Thursday, 23 May 2013

Silent Hill Breakdown: Introduction

It goes without saying that Silent Hill 2 has a lot of symbolism, deep meanings, ambiguous scenarios and hidden agenda's often obscured or masked. 

Silent Hill 2 is one of my most beloved games, and I'm starting with a series that will deconstruct it in it's entirety. These series of articles will combine, facts, theories and various interpretations from both my point of view and the developers.

The parts will consist as follow:

Part 1 - Characters
                                     James Sunderland
                                     Mary Shepherd-Sunderland
                                     Angela Orosco
                                     Eddie Dombrowski
                                     Other characters

Part 2 - Monsters
                                     Pyramid Head
                                     Other monsters

Part 3 - Plot
                                      Part 1 - Entering Silent Hill
                                      Part 2 - Apartment Buildings
                                      Part 3 - Hospitals
                                      Part 4 - Historical Society and Labyrinth
                                      Part 5 - Hotels

Part 4 - Locations
                                       Fog versions
                                       Otherworld versions

Part 5 - Miscellaneous
                                        Memos, Symbolic items and random 

Part 6 - Conclusions

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Sinister Movie Review

Released in 2012 I never got the chance to see it, however I finally made the time recently and watched it for the first time. 

So what were my thoughts?

Creepy children are NOT scary.

Sinister follows Ellison Oswalt, a crime writer who moves into a house with his family to write his new book which revolves around the previous residents who were murdered in an obscure way, and the only survivor -a child- disappeared directly afterwards.

Within this new home Ellison finds a lonesome box in the attic with film reels from different times. These come across as innocent family home movies, such a BBQ '76 which depicts a family at a lake fishing. However this seemingly innocent family movie is a tad unsettling, for one thing the person recording isn't a family member as they are hidden and record the family unaware. It becomes increasingly disturbing as it turns sour by changing mid recording to a garage late at night with only the camera's light to illuminate the room. The car is chained up and the family inside are tied and gagged while lying next to gasoline, the camera comes face on with the car and the director ignites the car. 

There are several other videos within the box each with innocent names, and are associated with other families (including the previous residents of the house they now occupy). Using this Ellison begins his investigation and research for his new novel, however he begins uncovering information that he would have been best left alone, as a malevolent force is at work.

While watching these found footage moments in the movie are the most disturbing it doesn't mean that it is all good, this movie is yet another victim to the tired and no longer scary (if it ever was) use of ghost/creepy children. It's no longer scary Hollywood all it does is break tension. 

Speaking of breaking tension the film does do this intentionally at some parts -and quite well at that too- in between scary and tense scenes we are allowed to relax and breathe as small but very helpful elements of comedy are integrated into this film and it works a treat a gives the film a bit more depth and surrealism.

The outcome of this film I will not spoil, however I was not drawn into the characters fates, whether they lived or died I did not feel any empathy towards them or had any interest in what was to become of them.

Ellison was portrayed as a selfish person who lies in order to get what he wants therefore I did not feel for him when he was being tormented while watching the films and turning to the drink. His wife barely appeared in the film therefore I did not make a connection with her, the same goes with his son and daughter. This was a bit of a let down as the climax of the film would not have me at the edge of my seat but rather watching it out of curiosity with little interest in the outcome for the family and their fate.

While this film does have its faults it is not a waste of time to watch nor is it boring, true that the family movies are the best parts in the film and may have you freaked out long after it is finished (as the BBQ '76 video did for me) it is still a cleverly made film that could have been better if it was not for the cliche "scary" children and it gave us an opening to like and care for the characters.

★ ✰

+ Effective use of lighting, music and tension
+ Knows how to break tension and bring it back again
+ Great ideas for the home videos
- Could have done without the creepy children 
- Could have worked on character to viewer relationship
- Main antagonist seems more like a heavy metal band member so it isn't as scary as it was intended