Silent Hill Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Written by Robert Gold

Blu-ray released by Scream Factory

Directed by Christophe Gans
Written by Roger Avary
2006, 125 minutes, Rated R
Released on July 9th, 2019

Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva
Sean Bean as Christopher Da Silva
Laurie Holden as Cybil Bennett
Deborah Kara Unger as Dahlia Gillespie
Kim Coates as Officer Thomas Gucci
Alice Krige as Christabella
Jodelle Ferland as Sharon/ Alessa



Rose’s daughter Sharon has recurring nightmares of a town called Silent Hill. Making matters worse, the girl sleepwalks, frequently placing herself in dangerous environments. Her father believes she belongs in a hospital, but Rose has another idea. She takes the girl on a road trip to the mysterious Silent Hill hoping to trigger a response. Racing to outrun a persistent motorcycle cop, Rose has an accident that knocks her unconscious. She wakes up alone on the outskirts of town and frantically begins searching for her missing child. There is something wrong with this place, as it is completely empty and locked in by a dense fog with a constant flurry of ash in the air. The cop, Officer Cybil Bennett, catches up and agrees to help find Sharon, but they are not alone. Grossly deformed creatures hinder their progress and threaten their lives. Rose gradually learns the town’s haunted history as she travels deeper into a waking nightmare.

In 1999, Playstation released the Japanese video game Silent Hill to hungry gamers looking for a legitimately scary adventure. The game was a smash hit and spawned a series of sequels and spinoffs and in 2006, the title was adapted into a pretty spooky movie. Director Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf) makes a heroic effort to remain faithful to the source material with his deeply atmospheric and frequently disturbing tale. Screenwriter Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) captures the essence of the game and delivers an unsettling experience for audiences. The film is a mix of Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno with its deliberate pacing and shocking surprises as our heroine gradually descends into Hell. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen (The Shape of Water) nails the tone with his inspired lighting design and legendary production designer Carol Spier (Dead Ringers) creates a truly haunting environment in a town where monsters dwell.

Radha Mitchell (Rogue) stars as Rose, the woman searching for her daughter through a dreamlike world full of horrifying images. She is driven to reclaim her family and get out of here but over time becomes wrapped up in the mystery of the town. She carries the picture from one nightmare to the next and serves as a tether to reality. Laurie Holden (Pyewacket) co-stars as Officer Bennett, the tough and resourceful woman pledged to help find a missing child. She disappears for extended periods of time, but leaves a lasting impression whenever she is on screen. Alice Krige (Sleepwalkers) shows up halfway through the movie as the formidable leader of the community that hides within the sanctuary of a large church. She delivers a captivating performance that commands your attention.


Silent Hill was originally planned to have an all-female cast, but the studio wanted to include a leading man to broaden the audience appeal. Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) has the thankless role of Chris, Rose’s husband looking for answers. He pairs with Officer Thomas Gucci (Kim Coates, Sons of Anarchy) searching the abandoned town in a parallel dimension devoid of monsters. He spends a lot of time desperately looking through police files and running along empty hallways, but his scenes are more of a distraction from the main plot. Bean does the most he can with the material but cannot escape being shoe-horned into a different movie.

Silent Hill is uneven at times, largely due to its masculine subplot, but recovers nicely whenever the men get out of the way. This is a dark fantasy that sends its characters to Hell in order to get what they want. The ending is ambiguous and unsettling; another inspired decision by Gans and Avary, who do not feel compelled to wrap everything up with a happy bow. This is one of the better video game adaptations and I am surprised Gans hasn’t had a bigger career in the States. The film was a hit at the box office and spawned a sequel in 2012 that lacks the style of the original. Feel free to skip that one entirely and pick this one up instead – it will creep you out.


