Tag Archives: Laurie Holden

Silent Hill (2006) Review

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains horror scenes, violence
Cast:
Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva
Sean Bean as Christopher Da Silva
Laurie Holden as Cybil Bennett
Jodelle Ferland as Alessa Gillespie
Deborah Kara Unger as Dahlia Gillespie
Alice Krige as Christabella
Kim Coates as Officer Thomas Gucci
Tanya Allen as Anna
Director: Christophe Gans

Unable to accept the fact that her daughter is dying, Rose (Radha Mitchell) decides to take the girl to a faith healer. On the way, the pair drive through a portal in reality, leading to an eerie town called Silent Hill. The town is surrounded by a potent darkness, and the human survivors fight a losing battle against it.

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It’s pretty well known that video game movies most of the time just don’t work. However, I did for a while hear about how Silent Hill movie is actually one of the better video game movies. I haven’t played any of the Silent Hill games but I know that some of the games are known for being some of the best horror video games ever. Silent Hill is definitely better than most video game movies and has a lot of good elements to it, mostly with the direction and how the town of Silent Hill is portrayed. However, it also has some elements that bring it down from being as good as it could’ve been.

Full disclosure, it’s been years since I’ve seen this Silent Hill movie and I’ll do my best to remember what’s in the movie. This movie doesn’t take characters or stories from one of the games thankfully, this means that they won’t be tied down with a particular story or characters to adapt and so they have much more freedom to do whatever they want. This movie just uses the most important part of the game series, the town of Silent Hill itself. The story itself isn’t bad but it’s not that great either. Some characters, as per usual with generic horror movies, just really makes some really bad decisions. With that said, the movie started off quite well and had my attention. However, it starts to fall away in the second act when it gets needlessly convoluted. This might be a bit of a spoiler but I’m pretty sure that the movie would’ve been better if the film didn’t connect the daughter character to Silent Hill in some convoluted way. From what I can tell from the Silent Hill series (or at least from the best games of the series), the problems that the main characters encounter while in Silent Hill are mainly influenced by their own issues, the town just brings out their own fears. By having this needless connection, it just feels very Hollywood and is just not as impactful, it’s much less psychological. All the while I’m trying to follow what’s going on and as a result, any atmosphere or tension that is being built up just disappears over time. By the time it gets to the end, it just feels underwhelming. The movie does feel a little too long, even at just over 2 hours. Granted it’s been years since I’ve seen the movie and it could be better or worse than I remember, but that’s how I recall it being.

The acting by the main cast is okay enough, not really anything special. Radha Mitchell is quite good as the lead character of Rose as she’s going to Silent Hill. Sean Bean is perfectly fine as Rose’s husband but he feels out of place, he ultimately feels pointless to the movie, it’s really focussed on Mitchell’s character when she’s in Silent Hill and at random points cuts to Sean Bean trying to figure out what happened to her and their daughter. It’s like he was only in the movie so that he could appear in the sequel like 6 years later. We also have Laurie Holden and other actors who are fine enough in their roles.

Christopher Gans’s direction works well and a big part of the reason why this makes the movie somewhat work. For the most part, the visuals of Silent Hill were truly great. The designs of the monsters were really great and horrific, and the best part is that practical effects are in use, far more than I expected there to be. I haven’t played the Silent Hill games myself, but from the brief glimpses I had of some of the games, it looks like the movie was staying true to them. The movie has a good atmosphere of isolation that is really needed in a Silent Hill story. There’s a lot of walking and long moments to build up atmosphere but it doesn’t succeed as well as I think it could’ve but it was still alright. There are some predictable jumpscares but not as many as most bad horror movies.

The Silent Hill movie was better than I thought it would be, given that most video game movies aren’t all that good. It started off well, the direction and the visuals are really good, and at times it seems to capture the spirit of the games. Unfortunately, there are things holding it back from being even decent as a movie on its own. I think that a Silent Hill movie released nowadays with the recent comeback of horror movies could be something really good, and I’d be open to seeing that. Till then, this is the best we got in terms of video game horror movies (and no, although I haven’t seen it yet, apparently the sequel is really terrible).

Dragged Across Concrete (2019) Review

Time: 159 Minutes
Cast:
Mel Gibson as Brett Ridgeman
Vince Vaughn as Anthony Lurasetti
Tory Kittles as Henry Johns
Michael Jai White as Biscuit
Jennifer Carpenter as Kelly Summer
Laurie Holden as Melanie Ridgeman
Fred Melamed as Mr. Edmington
Udo Kier as Friedrich
Thomas Kretschmann as Lorentz Vogelmann
Don Johnson as Chief Lt. Calvert
Director: S. Craig Zahler

DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE follows two police detectives (Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn) who find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics is leaked to the media. With little money and no options, the embittered policemen descend into the criminal underworld and find more than they wanted waiting in the shadows.

