The Cabin in the Woods (2012)


I’m Drawing a Line in the Sand.  Do NOT Read the Latin!

It’s time for another October Horrorthon!  I had heard so much about today’s movie that I was very excited to see it finally come out, not only on DVD, but also on RedBox.  When it finally arrived, I had already set my mind to go and pick it up when my roommate told me he had purchased the digital copy of it.  Score!  A few days later, when we both had the time to sit down and watch it, we prepared ourselves to watch the movie that our friends and many critics have been talking up since its original release.  That movie is Cabin in the Woods, co-written by Joss Whedon, co-written and directed by Drew Goddard, and starring Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian J. White, Amy Acker, Jodelle Ferland, and Sigourney Weaver.

A very typical scenario unfolds as a group of college students decide that the best thing they can do with their time is to go to an isolated cabin in the middle of the woods for a vacation.  The stereotypes involved are the nerdy quasi-virgin Dana (Kristen Connolly), the stoner Marty (Fran Kranz), the egghead who is actually a receiver on the football team Holden (Jesse Williams), the jock who is also on full academic scholarship Curt (Chris Hemsworth), and the whorish blonde who is actually only recently blondized Jules (Anna Hutchison).  Okay, so they’re slightly off the normal stereotypes, but they get much closer as time goes on.  As does the story, as the group find the basement of the cabin, filled with various items of creepy origin.  They pick a journal and read Latin words aloud, which sets a zombie redneck pain-worshipping family on the loose to kill them.  As typical as all of this sounds, there’s something very atypical happening behind the scenes…

A lot has been made of the idea of “the twist” in movies, mostly since M. Night Shyamalan made it super famous.  We’ve also seen movies before that mock the cliché’s of horror movies while adhering to them themselves, such as the Scream movies.  The twist to this movie takes that stuff to a new level.  But here’s the question that brings people to my reviews: is it amazing?  No, not really.  I was not nearly as charmed by this movie as I expected to be, and certainly not as charmed as everyone made me think I would be.  But I’m still trying to put my finger on why I didn’t like the thing.  I’ve watched it twice already and I remain relatively confused.  I’ll try to work it out as we go along.  The writing was probably a big part of my dislike of this movie.  I never really minded the idea of the twist in a movie, but when you spread that twist all the way through your movie, it hardly feels like a twist.  I was just confused by the two seemingly-unrelated movies until the reason for both stories made itself clear.  At that point I thought it was a really cool idea for a movie… and then the movie kept going.  I get it already!  You’re so clever for lampooning the entire horror movie genre.  Now get to making a good movie.  But the movie never salvaged itself as far as I was concerned.  I’ve no intention of spoiling the twist in this movie for anyone as I was given the pleasure of not having the movie spoiled for me, but I took issue with the fact that the movie seemed to spoil itself.  Hell, the movie actually starts with the twist before it gets into the typical dying college kids movie.  But I also don’t know how they could have made this movie work for me.  If the twist stuff wasn’t in the movie, it would have just been another underwhelming horror movie.  Maybe I would’ve liked it if they didn’t reveal the twist stuff until Dana and Marty were in the middle of it, but I can’t really know that because that’s not the movie I watched.  All I can really know is that this movie didn’t work for me, certainly not as much as I thought it would with Joss Whedon’s involvement.  But where I did see his involvement in the writing, I liked it.  I’m mainly referring to the clever and funny moments in the dialogue that really worked for me, though not enough to redeem the rest of the movie.  You could see that stuff in the dialogue from pretty early on, like the, “I learned it from watching you!” interaction between Curt and Jules.

The look of the movie was mostly fine, but there were parts of it that were less than convincing.  What made them better is that they were close to, but legally distinguishable from, many classic horror movie monsters, and that was fun to pick them out and recognize them.  There were zombies, werewolves, ghosts, giant bats, and angry robots, but they also had some more specific monsters like a Cenobite reminiscent of Hellraiser, a killer clown reminiscent of Pennywise from It, and there was apparently even a Reaver from Firefly, but I didn’t see it.  The main zombies were a bit of a problem from, but only because they were occasionally unconvincing and reminded me more of the creatures from the Thriller video.  Otherwise there were no complaints about the looks.

