An attempt to adapt the famous game franchise was launched in 2006
Recently released, the Mortal Kombat (2021) trailer was widely praised for its visual proximity to the source material, in this case the games from NetherRealm Studios. In terms of costumes and visual effects, there is such a similarity that it’s not hard to confuse the individual posters of the characters with the broadcast work done for the latest game in the franchise: Mortal Kombat 11.
Such was the aesthetic acceptance of the future version that immediately an expectation was created around the story, which was not yet so deep. However, other video game adaptations have also prioritized a large part of their resources, previously, in favor of an aesthetic closer to the source material. It spoke louder than necessarily understanding how this story, seen as something interactive, could be adapted into a cinematic experience.
So it was with Resident Evil 2: Apocalypse, World of Warcraft and, the text theme, Terror in Silent Hill. The psychological horror saga launched by Konami in 1999 was initially designed to be somewhat similar to what the first Resident Evil had been three years earlier: a sensitive experiment, which attempted to come close to the aesthetic of a production. Hollywood; that is, in what the technology of the time allowed. It didn’t work out and the planning started to revolve around a psychological horror story (also with elements of survivor horror) with a big emphasis on moments of sheer tension and ghoulish environments.
In this way, the visual identity of the Silent Hill games is traditionally very marked by its external phases with the dense fog and, when the siren sounds, that sepulchral silence becomes a terrifying representation of something from hell. Obviously, the game is not based solely on this aspect, having in the background only one more tool to compose the story present in the scenario.
But this, apparently not understood by the movie Terror in Silent Hill, released in 2006. Inspired by the wave of game adaptations that took place at the turn of the century, in which the current concept was “the appearance rather than the” essence, ”director Christophe Gans bought the idea that if his work aspired to make games seemingly have the best, in this case the frame, then he could make whatever changes he saw best.
In this way, the film mixes elements present not only in the first game but also in the second, decharacterizing a key character such as Pyramid Head (closely related to the protagonist of the second game) by placing him in a plot much more inspired by the first game. All of this ends up being the path to creating a horror movie that can contain elements of fear jumps, computer graphics monsters and a finishing touch; therefore something much more in line with what was accepted in a horror production for the general public.
On the other hand, Terror in Silent Hill is one of the most, if not the most faithful, adaptations of a movie game in visual terms. The film balances the screen time very well in which the setting is that of a misty, deserted city (this mainly in the exterior shots) with the moment the siren is played and the conversion to a more explicitly macabre storyline occurs. (both in the external and internal planes, but giving priority to closed environments).
Pyramid Head’s presence serves the function of being the CGI monster that stands out from the more generic ones and only becomes problematic in relation to its participation in the source material. To prioritize the visual, it is interesting to see that the film supports the progression of the plot solely on the aesthetic potential of the scenarios. As mentioned earlier, it followed the lead of horror films in force so far in which the focus was not on the storyline, but on the scares.
While not by far an example of the genre to serve as a model for future works, Terror in Silent Hill has captured a captive space in the fan community for its visual fidelity. Far beyond that is an important caveat for game adaptations on the double-edged sword which is attention to the visual at the expense of the story. This is probably the main and final obstacle preventing games from being the subject of a new movement in mass cinema.
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