Return To Silent Hill Is Taking Its Inspiration From The Best Video Game In The Franchise

Prior to the immense success of television shows like "The Last of Us" and "Fallout," many audiences felt that video game adaptations were cursed. There were plenty of quick cash grabs and bizarre attempts at movie adaptations that just didn't work throughout the years, but one secret standout is the 2006 Christophe Gans film "Silent Hill." Based on the Konami video game series of the same name, "Silent Hill" follows a mother (Radha Mitchell) who goes into the uniquely haunted town of Silent Hill to try and rescue her adopted daughter, Heather (Jodelle Ferland). While the film isn't super accurate to the story from the games, it does capture the mood and some of the themes and completely nails the aesthetic, which can be half the battle with video game titles as visually recognizable as "Silent Hill." There's just nothing quite like its grungy industrial meat locker vibe and its delightfully disturbing monsters, though the follow-up film from writer and director M. J. Bassett, "Silent Hill: Revelation," really didn't live up to its predecessor in any way.

The first "Silent Hill" failed at the box office but won over a cult following. Now, thankfully, Gans is getting another shot at the franchise with the upcoming film "Return to Silent Hill." And better yet, fans who felt burned by "Revelations" or even the first film have something to look forward to — "Return" will be based on the best and most beloved game in the franchise.

Taking cues from Silent Hill 2

In a "Silent Hill Transmission" news update video, Konami shared an exclusive first look at "Return to Silent Hill," along with a new interview with Gans, who revealed that "Return" will be based heavily on the video game "Silent Hill 2." He explained that he considers the first four games to be "masterpieces" and that he's excited to adapt the "most adult" entry in the franchise, saying:

"It's the story of James Sunderland. He has lost his beloved bride and he decides to go back to Silent Hill to find her. And he realizes that, basically, the town has changed. It's become something like hell, his own hell. And he's going through all the circles of hell to find his wife. And find also, somewhere, the truth about himself. This film adds an emotional layer to the horror, and certainly because of that, the horror is even more disturbing, even more unsettling. I consider that the first film was like an epic journey of horror. This one is much more like a deep dive into psychological horror."

Many of the monsters shown in the first two "Silent Hill" films, like Pyramid Head and the faceless nurses, are actually supposed to be aspects of James' tortured psyche from the games, which made his absence and their inclusion a real sticking point for some game fans. His joining the "Silent Hill" cinematic universe will give Gans the opportunity to potentially right some wrongs, story-wise, and give fans what they've wanted all along. 

Inner demons become real in Return to Silent Hill

The director's comments on "Return" being more psychological should get fans excited, seeing as "Silent Hill 2" is by far the most cerebral entry in the franchise, creating its monsters out of things like guilt and lust. It will be interesting to see how Gans reconciles the events of the first two films with "Return," and if he will give Pyramid Head and co. their proper origin stories. Whether or not the story is accurate, however, fans can rejoice that the impeccable production design and creature work from the first film will return, as Gans explained that every monster is played by a real person (mostly dancers and acrobats). This is something that helped the first film age fairly well (seriously, those makeup effects hold up!) compared to some of its contemporaries, and will help keep "Return to Silent Hill" grounded in its unique visual style. It's worth noting that he doesn't mention "Revelation" at all, so maybe it's being dropped from the continuity entirely and this will take place just before or after the events of "Silent Hill"? A nerd can hope!

Jeremy Irvine ("War Horse") will star as James, who must contend with his inner demons brought to life in the monstrous town of Silent Hill, where his guilt can wield a giant sword and his sexual frustrations can try to stab him in the throat. Hannah Emily Anderson ("Jigsaw") will play James' late wife Mary, because dead doesn't necessarily mean gone in a horror story, now does it?

Silent Hill's composer is also returning

In another effort to try and ensure that "Return to Silent Hill" has more authenticity and will speak to its fanbase, Akira Yamaoka will return to score the film. The composer scored not only the first four "Silent Hill" games but also the first two "Silent Hill" films (though he did those along with "The Boondock Saints" composer Jeff Danna). That means the spooky sounds of "Silent Hill" will be appropriately ominous and grindy and oh-so-unsettling, which is fantastic to hear. 

It's clear that Gans has a lot of love for this franchise and really wants to make the best "Silent Hill" movie possible, and with what seems like renewed dedication to what made the games so great, he could absolutely succeed. A "Silent Hill 2" video game remake is also set to hit PC and PlayStation 5 on October 8, 2024, so fans should be especially primed and ready to heed the sirens and head back into the fog once "Return to Silent Hill" gets unleashed as well. There's currently no release date, but we'll keep you updated on everything we know as soon as news hits. There's even a quick teaser trailer, which you can check out below!