I liked the greater majority of the performances in this movie, so anything I didn’t like about the movie was probably not their fault.  I liked Kristen Connolly a lot, especially because she was really cute and opened the movie walking around in her panties.  Would girls actually walk around in their underwear with all their windows open in a busy residential neighborhood?  If they do, then I officially hate my mom for having us live on the outskirts of town.  Anna Hutchison got her boobs out in the movie as well, but that was disappointing because I didn’t find her nearly as attractive as Connolly or Amy Acker … or Chris Hemsworth for that matter.  I don’t wanna sound gay or nothin’, but I’d let that guy vacation in my cabin in the woods.  Wink wink!  I even liked Jodelle Ferland as Patience Buckner, but that may have been mostly because I seem to be inadvertently reviewing her entire career.  She was in Silent Hill, one of the Twilight movies, and the second Bloodrayne abortion.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, but four movies now for someone most people probably can’t name is pretty weird.  Also, she did fine in the movie.  The only performance I really took issue with was Fran Kranz.  I realize that they were going for the super cliché pothead character, and he was even probably supposed to be a little bit annoying.  If that was true, it worked.  That dude got on my nerves.

I guess expectations hurt Cabin in the Woods with me more than anything else.  When a movie is talked up too much, it will inevitably find a very difficult time matching those expectations.  I expected to be blown away by the movie, but instead it was just okay.  The idea of it was nifty, but it wasn’t surprising as I thought it might be because they put the twist of the movie right up front, the look was mostly hit but occasionally miss, and the performances were mostly excellent.  I still feel like, if you want to watch a movie that turns the horror genre on its head, you’d be better off with Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.  It’s not a bad movie, it was just underwhelming to me.  Pick it up at RedBox for a dollar so that you can find out for yourself.  Cabin in the Woods gets “And you have no pants” out of “Cutting the flesh makes him have a husband’s bulge.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

BloodRayne II: Deliverance (2007)


Life is Like a Penis

I don’t know why I do these things to myself.  When the typical pattern for movie sequels is for them to start really good and slowly go to shit, what happens when the first movie is shit?  Do the movies get better because the formula has been flipped, or do they find a way to get worse?  In the case of Uwe Boll movies, I know where I’d put my money.  Unlike the first movie in this series, I had not seen this movie before I sat down to review it, so I can’t even tell you what my feelings are going to be before viewing it.  I can only assume.  Let’s see if my assumptions are correct in my review of BloodRayne II: Deliverance, written by Christopher Donaldson and Neil Every, directed by Uwe Boll, and starring Natassia Malthe, Zack Ward, Michael Paré, Michael Eklund, Michael Teigen, Chris Coppola, John Novak, Chris Spencer, and Jodelle Ferland.

Reporter Newton Piles (Chris Coppola) arrives at the town of Deliverance, Montana looking to record stories of the Wild West from the front lines.  Unfortunately, Deliverance is a really slow town and nothing is happening beyond some people whacking on railroad tracks with pickaxes.  That starts to change as the vampire Billy the Kid (Zack Ward) shows up and takes control of the town, turning most of its residents into vampires and abducting their children to keep them in line.  Two of the children taken belonged to friends of the half vampire, half human Dhampir named Rayne (Natassia Malthe), so she sets her sights on Billy the Kid in order to get them back.  Instead of that, she gets captured and shot up on her escape.  Pat Garret (Michael Paré) rescues her and they collect The Preacher (Michael Eklund) and Slime Bag Franson (Michael Teigen) to assault the city.

