Roger Ebert’s Silent Hill Review

I had a nice conversation with seven or eight people coming down on the escalator after we all saw “Silent Hill.” They wanted me to explain it to them. I said I didn’t have a clue. They said, “You’re supposed to be a movie critic, aren’t you?” I said, “Supposed to be. But we work mostly with movies.” “Yeah,” said the girl in the Harley t-shirt. “I guess this was like a video game that you like had to play in order to like understand the movie.”

I guess.

I watched the Silent Hill movie today. It is bad.

BUT, as I ranted about on Twitter, I don’t know if the movie is bad because it’s a bad movie in and of itself or that it’s bad because it’s based on a game series that…isn’t really that great—at least when presented in any format other than a game.

Think of Ebert’s criticisms against the Silent Hill movie. It’s hard to figure out what the hell is going on. Plot lines don’t make any sense.1 The dialog is lousy. The acting is too.

Sounds to me like he could be describing the games, too.

That, and the movie is set up for gamers, but tries to set a tone much like The Ring in, I assume, an effort to appeal to a mass audience. It didn’t work. This was a gamer’s movie, like many other movies based on games.2

This is why I’m always skeptical of movies based upon video games. Video games are enjoyable in game form, but in movie form they haven’t figure it out yet.

  1. Ebert writes:

    Rose has come here with her daughter Sharon because the girl has taken to sleep-walking at night, and standing on the edge of high cliffs while saying “Silent Hill” in her sleep. Obviously the correct treatment is to take her to the abandoned town itself. 

  2. I would argue the same point about other movies based on games, like Resident Evil, DOOM, Street Fighter, Super Mario Brothers, Double Dragon. I haven’t seen the Hitman movies, so maybe there’s a glimmer of hope there. Also this: