Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Silent Hill

Last night I went to the late (as in 10:10 PM late) show at the budget theater here in Ames. I wanted to see the movie Silent Hill, even though it had been absolutely eviscerated by the critics. I figured it's hard for a horror film to disappoint me because I always go in with low expectations and besides, a lot of horror flicks I've really enjoyed were mauled by critics. But I think that Roger Ebert's critique said it best.

"Not only can I not describe the plot of this movie, but I have a feeling the last scene reverses half of what I thought I knew (or didn't know)."

It was very disappointing on so many levels, but what mostly bothered me was how much it seemed to revel in its own obtuseness. It seemed to love being deliberately confusing -- always putting the viewer in the position that they have to guess what's going on (with pretty much no context to be guessing from) only to get the Info-Dump about 2/3rds of the way through. And even with the Info-Dump, it still didn't make sense.

Add to this that the characters were just plain annoying. The main female lead spent the first 30 minutes of the movie running around in the fog/ash of Silent Hill yelling "Sharon! Sharon!" until you just wanted the kid to answer simply to shut her up. And how Sean Bean ended up in this mess I'm not sure.

That said, the visuals were pretty good, although not what I would call particularly scary. Mostly, they were just freakish and creepy, but I don't think I was scared even once during the movie -- and that isn't just because I'm a jaded horror movie fan. It simply wasn't that scary. And ultimately, it's because the story wasn't that good. You can have all the great visuals in the world but if the story isn't there, there's nothing to hang those cool visuals on (case in point, the Star Wars prequels.)

And every review that begs us to give it a break because it was based on a video game, not Shakespeare, I say, whatever! You still need to write a story that's decent.

Overall, it wasn't so bad that I want my 2 hours and $1.50 back, but people did boo the movie at the end, and that was a first for me.

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