For those of you that felt left out because you don’t like video games and so had no characters that Uwe Boll was ruining, now you can join in on the hatred because he’s also violating beloved historical figures.  This movie still sucks.  As a lover of video games, I am again left wondering why Boll would bother naming the movie after a video game character that has little to nothing to do with the video game.  If he had just named his movie Shitty Vampire Movie I never would’ve been tricked into watching it in the first place.  Rayne never went to the old west in the video games, so I can only assume Boll just wanted to make a Western.  And, of course, taint the memories of Billy the Kid, Pat Garret, and almost Wyatt Earp and Tombstone.  It’s mentioned at the end of the movie that the vampire gang of the Claytons is causing trouble in Tombstone and Wyatt Earp is looking into it.  Now, Tombstone is one of my favorite movies.  I just don’t know what I’d do if Uwe had continued this story and pissed on them for me.  Lovers of Young Guns should beware of this movie.  Thankfully, I’ve already looked into the third movie and they thankfully don’t hit up Tombstone.  It shouldn’t be that surprising though because Boll even shits on his own continuity.  Remember how a big part of your first movie was Rayne acquiring the eye?  And remember how it changed the color of one of her eyes?  Oh, I guess you don’t remember that.  The story is very simplistic.  Vampire goes to a town, hero tries to stop him, she loses, she comes back again with a bigger posse, and then she wins.  How do you stretch that out into feature length?  Attempt to copy the classic Western staple of building tension before fights, but fail.  You know how in a Western people would stand facing each other with the camera looking at their eyes and their hands to build tension before the gun was drawn?  Imagine that happening every ten minutes, building zero tension but taking twice as long, and occasionally ending with nothing happening at all.  Every character needs to get a slow motion death scene too, just to further waste your time.  Speaking of time wasting, almost all of the dialogue in this movie.  I assume that English is not Boll’s first language, but someone on the set should tell him when his dialogue doesn’t make sense.  Like when someone is bragging about their prowess with the gun and calls himself, “The best cock suckin’ shooter.”  You want to think about what you just said there, man?  I wish he had followed it up with, “I mean, I’m much better at cock suckin’ than I am at shootin’, but I am a pretty good shooter too!  Anyway, get your cock out and let’s get started.”  And I’m on the fence about the time when someone says that something is going to happen at “high midnight”.  There’s a chance that was word play because the vampires can’t go out in the daytime, but one thing we can be sure of is that it doesn’t make sense.  They call it “high noon” because that’s when the sun is highest in the sky.  What’s high in the sky at night time?  The moon?  That thing can be anywhere depending on the time of the year.  There’s also a line in the movie that says, “Life is like a penis.  When it’s hard you get screwed.  When it’s soft you can’t beat it.”  The writer says, “I should write that down!” right afterwards.  But, no.  No one should ever write that down.  I had to in order to mock it.  It’s like they’re trying to say something clever like in Team America: World Police, but it’s nowhere near as funny or witty.

The look of the movie remains roughly the same.  The settings are still nice, but almost nothing else is.  The first thing I noticed was that the movie looked like a shitty student film.  It seemed to be a hand held camera and the director of photography had just had an all-night bender.  You know you can buy a tripod, right Uwe?  Uwe still doesn’t know how to frame things in a way that makes sense of looks good.  There’s one point where two people are having a conversation at a table sitting right next to each other like no one would.  Later, as Billy and Rayne are fighting, they don’t think that we might want to see Rayne’s face as she’s talking because Boll was filming from behind her as she was on all fours.  And you can’t say you don’t like to cut between camera angles because that’s what you do during fights to mask the fact that they’re not interesting: just make lots of random cuts to make it seem more exciting.  Most of the fights in the movie are uninteresting gun fights even though Rayne’s primary weapon is her two swords.  Boll still hasn’t figured out that you can have a point on the end of those swords so they’d actually look like they could cut something.  But, then again, maybe Boll is convinced that vampires have the same texture to their skin as partially-melted butter.  And it’s not going to matter anyways because Rayne won’t remember that she actually has two of those swords until the last ten minutes of the movie.  And since when does the sound of vampires dying sound exactly like pigs getting kicked in the ribs?  And, after you spent so much time explaining how the bullets of Rayne and her posse would damage the vampires because they were silver and blessed by a priest, how could you forget to explain how the guns of the random townspeople did damage to the vampires?  If I was going to say something has improved from the first movie it’d be that the blood they use in this one looks more like blood than the red Nestle’s Quik they used in the first one.

I’d say the performances vastly improved in this movie.  They were still awful, but I’d say it was improved because they weren’t ruining any good actors.  I recognized Zack Ward and Jodelle Ferland, but not from any movies I liked.  I didn’t think Silent Hill was awful, but seeing Jodelle in this doesn’t hurt my feelings.  Lovers of A Christmas Story may be disappointed to see Zack Ward in a shitty movie, but he was the bully in that movie anyway.  Serves him right.  I thought it was weird that the hero of the movie, Natassia Malthe, doesn’t show up until 20 minutes in.  She did as good of a job as she could, but I wasn’t expecting much.  She didn’t impress and she didn’t even have the good sense to get them boobs out during the movie.  I preferred Kristanna Loken.  Neither one of them can act, but at I find Kristanna more appealing.  Zack Ward is the only other person in this movie worth mentioning, but he also sucked.  So maybe he also wasn’t worth mentioning.