Video and Audio:

Silent Hill debuted on Blu-ray in 2006 with a flawed transfer that was murky and uneven. The film has been fully remastered for this new Collector’s Edition release and the results are far more satisfying. Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the picture is sharp and highly detailed. Colors are muted within the haunted Silent Hill, but pop in the real world environments. Black levels are rich and flesh tones appear natural throughout.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track is quite lively, making solid use of the rear channel speakers. There are a lot of atmospheric sound effects that bounce around the room and keep things active. Dialogue levels are clean and well-balanced with music cues. A DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix is also offered, but the expanded track is the way to go.

Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.


Special Features:

Disc One:
Justin Beahm moderates an audio commentary with cinematographer Dan Laustsen, who fills the time with a broad-ranging and informative discussion. He talks about life in Denmark and working on commercials before coming to America. He relays stories from his numerous collaborations with Guillermo Del Toro and his working relationship with Christophe Gans. Laustsen focuses on this picture and shares his decision to shoot the real-world content on 35mm while the majority of the film would be shot digitally. He details his camera selection, working in low-light environments and shooting on green screen. He also offers advice to aspiring cinematographers and seems to be a truly generous man. This is a great commentary for film buffs and you won’t want to miss it.

The theatrical trailer has been included.

Disc Two:
Director Christophe Gans sits down for an all-new interview looking back on this project. The interview is conducted in French and divided into three parts. In The Origin of Silence (26 minutes), he traces his early film career working in the States and Canada before returning to France to make Brotherhood of the Wolf. He remembers his emotional response to the Silent Hill game and his desire to adapt it to film.

In the second part, Adapting a True Work of Art (21 minutes), he expresses his desire to keep game fans happy by regularly answering questions online during production. He reveals some of his inspirations from the world of art and cinema and talks about the necessity of compromise on the project.

The third part of this interview, Delivering a Nightmare (25 minutes), relays his desire to capture the atmosphere of the game. He discusses his decision to shoot both on film and digitally and his attempts to reproduce certain camera moves from the game. He talks about his preference of working with practical effects over CGI and remembers the positive studio feedback he received.

In A Tale of Two Jodelles (26 minutes), actress Jodelle Ferland shares her memories of the shoot and what it was like growing up as a child actress. She shares several production stories and has kind words for her director and co-stars.

Actor and movement coordinator Roberto Camanella reflects on his work on the movie in Dance of the Pyramid (37 minutes). He discusses his life as a dancer, becoming an actor and using movement to build a character. He shares various production stories about the wardrobe and make-up prosthetics. He gives his reaction to the finished film and comments on his decision to reprise his role in the sequel.

Make-up effects artist Paul Jones is the star of a two-part interview looking back at his career and at this film in particular. In the first part, Monster Man (31 minutes), he shares his biographical background as an artist and stories of connecting with prominent make-up artist Bob Keene (Hellraiser). He reflects on many of his early jobs working on films, including Hellraiser III, Nightbreed, Hardware and Ginger Snaps.

The second part of this interview, titled simply Silent Hill (26 minutes), finds Jones sharing several production stories, including working with the director, prepping for the shoot and designing specific gags. He reveals his favorite creatures and offers his first impressions of the finished film. He also briefly discusses the work he contributed to the sequel.

The vintage six-part documentary Path of Darkness: The Making of Silent Hill (62 minutes) is filled with cast and crew interviews and lots of behind-the-scenes footage. Casting, production design, rehearsal footage, stunt work, choreography and special make-up effects are some of the areas covered. This is a well-made piece featuring the participation of several key artists from the shoot.

The Making of Silent Hill (14 minutes) is an archival featurette, including cast and crew interviews and clips from the finished film.

Another vintage EPK titled Around the Film (5 minutes) provides a behind-the-scenes look at the set design and includes interviews with the producers and cinematographer.

Two photo galleries provide a look at the marketing campaign. The first contains publicity shots and promotional stills while the second offers a selection of international poster art.



Movie: Cover
Overall: 4 Star Rating

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Robert Gold
Staff Reviewer
Robert's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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