Silent Hill Requiem (UK 2019)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/2/22
Director: Gareth Morgan
Cast: Olwen Davies, Gareth Morgan, Sam Swainsbury, Jade Louise, Demi Apryl

"Silent Hill Requiem" is a micro-budget independent fan film from writer/director/actor Gareth Morgan that explores and expands the "Silent Hill" universe that was laid out by the video game series. Unlike the previous studio adaptations, Morgan's vision strictly adheres to the source material and does a good job of creating the appropriate tone and atmosphere. Series protagonists Heather Mason (Olwen Davies), James Sunderland (Gareth Morgan), and Henry Townshend (Sam Swainsbury) find themselves drawn to Silent Hill once again and have to confront the source of its power. They also have to confront their various personal demons, which insist on ruining their lives. The world of Silent Hill is filled with sex, horror, sin, guilt, alcohol, murder, lust, blood, temptation, punishment, pain, and suffering, and the film never shies away from those themes. Supporting characters like Mary/Maria (Jade Louise), Harry Mason, Cynthia Velasquez (Demi Apryl), Laura, Dr. Kaufman, and Pyramid Head also show up in various capacities to help or hinder our band of doomed souls.

While I definitely appreciate the direction and tone, the execution is a bit rough and it looks as though the actors were literally shot in a garage and composited into virtual sets. It's an impressive piece of work for what it is, but the low budget constraints can be hard to watch at times. The production opts for a black-and-white presentation, which is technically easier from a chroma-key perspective, but it robs the film of the series' signature blood-and-rust aesthetic. The writing and continuity are inconsistent, and the first third of the film plays out like a series of disconnected and unrelated vignettes (which is probably how the film originated). It isn't until the second half that a coherent plot comes together and the entire cast starts working towards a common goal. The acting tends to be a bit wooden, which is to be expected, with the exception of Gareth Morgan's portrayal of James Sunderland, which is spot-on. He captures the angst, guilt, torment, and self-loathing perfectly, although the costume wig is a constant distraction. Olwen Davies gets the most screen time as Heather Mason and does an admirable job with what little she has to work with. The one actress that really caught my attention was Demi Apryl, whose raw sex appeal as Cynthia Velasquez is intoxicating. Embarrassingly, I had literally no recollection of her character at all, and had to look her up. Both Cynthia and Henry Townshend were in "Silent Hill 4: The Room" (2004), which I have very few memories of. It's a testament to just how deep the fandom goes. The bottom line is, if you're a diehard "Silent Hill" fan and a horror film nerd, it's definitely worth checking out. Otherwise, you may be sorely disappointed.