It’s hard to say which one between BloodRayne and BloodRayne II: Deliverance is worse.  They’re probably equally as awful.  The story is simple and works to ruin not only beloved video game characters, but also beloved historical figures.  The movie wastes a lot of your time in between uninteresting action scenes and the performances offer nothing worth mentioning either.  You don’t need to see the first movie to understand this one, but you definitely don’t need to see this one at all.  Skip it.  You can’t even stream this one on Netflix and it’s definitely not worth more than one click on your mouse.  You have better things to do.  BloodRayne II: Deliverance gets “You don’t know what you’re dealing with” out of “Is writing stories your reason to live?”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)


Trying to Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time Again, Bella?

With the coming of each new Twilight movie, I tend to get really angry (for the reasons expressed in my previous 5,500 words and two reviews).  And each time a new one comes out I’m bombarded by the fans of the series with phrases like “This one was so much better than those two” and “This wasn’t nearly as bad.”  Before my reviews, I already knew that I hated Twilight and New Moon because I had already seen them.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m going into today’s movie fresh, though.  Yeah, I’ve never seen it, but the previous two movies pained me so much already, and I just don’t want to get hurt again.  But the show must go on, and so we jump into my review of the third movie in the series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, written for the screen by Melissa Rosenberg, directed by David Slade, and starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Billy Burke, Sarah Clarke, Dakota Fanning, Jodelle Ferland, Cameron Bright, Anna Kendrick, and Michael Welch.

Victoria has decided to change tactics at the same time as she’s changed actresses.  She’s now trying to start an army by turning Riley Biers (Xavier Samuel) into a vampire and having him create an army for her.  Also, she’s Bryce Dallas Howard now.  This army is intended to help her finally get her revenge on the vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) for killing her mate, James, in the first movie.  In order to get the proper type of revenge, she decides that killing Edward will not suffice, she will kill his girlfriend Isa”Bella” Swan (Kristen Stewart) first.  Back in the lame half of the story, Bella’s still bitching about Edward not making her a vampire yet, but simultaneously being resistant to agreeing to marry him.  She’s also dabbling in stringing along a wolf boy named Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).  The Newborn vampire army is beginning to get unruly in Seattle and the Cullen’s – Dr. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli), Esme Cullen (Elizabeth Reaser), Alice (Ashley Greene), Emmett (Kellan Lutz), Rosalie (Nikki Reed), and Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) – are nervous that this will bring the attention of the Volturi, the powerful group of vampires that maintain the secrecy of the vampires.  Alice sees that the Newborn army are coming to Forks, so the Cullen’s form an uneasy alliance with the wolves to defend one stupid girl.

I will attempt to see if I can keep my vomiting to a low as I type the following sentence: Eclipse was not that bad.  Oh good, only threw up 4 times.  And I look fantastic now!  There’s a great dichotomy in this movie between the torturous scenes of mopey, stupid Bella dragging along two guys in their annoying, slow moving love triangle and the surprisingly appealing fight scenes between the vampires and the wolves.  Though they make attempts to explain Bella not wanting to get married, I still don’t buy it.  The movie starts with a conversation very similar to the one that ended the previous movie about Bella wanting Edward to turn her into a vampire so she could spend eternity with Edward, but she doesn’t want to get married to him.  I understand that your parents got a divorce and all, but you’re still being an idiot.  Yes, perhaps 2/3 of all marriages end in divorce, but I assure you that a great deal higher percentage of relationships end in break ups.  How about this: you decide if you want to spend eternity with this guy or not.  If you don’t want to, then there’s no fucking reason for you to be immortal!  Everyone in the movie also offers Bella pretty good arguments for why she should not become a vampire, and even why she should go with Jacob instead, but Bella’s too stupid for that.  Actually, Bella’s stupidity was lessened for this movie.  Her bitch quotient, however, was on the rise.  She seems slightly less stupid, which makes it that much worse that she’s knowingly stringing along two guys that are in love with her.  Bella also decides that it’s a good idea to drag Edward to sunny Florida, because that always works out for a vampire.  Nothing happened and there was barely any reason for him to even be there, so it was totally worth the risk.  I also found myself being very annoyed by the story that the wolf tribe tells about how their feud with the vampires began, mainly because it was all just a series of misunderstandings because everyone involved were jerks.  I support the idea of vampires killing people.  They’re just eating.  If it’s cool for us to eat cows and dogs (which it totally is), then I’m fine with them eating people.  That being said, a vampire was just having dinner and ate the wolf guy’s lady so he kills the vampire.  The vampire’s lady then gets pissed and kills a bunch of the Indians.  Then they kill her.  Sure, they’re BIG misunderstandings, but everyone should’ve just chilled out.  Thankfully, their only vaguely comprehensible feud is put on hold for this movie and it seems that it was coming to a halt at the end, so hopefully there will be one less stupid thing for me to be angry about in future movies.  That brings me back to Bella.  She tries to jump Edward’s bones in this movie, and that started to make me wonder whether or not a vampire would have to feed first to get the excess blood to fuel their … members.  Near the end of the movie, I started to think about something that started to make the entire purpose of this movie not make sense.  Why is Victoria even after Edward/Bella in the first place?  If she wants revenge for the death of James, shouldn’t she be going after Alice?  As I recall it, wasn’t Edward sucking on Bella’s wrist as Alice tore James’ head off?  Edward and Bella could easily be considered the reason that Alice killed James, but only as easily as one should consider James responsible for his own murder for randomly deciding that Bella was the one human in the world that he needed to eat.

