Lets get this straight right from the start, I’m a huge Silent Hill fan and always have been since I rushed out to buy the first game on the day of release back in 1999. Team Silent and Konami just got everything right about the game. Since that first game there has been a whole flurry of game releases and 2 official movies.
There have been fan made films released over the years, but nothing has ever really captured the feel of Silent Hill or actually been watchable for that matter. Nearly 4 years ago however, I caught news that there was another fan film wanting to be made, but to do it, an Indiegogo would be needed. My interest was peaked as this was the first time someone had taken the franchise seriously enough to plow some major financial backing into a movie. A small and relatively unknown film company from right here in the UK calling themselves Zenithfilms was ready to pitch the idea to the public and the fickle fan base with the hope of raising $3,000 to get themselves up and running. Within the time the Indiegogo campaign was active, Gareth Morgan; head of Zenithfilms, smashed through that goal and had to quickly set up stretch goals.
So, the initial response from the fans was that they obviously wanted to see a new Silent Hill film, but with little known about the company, this was a huge risk.
The filming was completed relatively quickly for the film and all that was left was to piece together all the footage and get it out in the public eye.. not such an easy task, especially when you factor in Morgan’s unique filming style.
Coupled with moving home and other issues thrown at Morgan, I personally felt that the film would never make it to screen, but he proved that this was a true labour of love and battled through adversity to complete what we now finally have today, something I’m happy to say, I’m glad he did.
So, how do I approach my review of this film? Do I review on a pure Silent Hill fan basis? Should I be the actor I am and focus on the stars? Do I leave both of those behind and do a basic movie review?
Well, I’m going to incorporate each one of those to let you know more about Requiem and I will keep this review as spoiler free as I possibly can.
‘Silent Hill Requiem’ follows the story of the hit video game franchise Silent Hill and sees the return of Silent Hill favourites, including Heather and James, as they are forced to return to the fog filled streets of Silent Hill to put an end to the horrors of the Otherworld once and for all. This of course will not be an easy task and will require them to learn the ancient history of Silent Hill to achieve this.
Immediately, the first thing you notice about the film is Morgan’s rather unique style when it comes to the look of a movie; something he has stuck with in other short films that he has created in the past. Its hard to describe, but you watch it and you can tell its real people acting, but there is a kind of cartoon feel to it in places. That coupled with the feel of the movie reel being damaged ads to this film in a really positive way. In places I feel there was a little too much of this style happening, but it wasn’t a bad thing. Morgan describes it as Noir themed, but others have used the term ‘Live Action Animated Movie’. Whatever it is, its clever; very clever, and it works extremely well within the confines of a Silent Hill movie.
The opening sequence which Morgan has posted on YouTube draws us straight into the action and left me wanting more, and the whole film follows in the same way, I found myself constantly wanting more. Not to mention lots of nods to the game franchise throughout. If you blink, you can miss them which is why I suggest watching the film over a few times; each time I did I spotted something new. Its not just in the visuals however, there are pieces within the films background audio and that’s before we even get to the amazing soundtrack that accompanies the film.
The one thing about Indie films that I always disagree with is the director acting within the film. I have seen and worked on set with people who want all the fame and the end result has been terrible. You should either act or direct, not both. That being said, Morgan has a talent for acting. I could really feel the main character of James Sunderland which was played by Morgan and he pulled it off in fantastic style. So to have him within the film alongside some strong acting ability was great to see. My only complaint was the accent he was using started to annoy me after a while, but if I drank as much bourbon as within the film, I will easily ignore that. I seriously hope that Morgan got Jack Daniels to sponsor him.
Olwen Davies takes on the role of Heather Cheryl Mason in strong style. This is a woman that I’m sure we will see more of in the future and has no fear in front of the camera in any situation Morgan asked of her. Considering that most of this was obviously filmed in a green screen studio, she really draws you in and makes herself look comfortable within the scenes of the film. She really managed to bring her character to life in a way a lot of people would fall short of.
There are a host of other actors within the film, but I would be here all day going into detail on each ones roles and abilities, but there wasn’t a single person that Morgan cast which let any of the others down. They were all great talents who all deserve to progress within the world of acting, even if that is a difficult thing to do in this day and age.
I want to say so much more about this film, but anything else would class as spoilers and I dont want to do that to anyone. You need to get hold of this film to see it for yourswelf. I was lucky enough to be handed a review copy online by Morgan, but when this is finally released on Blu-Ray I will be first in line to get my hands on a copy to add it to my Silent Hill collection.
For me, Gareth Morgan and Zenithfilms have made a Silent Hill film which can stand alongside a big budget film if not overshadow them (yes, we all know that Revelations is a love/hate movie).
If you do get the chance to watch, watch it to the end and beyond the credits. As all film makers seem to do lately, there is a teaser before the credits that there could be a followup film possibility. If you watch beyond the credits Morgan treats us to his next project, Silent Hill Lazarus, which has already started an Indiegogo page. This will be a 12 part web series which I am seriously interested in seeing. I didn’t back Requiem for the simple reason that although I believed in the idea of the film, I couldn’t be sure it would be released. I have seen others try to start a project in the same time as Morgan and they have all seemed to dissapear. I will be backing the web series however and urge you all to as well.
For me, I can easily give Requiem a solid 8/10. Yes, there are a few personal niggles in there for me, but most will be able to see past them as I could second time round.