Videogame adaptations are, on the whole, not great. The first Silent Hill film proved a rare exception to the rule. Granted, it was not perfect, but by the same token it did not disappoint too heavily. There appear to be some teething problems with the development of the follow up. The IMDB reports that, currently, there is no script and nobody attached to direct, but that a second film is confirmed, for around 2010. As a massive fan of the game franchise, I have devised a list of things the film makers should do to ensure this second adaptation does not take this promising series and drop it dead in the water.
Limit the use of CGI Personally, I’ve never, ever been convinced that CGI is better than real-life, and it certainly isn’t scary. So, if the Wolf Man can do without computers, then so can Silent Hill.
Have at least one character to spontaneously start haemorrhaging In the original game for the Playstation, there is a point when the protagonist walks into a very dark, derelict theme park, wherein he encounters good-hearted cop Cybil Bennet. However, it soon becomes apparent that something is very wrong with Cybil, as she stumbles forward, coughing blood, before thick dark liquid begins to ooze from every facial orifice. For me, this remains to this day one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in a videogame, and would no doubt be terrifying to watch on screen.
Bring back the nurses The zombified nurses in the first film are a genius creation of rotting sex appeal, and would rank very highly on my “favourite screen monsters of all time” list. I absolutely loved them, and so they should feature in at least one scene of the new film.
DON’T bring back Pyramid Head This colossal monstrosity first appears in Silent Hill 2 of the game franchise. He is the guilt of the main character personified, and therefore is very specific to that particular story. Taking him out of context and just throwing him into the mix in the first Silent Hill film was bad enough, so don’t repeat the same mistake. Invent a new monster, with its own meaning.
No spooky children It’s just a cheap trick that stopped being scary after The Sixth Sense. I’m not even entirely sure why this idea caught on and became so popular. The idea of a child being somewhat paranormal is, to me, no scarier than an adult being paranormal.
Suggest, rather than show The monsters in Silent Hill really are the main attraction, so to never really show anything would be a mistake. However, I think a little more time could be spent suggesting the presence of something sinister, rather than just having a load of horribly malformed things leaping out straight off the bat.
Crank up the noise A vital part of what makes the franchise so utterly creepy is the sound. Bizarre noises in the dark, distant screams and echoes, a brooding soundtrack, sickly squelches and high-pitched shrieks, it’s all there to utilize. So have the monsters this time around amped up, have them make some truly inhuman and not-of-this-earth sounds that send a chill right up the spine. Also, using the exact same music from the games in the first film was a wonderful touch, which should be repeated in the sequel.
No twist ending! The first film ends in such a way as to suggest that we the audience are meant to go “aaahhh, they were dead all along.” It was completely unnecessary, it added nothing at all to the film as a whole, and it was never completely unexpected anyway. The idea of Silent Hill is that it’s so completely insane, twisted and nightmarish that it does not need to rely on twist endings to impress.
Have a vision and stick to it It was alleged that the first film initially faced problems due to the fact the entire cast were women. So what did they do? They added in a completely superfluous role for Sean Bean, making about as much use of him as a very useless thing. Next time, perhaps the film makers could invest more in artistic merit than financial gain. I’m dreaming, I know, but still …
Include the monsters with four legs In the second game, the apartment block is crawling with headless torsos that appear to have broken legs where their arms should be, making them appear like demented bunny rabbits. These brilliant creations were missing in the first film, which makes them a prime inclusion for the sequel.
Cast virtual unknowns Having a film crammed full of famous actors can work brilliantly. However, in the wrong film, it only detracts from the reality of the situation. For example, had the three students in the Blair Witch Project been Tobey Maguire, Matthew Lillard and Christina Ricci, it would not have been even half as scary. People certainly would not have believed it was real. Likewise, Silent Hill 2 is definitely something that would benefit from a cast of new or unknown actors.
Change the quality of film In the wake of such triumphs as the Blair Witch and Cloverfield, I am very much in favour of films not really looking like films. This ties in with the famous actors idea. In just the same way, if a film is too polished, too glossy, I’m too aware that I’m watching a film and the impact it has is lessened. So perhaps Silent Hill 2 would benefit from a downgrading of quality. Those gloomy back alleys and mist-enshrouded streets would, I’m sure, look absolutely terrifying on grainy, dark film.
And finally, surprise me … I want to see something genuinely horrifying, unexpected, and brilliant.