There’s not a whole lot of redeeming qualities to be found in the story.  All of those qualities lie in the action.  One can only assume that so many other, weaker-willed men than myself ended their lives because of the first two movies.  Having had enough blood on their hands, they must’ve added some action to this one so that there would be at least one thing to be enjoyed in these movies.  The action was pretty good.  I was charmed and entertained by even the training that Jasper leads in the middle of the movie.  Of course, I started getting confused by his back story.  Wasn’t he acting like a newborn in the first Twilight movie?  Yet he’s older than the other vampires in the Cullen clan (except Dr. Handsome McFadden and Wifey Whatsername).  I just figured out that he was not a “vegetarian vampire” as long as the other Cullens, but if I was confused they probably did a poor job of explaining things.  Also, I didn’t really give a shit, so there’s that possibility too.  Anyway, back to the training.  The fights were well done, and these scenes actually elevated Jasper to the second least hated person in these movies.  But then he gets Alice, so I still kinda hate him.  The real good stuff is at the end of the movie, when the Cullens and the wolves throw down old-school against the Newborns.  The setup to the fight made me wonder if these Newborns were Bella-level stupid because they never thought twice about the conspicuousness of the idea of Bella apparently skipping through the forest, flicking her blood at trees.  Maybe they’re dumb; I’m okay with that.  What I’m more than okay with is the epic beatdown they caught.  The good guys left relatively unscathed, and also left a pile of dead Newborns burning in their wake … I probably should’ve called them something other than Newborns there.  That makes that statement seemed like the Cullens battles a group of toddlers.  The fight was graphically appealing and they choreographed a great deal of cool, interesting ways to kill vampires.  The random wolf guy/Edward vs. Riley/Victoria battle was pretty solid as well.  I was a bit deflated by the ending of both battles, though.  In the Victoria battle, it’s a bunch of tense situations piling up on top of each other until … Edward bites her and tears her head off.  It was so anticlimactic that it even seemed as if the musical score stopped abruptly so that the band could look at each other and say “Was that it?”  Then Edward lights Victoria’s body on fire by throwing a Zippo at her, causing her to immediately burst completely into flames … and also to immediately regret deciding to wear her gasoline-soaked jacked to the battle that day.  The other battle deflated me because Dakota Fanning commanded the brick shithouse dude to kill the innocent little girl that had seen the error of her ways.  That’s a bitch move, Dakota.  I randomly decided that I liked that girl in her 5 minutes of total screen time.

