Critics universally panned "SILENT HILL" while in theaters, so it came as a great surprise to find that while flawed, it's a much better horror film than the great majority released in the past year, including the horrible "Shot-for-shot" remake of "THE OMEN". Adapted from a video game, the changes to the very thin plot are for the better. Still, it asks viewers to suspend virtually all judgment of the main character's incredible stupidity. Radha Mitchell plays a woman bothered by her soon to be adopted daughter's strange actions and crying out for a place named "SILENT HILL" in her sleep. Choosing to play psychiatrist, Mitchell decides to fix all problems by bringing the girl to "SILENT HILL" in West Virginia, and uncover what has been driving her daughter to attempt swan dives off a nearby cliff. It's a shame that the daughter wasn't crying out "Cayman Islands" instead, as their journey becomes filled with horror for the duration of the film. Some of the effects are extremely impressive, but after a while the film's 127 minute running time begins to show, and loud bumps and things jumping into frame begin to wear thin on even the most die-hard horror fan's patience.
The acting is decent, production design impressive, but pacing....very uneven.
SONY has preserved the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It's a good BLU-RAY image, but problematic at times. Both Blu-ray and DVD suffer from a lack of gray/black definition. This is very apparent in darker scenes. However, the Blu-ray has slightly better contras than the dvd. Color quality tends to be over-saturated in most scenes. The detail is generally very impressive, but there's plenty of grain here too. The dvd offers a decent transfer, and while it offers far less detail, it's not as disappointing in overall quality.
The Blu-ray offers a PCM 5.1 mix. While the front soundstage offers plenty of separation, the rears are seldom used. However, when surrounds kick in to warn of approaching zombies, it's effective.
The dvd offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and surprisingly, the rears are slightly more aggressive than the BLU-RAY version. Still, it lacks the clarity of the uncompressed 5.1, so we'd give the edge to BLU-RAY.
The Blu-ray doesn't offer any of the great trailers found on the standard dvd or any of the 6 featurettes offered there either.