As a huge fan of the Silent Hill video game series, I was really looking forward to Christophe Gans' ("Brotherhood of the Wolf") film adaptation. The potential was there, and at the very least, fans were guaranteed a faithful adaptation, written and directed by talented individuals (the writer, Roger Avary, contributed to "Pulp Fiction") who were also huge fans of the games. After a lengthy wait, the film has finally arrived, and while it is by far the most well made game-to-film adaptation yet, it misses just as often as it hits.
The most important area of concern for fans was the film's atmosphere. While the game's creepy atmosphere was translated well enough, it is often destroyed by a bombardment of CGI beasties, or interrupted by lengthy and unnecessary exposition sequences (featuring a sadly out of place Sean Bean). What made the games so creepy was the feeling of paranoia as you walk down a dark, empty hallway, not knowing what may lie just around the corner. And in the game, there is often [i]nothing[/i] around the corner, but the player's nerves are shaken nonetheless. The film forgets this logic in favor of throwing countless monsters at the main character, Rose, to the point where the audience feels like it's... watching someone play a video game.
The movie is not without some interesting highlights, however. A scene with Rose being pursued by child-like demons has a very suspenseful build-up, using minimal lighting and jarring sound effects in way that will leave the audience cowering. There is an incredibly creepy sequence in which Rose is trapped in a school restroom with a mutilated zombie janitor, which looks like it came directly from the imagination of Clive Barker. There is also a very tense sequence featuring fan-favorite "Pyramid Head" attempting to use a man-sized sword to stab Rose through a metal door that will remind movie-lovers of a certain elevator scene in Terminator 2.
But while these sequences keep the film at an above-average level of quality for much of its running time, it unfortunately takes a nose-dive with about 20 minutes to go, resulting in a ridiculously violent and tasteless climactic scene that will leave the audience in a state of shock - and not in a good way.
With Silent Hill, Gans has delivered an extremely flawed film that has a handful of very memorable moments. I would still recommend it to fans of the game and gorehound horror fans, but in the end, this ambitious film is nothing more than average.