I know that I was very harsh in my review of Resident Evil: Afterlife but I think that such strong discontent should be encouraged within the video gaming community. We should want video games to be presented in the best of light when they transcend into other formats, specifically, in the movie media. The problem for the most part when accomplishing a lofty goal such of making a film worthy of the video game that inspired it is that film is a passive form of entertainment. You are merely a spectator who has to take whatever it is that is given to you from the movie while in video games, you are actively living (almost) every moment of what transpires and you have direct control of the progression of things - or at least a very convincing illusion that you do. This is also the reason why "cinematic" video games that use a heavy amount of cut-scenes just doesn't work that well within video gaming in itself: the best example of this is the utterly disappointing Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots. It is obvious that movies and video games are on opposite sides of a spectrum since they each offer a different kind of brain stimulation.
I have stated that video games should not be made into movies and I do feel strongly about that. There is however one movie that I actually considered to be a good adaptation of a video game and that movie is Silent Hill by Christopher Gans. Released in 2006, this is perhaps the one and only such exception of a great video game movie and the fact that it happened before should hint that it could happen again. So what made this movie so successful to me? I really can't remember too much of the details of the movie since the last time I saw it was back in 2007. I did pick up a copy of the movie DVD and now that I am reminded of it, I plan to watch it again soon. I do recall however that the movie really captured the essence of what the Silent Hill games are about:
a) Being trapped in a haunted town that can switch dimensions on the fly.
b) Being lost in a place where nothing seems to make sense.
c) A lost loved one who becomes the object of the journey.
d) Weird creatures that want to kill you.
e) Odd characters who are denizens of the place.
I can recall how enjoyable the movie was and I truly appreciated how it never tried to simplify the complexity of the psychological horror found from within the dark confines of the games. Though the characters in the movie are new, their references to the video games are spot on. Silent Hill can be considered as a seriously creepy horror movie and not just merely a movie based on a video game and when a movie can stand on its own merits by the proper application of things found in its video game counterpart, it then becomes a companion piece to what inspired it. So if you are a fan of the Silent Hill games and you have not watched this movie, it is comes highly recommended. Other filmmakers who are looking to cash in on a popular game by creating the big screen adaption should study both this film and the Silent Hill games to learn how to do it right.
When you see that sign, you know that there's no turning back.