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I haven’t seen any of S. Craig Zahler’s other movies with Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, but I’ve definitely heard of them and have been meaning to get around to them for some time. I also heard about some controversial Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn movie that was being made, and it turns out it’s this movie, didn’t learn until recently that Zahler actually directed it. I heard it was some crime drama, but beyond that and the cast involved, I didn’t really know much about it. Dragged Across Concrete like its title suggests is a grim crime thriller, written, directed and performed exceptionally, and it’s one of my favourites of 2019 thus far.

Dragged Across Concrete boasts a sharply great script from director S. Craig Zahler, from the slowly paced storytelling to the effective dialogue. As I start, I think I should address the elephant in the room, or at least one of them. Ever since the premise of Dragged Across Concrete has been announced, people had been declaring this a MAGA pandering and all around bigoted movie. Given my very apparent praise for this movie already, you could probably already tell that I don’t agree with this. Almost everyone in the movie is not what we’d call ‘a good person’, and definitely not the recently suspended main characters, who are looking for ‘compensation’ after abusing their power as police officers. Sure the movie doesn’t exactly tell you that what they are doing is bad, but it certainly doesn’t endorse the main characters’ actions either, it just shows what they are and give some insight why they’re doing them. The characters are fully developed, fleshed out and feel real, especially the lead characters. People are going to have different opinions about the majority of them, but generally I think we can all agree that they are flawed yet human, with their own lives to lead that we get to have a glimpse at. They are still in the grey area of morality as they have both good and bad aspects to them. Really the only flat out ‘pure evil’ characters in the film that aren’t shown to have any redeeming qualities whatsoever are the dangerous masked men led by Thomas Kretschmann who appear, create chaos and kill people excessively. We don’t really get to learn about these particular characters or why they are how they are, but they are quite intimidating when they are on screen. It is a very bleak movie, the world these characters inhabit just feels unpleasant, the tone borders on nihilism, and as I said many of the characters are hard to root for. It’s generally easy for me to watch these kinds of movies (in fact I kind of love watching them) but I do know that some will find this to be a tough watch. There is one character who’s introduced, and their purpose is ultimately used for shock value (no spoilers), and while people will be split on that, I thought it worked well for the movie. Dragged Across Concrete is quite long at 2 hours 40 minutes, so you really need to be prepared for that. Although I was invested for much of the movie, I feel like it could’ve been cut out a good 10-15 minutes. Much of the movie takes its time, but it feels purposeful and not necessarily self indulgent. It builds up the personality of the characters and the world that they inhabit. Despite some of the more slower pacing throughout, it all comes together at the end to conclude very well.

Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn are the lead characters, and they were both great in their roles. Now this is Mel Gibson, and while there’s certainly going to be some people who have issues with him even in this movie (understandably), I almost feel like his casting here was a deliberate choice. Gibson generally delivers and this is no exception, this is one of his best performances, if not his best. Although I haven’t seen Vaughn’s other dramatic work like in True Detective or Brawl in Cell Block 99 (another Zahler film), I can say that he’s a great dramatic actor and he was really good here. Gibson and Vaughn are very easy to buy as two cops who have been partnered with each other for a while, and their dynamic was really great. The rest of the supporting cast further grounds the movie with Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White, Jennifer Carpenter, Laurie Holden, Don Johnson all doing well with their performances, no matter how brief they may be.

Again, this is the first movie I’m seeing from S. Craig Zahler, and I can say that he’s great at what he does, it’s a really great looking movie. I’ve heard that his other movies are considerably more violent, but he handles the violence well here. The violence flashes rather quickly on screen and doesn’t happen as much as you think it would be, but when it’s present it feels grisly and realistic, it’s not overplayed but the impact is still there nonetheless.

Dragged Across Concrete won’t work for everyone, it’s very long, it can be a hard watch, and it’s likely to provoke some people. However I thought that it was a generally well made movie, from the cast (particularly Gibson and Vaughn), to the direction and the story, it’s one of my favourite movies of 2019 thus far. I definitely want to see Zahler’s other movies now, he’s already proven with Dragged Across Concrete that he’s a really great filmmaker, and I’d love to see what he makes next.