Such dire and asinine adaptations as Super Mario Bros staring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo & Dennis Hopper as Mario, Luigi and King Koopa or either miscast version of Street Fighter with Van Damme as the all American yet heavily accented Guile in 1994 (or Kristin Kreuk as Chun Li in 2009) all failed to capture everything that made up the essence of the original game.
However, one game franchise turned film has managed to transcend its original source material to be resurrected back from the dead filled with new life and plenty of bullets and blood; the shamelessly entertaining Resident Evil series, the latest installment of which, Retribution, is just as fun and gore filled as all the rest.
One reason why Resident Evil works is that the original game wasn’t only directly inspired by zombie movies, but was also extremely cinematic. As one of the forefathers of the survival horror genre in games, the player felt as if they where inside a horror movie meaning its translation to the cinema screen was all the easier.
Another originator in survival horror was the first Silent Hill game, which was even more immersive and visually filmic than Resident Evil and took its look from much darker and more disturbing recesses of the horror genre.
Primarily a psychological horror rather than an action horror, the game brilliantly transferred the player into the nightmarish town of Silent Hill where something nasty always seemed to be lurking round every turn.
Unsurprisingly Silent Hill spawned a movie adaptation in 2006, directed by Brotherhood of the Wolf director Christophe Gans, and was a labour of love for the French filmmaker. It borrowed plot elements from several of the game’s sequels and managed to stick reasonably closely to the look, feel and themes of the original game. In many ways it remained a more faithful adaptation than the first Resident Evil film.
Six years later, Silent Hill has a sequel – Silent Hill: Revelation – with a new director (Michael J. Bassett) at the helm who also penned the script and story. Thankfully Silent Hill: Revelation is not a reboot or a re-imagining but a proper sequel, and this element elevates it above other horror cycles which have repeatedly abandoned their source material like a vampire leaving an old people’s home in search of new blood.
Set years after the events of the first film when Harry (Sean Bean) lost his wife Rose (Radha Mitchell) to Silent Hill in exchange for saving their daughter, Heather (Adelaide Clemens) is now 18 years old and is still haunted by strange and scary visions.
On the run all their lives, the father and daughter trek from town to town, never knowing a normal life. Sadly things are about to get a whole lot worse when Heather returns home to find her dad has been kidnapped. Her only choice is to go to Silent Hill herself and face the demons of her past, demons that just happen to be real and waiting for her return.
Featuring an all star cast including the aforementioned actors as well as Carrie-Anne Moss, Malcolm McDowell, Game of Thrones Kit Harington and Deborah Kara Unger (reprising her role from the first film), Bassett offers up a solid script and an intriguing story which builds well on the themes and plot of the first part.
Most importantly though, Silent Hill: Revelation delivers when it comes to its twisted monsters and pitch-black atmosphere. It’s packed with unsettling imagery and disturbing creatures, from the melted face psycho nurses to the spider creature made of doll parts. It really excels in its warped imagery evoking Clive Barker at his best.
The setting and creatures are all realized with top notch special effects which bring the whole undead nightmare to life and into your living room, especially if you have a 3D TV and you can see the film as it was shown in the cinemas.
Gripping, disturbing and full of tension and frights, Silent Hill: Revelation is not only an excellent adaptation of the survival horror classic but is also a superb sequel.
The true revelation it seems is that like Resident Evil, Silent Hill: Revelation proves you CAN convert a great computer game into a excellent film. It just happens to only work (thankfully) when both involve horror.
Read our Silent Hill: Revelation feature Here