Silent Hill appears in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a good representation of the source.
Sharpness mostly looked fine. Some shots came across as a bit soft and ill defined, but those instances didn’t occur with any great frequency. Overall delineation appeared positive.
I saw no issues related to jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.
Hill featured a fairly stylized palette, with grays and chilly blues dominant. I felt the disc reproduced them as intended.
Black levels were deep and dark, and low-light sequences followed along the same lines. Shadow detail seemed smooth and demonstrated good clarity. Overall, the image came across well.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Hill seemed somewhat limited in scope, as the majority of the movie focused on atmosphere. Music used the various speakers in the broadest way, as the score opened up across the various channels.
Effects occasionally packed a punch, as some louder moments cropped up sporadically. Because most of the movie favored creepy ambience, these didn’t occur often, but they added involvement on occasion.
Audio quality appeared fine. Speech always sounded clear and easily intelligible, and I noticed no problems with brittleness or other issues.
Effects were accurate and full, while music seemed dynamic and bold. Despite a less than active soundscape, the audio worked pretty well.
On Disc One, we find a trailer as well as an audio commentary< from cinematographer Dan Laustsen. Along with moderator Justin Beahm, Laustsen discusses his career, his work on Silent Hill, and other thoughts about the film industry and his profession.
Technically, this qualifies as a running, screen-specific discussion, as it’s clear the movie rolls while Laustsen and Beahm speak. However, Laustsen almost never refers to the on-screen action, so in reality, this becomes a long interview more than a true commentary.
In that vein, the discussion works fine, though fans of Silent Hill shouldn’t expect much content related to the film. I’d estimate the commentary covers Hill maybe 20 percent of the time – and possibly less – so we don’t find a ton of into about the movie.
Nonetheless, the track offers some good thoughts about the job of the cinematographer as well as aspects of Laustsen’s career. I’d probably prefer something more focused on the movie in question, but this remains a likable listen.
Disc Two contains the rest of the extras, and we start with a series of new interviews, the first of which comes from director Chrisophe Gans. Across three parts, we get a total of one hour, 12 minutes, 12 seconds with Gans.
In these reels, Gans discusses his career and influences, his experiences with the Silent Hill videogame and what led him to the film. He also covers the adaptation of the game,
This interview acts as a good substitute for a commentary, as Gans covers a wide array of cinematic topics. He turns this into a productive session.
Two actor chats come next, as we hear from Jodelle Ferland (26:03) and Roberto Campanella (36:34). Both discuss their lives and careers, with some emphasis on Hill.
Of the two, I prefer Ferland’s interview, mainly because she offers a good perspective about life as a child actor. Campanella brings useful notes, too, so both programs work pretty well.
For the final new interview, we get a piece with makeup effects artist Paul Jones. This two-part compilation spans 56 minutes, 18 seconds.
In the first segment, Jones discusses how he got into makeup effects and other aspects of his career, while the second concentrates on Hill. I like the split, as this allows viewers to skip info that may not interest them.
I’d recommend both segments, though, as Jones proves to be a lively, engaging subject. He gets into the material well and makes this a fun, informative interview.
From the original DVD, a documentary called Path of Darkness takes up a total of one hour, one minute, 39 seconds. Across its six parts, we hear from Gans, Ferland, Jones, Campanella, producers Don Carmody and Samuel Hadida, writer Roger Avary, executive producer Andrew Mason, production designer Carol Spier, stunt coordinator Steve Lucescu, creature effects designer Patrick Tatopoulos, costume designer Wendy Partridge, and actors Deborah Kara Unger, Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean, Michael Cota, Yvonne Ng and Alice Krige.
“Path” covers the videogame, the film’s roots and development, story/characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design. We also learn about stunts and action, creature design and various effects.
Expect a pretty good production overview from “Path”. It gets into many useful nuts and bolts and usually works well.
We also find two vintage featurettes: “On Set” (14:29) and “Around the Film” (4:39). Across these, we hear from Mitchell, Holden, Bean, Gans, Carmody, Mason, Hadida, Krige, Partridge, Laustsen and actors Tanya Allen and Kim Coates.
The featurettes look at cast, characters, story, performances, Gans’ approach, and visual design. A few decent notes emerge, but most of the insights repeat from earlier programs, and much of the footage falls into traditional EPK territory.
The set concludes with two Galleries. These look at “Photos” (90 images) and “Posters” (39). “Photos” concentrates on movie shots and seems fairly dull, but “Posters” includes some interesting elements, even if the designs get repetitive.
With a dark, moody tone, Silent Hill came with some potential to offer an unsettling horror movie. Unfortunately, the lack of coherent plot or compelling situations means that it winds up as a slow, boring dud. The Blu-ray brings pretty good picture and audio along with a terrific compilation of supplements. Even by the low standards of movies based on video games, Silent Hill disappoints.