew that knew how to make things look like a nightmare on screen.

A Tale Of Two Jodelles (26:03) is an interview with Actress Jodelle Ferland. She was acting as a toddler so she spent most of her childhood on film sets and waiting for auditions. She was able to be happy.

Dance Of The Pyramid (36:34) talks with actor Roberto Campanella. He’s a dancer and not that scary of a guy without the giant metal mask. He also devised the movement of the other creatures.

Interview With Makeup-Effects Artist Paul Jones has the talk split between Monster Man (30:44) about his career and Silent Hill (25:34) with a focus on the film. He enjoyed his director’s passion for film.

Path Of Darkness: The Making of Silent Hill – A Six-Part Documentary on Origins (8:53), Casting (10:15), Set Design (10:25), Stars & Stunts (7:51), Creatures Unleashed (12:38) and Creature Choreography (11:37). This was made at the time of production and release. The only thing they don’t reveal are cheat codes for the game.

The Making Of Silent Hill (14:29) is a vintage featurette with parts of the longer documentary.

Around the Film (4:29) are on set interviews with the cast and crew.

Photo Galleries includes still Photos (7:01) and posters (3:21) that are also nightmare inducing.

Scream Factory presents Silent Hill: Collector’s Edition. Directed by: Christophe Gans. Screenplay by: Roger Avary. Starring: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Jodelle Ferland & Sean Bean. Rated: Unrated. Running time: 125 minutes. Rated: R. Released: July 9, 2019.

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