The performances are what they are.  Coworker Ashley made the claim that Kristen Stewart’s acting improved in this movie.  Best I can assume, she thinks Kristen Stewart is Ashley Greene.  I still think Kristen Stewart is awful in this movie, and I still think Bella’s special power is retardation.  We still call them “special”, right?  As I said, she seemed SLIGHTLY less moronic in this movie, replacing stupidity with being an asshole.  She also mostly dresses like she’s in Pearl Jam.  I hope she likes Kurt Cobain so much she shoots herself in the face with a shotgun.  I still have next to no impression of either Robert Pattinson or Taylor Lautner.  Both of them kind of walk the line between shit and great.  I pay attention to Ashley Greene for being good and adorable, and I pay attention to Kristen Stewart to see if I can see the mark of the Beast on her scalp somewhere, but Pattinson and Lautner don’t really do anything either way.  I guess you can call that a push.  Pattinson did get to voice my interior monologue for most of this and the last move when he said “Does he own any shirts?” about Lautner, but he seemed to say it as if it was a bad thing.  NO!  Stop it, Robert!  (Critic Robert, not Vampire Robert)  I was vaguely interested in the conversation that Pattinson and Lautner had about Bella in the tent towards the end of the movie, and I liked the last line Lautner delivered to Bella when she visited him after his injury.  I also started liking Jackson Rathbone as Jasper a little more in this movie.  He had previously just been the creepy guy with the Jewfro, but he got to be a bit of a badass in this movie.  Bryce Dallas Howard took over for Rachelle Lefevre in this movie.  I understand that this movie required much more of a performance from the Victoria character and I kind of like BDH.

I think I’ve officially written more kind words about Twilight than I’ve ever said out loud or even though before.  I gave them nearly an entire paragraph of niceties!  I’m as shocked as you are.  Would I say this is a good movie?  Not at all.  Would I recommend you see it?  Nope.  But, it’s the best Twilight movie by far, and if you get dragged to this one by a lady with low standards for movies (also known as “A Twilight Fan”), you can rest assured that there are a couple of good action scenes in this movie; you just need to wait for them a bit.  The story has not improved much, and only a couple of lines of dialogue were clever.  The action is pretty fantastic, but the bulk of the movie is still the worst example of romantic crap you can find.  I have not gotten myself excited to watch the next movie for any reason other than I get to be done with Twilight until November afterwards.  This movie has taken the fraction of watchable hours in the total Twilight series to about 1/6, so I’m not getting my hopes up just yet.  We’ll find out tomorrow.  The Twilight Saga: Eclipse gets “I punched a werewolf in the face” out of “One more thing.  Never turn your back on your enemy.”

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Silent Hill (2006)


Fire Doesn’t Cleanse. It Blackens!

More October Horror-thon madness, comin’ atcha! Little girls are creepy. Let’s stick with that theme. Today’s movie is a movie I actually saw with a girl. SO THERE! I told you I’m not gay, Mom! …cough… This movie is both a horror movie AND generally my least favorite type of movie: a video game port. Generally a video game does not translate into a quality film, and only two movies come to mind as being watchable video game flicks. One is Hitman, the other is this movie, Silent Hill. Silent Hill is directed by Christophe Gans and stars Radha Mitchell, Jodelle Ferland, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Alice Krige, and Kim Coates.

Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) are having a few problems with their adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). That problem? She likes to sleepwalk in the middle of the night down past busy highways and stop in front of treacherous cliffs, yelling the name of the town “Silent Hill”. Rose has had enough of having to wake up in the middle of the night and doesn’t want to take MY approach of tying the daughter to her bed at night. Is that illegal? Well okay. Then I’d kill her with a hammer. …What? Anyways, Rose’s idea is to take her daughter to Silent Hill, behind the back of her disapproving husband. On her way there, officer Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden), or as I call her, Dyke Cop, attempts to pull Rose of Sharon … I mean Rose AND Sharon (does anyone else get that reference?), but Rose decides, for reasons unbeknownst to us, that she must try to lose the cop. She’s done nothing wrong and Dyke Cop only became interested because Sharon freaked out around the cop. But it’s her actual daughter so she had nothing to worry about … unless she was holding some coke or something. Well this all would have been avoided if she’d just used her head, but she didn’t. She jets off in her car towards Silent Hill, smashing through a fence with reckless abandon, but crashes on the side of the road when a creepy lady walks in front of her car. When she wakes up, everything looks all foggy and creepy and she’s in Silent Hill … without her daughter. Sharon’s run off. Rose goes in to town to find her, but finds it completely abandoned. Apparently there was a coal fire a long time ago that’s still burning underground and is creating the ash in the sky. While exploring, a siren rings out and the world turns all dark and creepy. Then Rose is attacked by these 4 foot tall creepy baby-like things that look like they’ve been burnt to blackness. They disappear when the siren rings out again. Then she goes back to her car and Dyke Cop arrests her, but an armless creature spits black acid stuff at her and Rose escapes while Dyke Cop deals with the Smog. Rose continues her search for Sharon and tries to discover the mysteries of Silent Hill. It probably would’ve been safer to just play the video games.

