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SILENT HILL
(Widescreen Edition)

As movie adaptations of video games go, SILENT HILL ($29) is a winner. This isnít to say that the film is a great triumph of the cinema, but SILENT HILL fills out the skeleton of its video game origins with moody/creepy/atmospheric/disturbing visuals that draw the viewer into the labyrinthine town of the filmís title, which we quickly discover, exists somewhere outside reality. The actual town of Silent Hill was once a thriving coal mining community, until a disaster left a coal fire raging underground and the ash-laden town abandoned. SILENT HILL follows Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) and adoptive daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who journey to the modern ghost town to quell the night terrors that still grip the girl.

Breaking through the barricades that segregate Silent Hill from the outside world, Rose ends up crashing her vehicle and knocking herself unconscious. When she awakens, Rose discovers Sharon missing and spends the rest of the film desperately trying to find her adoptive daughter amongst the seemingly human and nightmarish inhabitants of Silent Hill. Sure, the plot of SILENT HILL has gaps in logic that one could fly a 747 through, but the unsettling atmosphere created by the filmís visuals doesnít allow one to think about such flaws until the movie has finished unspooling. The cast of SILENT HILL also features Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen and Alice Krige.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made SILENT HILL available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is another fine looking transfer from Sony, which produces a crisp and nice defined image, despite the stylized look of the film. Colors are intentionally de-saturated much of the time, but the sequences outside of the otherworldly Silent Hill are quite vibrant. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and the picture boasts pretty good contrast within the filmís intended look. Shadow detail has its limitations, which helps with the creepiness factor of whatís lurking in the dark. The film elements appear virtually pristine and there is modest grain. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed.

SILENT HILL boasts a well-mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The track is fairly aggressive in deploying sound effects during key moments, with sounds jumping out from all of the discrete channels. At other times the track is subdued, but decidedly creepy and atmospheric. Fidelity is quite strong, with the music having a good sense of presence and the sound effect being completely convincing. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplemental content. The DVDís key supplement related to the feature film is Path Of Darkness: Making Silent Hill, which is a nearly hour long six part documentary broken into the following segments: Origins, Casting, Set Design, Stars And Stunts, Creatures Unleashed and Creature Choreography. Assorted trailers close out the supplemental content.

SILENT HILL is a solid movie adaptation of a video game that greatly benefits from its haunting visuals. Sonyís DVD delivers the goods, so genre fans that missed SILENT HILL in the theater will find the disc a good substitute.

 

SILENT HILL (WIDESCREEN EDITION) 


Silent Hill (Widescreen Edition) (2006)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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