I love the concept of looking at horror movies, but very rarely am I actually satisfied after seeing one. As most people who know me are aware, I’m not a ‘blood and guts’ kind of girl. I have nothing against it. I’ve seen all of the Saw movies, I’m a huge fan of The Collector and I could go and on about the deliciously twisted ending of Hostel 2. The thing is, most times those scenes don’t inspire even the hint of goose bumps (at least for me). They’re entertaining, sometimes downright disgusting, and utterly entertaining when they make those around me cringe because I get to laugh at them. However, unless they’re extremely well done, they don’t get under my skin.
I appreciate the weird and twisted because, in many ways, I am weird and twisted. It’s fun and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Perhaps that’s why I am solidly in the corner of people who appreciate the Silent Hill movie. I know its definition as a ‘horror’ movie is contentious. I know it wasn’t perfect. I know the ending was confusing as hell, even for those familiar with the game franchise. Still, in my humble opinion, the good outweighed the bad enough to land it on my list of favorites. So what it is exactly that I liked about the movie?
The lesson: I know that’s not something anyone looks for in a horror movie, especially when a lot of them to prey on people’s fear of foreign countries and hillbillies. Silent Hill had a lesson and, while I’m not about to get into a religious debate with anyone, it was a damn good one. All I will say is that I was quite gratified by the vengeance meted out on the holier-than-thou types.
The atmosphere: No matter what your opinion of its content, you have to admit that Silent Hill sported some seriously creepy locations. The fog, the decaying buildings, the myriad of dark hallways, all left you with a sense of apprehension at what might pop out from around the next corner. The fear is a little bit more psychological than knock-you-over-the-head brutal. I am a huge fan of that.
The soundtrack: I could easily describe this with one word: haunting. I was tempted to learn how to play the piano just so I could replicate Alessa’s Harmony, but I’m lazy so I settled for downloading it instead. In my humble opinion, Akira Yamaoka is a genius. And it’s not just the actual music. How about that air raid siren? I love the fact that every time it sounded you were treated to a new monstrosity. Let’s not dwell too much on those things, which were clearly conceived through a madman’s nightmares.
The special effects: I know what you’re probably asking yourself right now. What special effects? That’s just it. Too often, horror movies end up looking overly cartoonish when they rely too heavily on computer generated animation (as in the scene where Pyramid Head rips off Anna’s skin). I’ve seen a lot of the behind the scenes footage from the making of the Silent Hill movie and I was really blown away by how much of it was just people in expertly done make up.
Well there are you have it: the main reasons why I love Silent Hill. I could make a list of many more points but I want you to like me, or at least not wonder when my verbal diarrhea will come to an end. The answer to that would be right now.