I remember not caring for this movie when I first saw it, but have come to kind of enjoy the movie in the ensuing viewings. When I first saw it, I knew nothing about Silent Hill that I didn’t learn in the short demo I had played for the original game, and maybe a couple other pieces of information I had gleaned from magazines. But I’ve learned much more since the invention of Wikipedia and my favorite thing about this movie is that it totally captures the spirit and atmosphere of the game. I don’t know the stories that well, but it apparently takes heavily from the stories of Silent Hill 1, 2, and 3. Even the Sharon/Alessa character comes from the first Silent Hill, and the story seems similar (though I only glanced at it on Wikipedia). Also, Rose tends to have very little on hand to light her way through the evil side of Silent Hill – at first a lighter and later a shitty flashlight – which is a big thing in the games. She also has to run from fights often (as she’s scarcely ever armed), she has to squeeze through tight slots to move on, she has to pick up drawings from her kid, and she has to cut over-sized pictures to find things behind them, all things from the game. Even the music is heavily reminiscent of the games. And, of course, they had to put the most well-known Silent Hill character in this, Pyramid Head! He is such a badass in this. He tears a chick’s skin off by her tits! He literally grabs a handful of her chest, squeezes, and pulls, then flings the floppy skin mess at Rose.

As I said, the entire time in Silent Hill is creepy. Hell, right before Silent Hill, Rose stops at a place that is a combination diner, gas station, AND body-piercing establishment. That is creepy to me. And unsanitary. But once they get to Silent Hill, much as in the games, the town shifts between two different types of creepy. Day time Silent Hill is foggy with ash and quiet, which is always pretty creepy. Night time Silent Hill is probably one of the lower levels of Hell by the look of it. The creatures are really creepy. Them little burn babies are wrong on so many levels, and the Smog is disgusting. And what makes them so creepy? I’m pretty sure there’s a real person in those costumes, if I remember the “Making Of” properly. That is one uncomfortable contortionist. When we reach the school and go into the bathroom, there is a very creepy corpse I called Barb Wire Colin who later animates into a very creepy moving corpse. And the death of the cult leader was heavily reminiscent of a certain type of Japanese anime and I totally called it when I was watching. I saw on the movie’s Wikipedia page that it was inspired by a movie called Urotsukidoji, a movie I have seen and thought of as I watched the scene. The cult leader basically gets fucked by barbed wire and then torn in half, which is totally reminiscent of all that tentacle rape the Japanese anime likes to do.

The performances could be kind of hit and miss with me, but they were all at least passable. Radha Mitchell puts on a more emotional performance than a video game movie tends to get. Laurie Holden as Dyke Cop was annoying and nosy in the beginning, but then became a hero by the end. I was sad that she had to die for it, but it’s a very Silent Hill-esque thing to do. And how often do you get to see a woman dressed up like the T-1000? Alice Krige was totally creepy as the cult leader and pulled that off nicely. And Deborah Kara Unger played the crazy old hag mother of Alessa very well. They actually made her an ugly old hag for most of the movie, even though she’s actually an attractive lady. The little girl didn’t really do it for me though. Most of her time as Sharon she kind of acts like she has a mental deficiency of some sort. She has a few creepy moments as Alessa, like when she skipped around and danced in the blood raining down from the cult leader, but the part where she holds out her arms and says “Look at me, I’m burning” seemed like that line should have been a place holder for a GOOD line.

For another negative, I will have to spoil a bit. So ::SPOILER ALERT:: but I didn’t understand the ending at all, and even Wikipedia didn’t really offer an explanation. I understood what happened in Silent Hill, but right after, when Rose and Sharon return to Sean Bean and they’re in the same house but when we’re on them it’s still foggy and colorless but on him it’s colorful and real, and they don’t see each other but they kind of know each other are there, I don’t get it. I assume that Dyke Cop, Rose, and Sharon died when they crashed in the beginning and they’re ghosts now, but then that kind of takes the drama out of the movie because they were already dead and there’s no drama or suspense. A bad or confusing ending can take you out of a movie. ::END SPOILER::

Altogether a pretty solid flick and a nice addition to the Silent Hill franchise. They’re supposed to be making a sequel and, of course, it’s going to be 3D. I hope it just gets better and 3D can go fuck itself. But this movie is worth a watch, though you can probably get by just renting it. I give this movie a “Mother needs more food” out of “Mother is God in the eyes of a child.”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.