[Interview] Director Michael J. Bassett On Bringing The World Of 'Silent Hill' Back To Life - Bloody Disgusting
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[Interview] Director Michael J. Bassett On Bringing The World Of ‘Silent Hill’ Back To Life



Michael J. Bassett‘s Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, in theaters this Friday, October 26 from Open Road. I know a lot of you guys have been waiting a long time for this one. Yesterday I hopped on the phone with Bassett and we discussed the differences between this new incarnation of the world and the one from the first film, shooting in 3D, the inclusion of the “Silent Hill 3” game into the mythology and new lead Adelaide Clemens.

In the film, “For years, Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn’t fully understand. Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by terrifying nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she’s not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her in Silent Hill forever.

Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington, Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell, Deborah Kara Unger, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Malcolm McDowell all star in the sequel that’s based on the acclaimed survival horror video game franchise by KONAMI.

What drew you more to the project? The original film or the games

The bottom line is that I was a fan of the games first. I’m a gamer so I go all the way back to “Doom.” When “Silent Hill” came along in the mid-2000’s it was another change in what people were trying to do. And when there was a sliver of light that there was going to be another Silent Hill movie and that Christophe Gans wasn’t going to be doing it, I said, “If there’s an opportunity for me to play in Silent Hill, I want it.”

They said that they wanted a sequel to the first film, which I loved. It was beautifully made and the artistry behind it was profound. It was the highest quality game adaptation at that point because it really captured the essence of what the game was about. I know a lot of people didn’t like it but I thought it was beautifully put together.

So I asked to get involved, and the logical thing to do for a sequel was to pick up after the five year gap from the first one. The little girl is now all grown up – so that means that the game “Silent Hill 3” was the logical game to adapt into it. 1 and 3 sort of build off of each other, the mythologies are similar. The story of “The Order”, this cultish organization that has power over Silent Hill, they all play very nicely from the first movie and the third game into this movie.

Another important thing is that we satisfy the neophyte audience, people who just want an entertaining movie. It’s quite different from something like Paranormal Activity or Insidious. It deals with bigger-canvas horror. And it has to appeal to fans of the game and the first movie as well.

The clips I’ve seen look pretty big. There’s this Mannequin-Spider that looks really ornate.

You try, as film fan, to make a movie that you’d want to go and see. I’m influenced by film, TV, books, paintings and games I’ve seen over the years. And Silent Hill is that world filtered through my sensibility. It’s a different sensibility than Christophe Gans’ version, I think I tend to go a little bit darker. A little more aggressive perhaps? But I wanted to maintain some of the aesthetic he established. It wouldn’t be a sequel otherwise.

I love practical monster horror filmmaking, and that spider-monster is the only digital creation in the whole movie. It was impossible to do otherwise. And when you see the film you’ll realize that it’s kind of got a life cycle of its own that’s pretty freaky. I think it’s got a Cronenberg vibe to it with that slightly twisted Japanese edge. It’s a nasty sort of melange of all these things put together.

Did you shoot in native 3D?

Absolutely we shot in 3D. There’s no other version if you ask me. There was a conversation about it early on and I was sort of circumspect about it for a while, because there had been a lot of bad 3D movies around the time we started working on this. Movies that were shot in 2D and were hastily converted to 3D, and I think that left a bad taste in people’s mouths.

Of course it’s much more difficult to shoot in 3D. It’s easier to shoot in 2D and convert, but the results aren’t as good. I like knowing the depth you’re working with and making that part of the experience of the film. Especially with Silent Hill, I’m trying to make a fantasy and draw the audience into that world and I can use the 3D to do that. On the whole I’m trying to do something subtle that brings you into that world.

How as it working with [new lead] Adelaide Clemens? Did you have to put her through utter hell to get this movie made?

[laughs] I make pretty physically tough movies anyway, so I tend to warn my actors ahead of time, “this might be the most challenging movie you’ll make.” But Adelaide is a young Australian actress and they make them tough out there! She’s tremendous. She was a great discovery for me, she’d made some independent pictures and we’d seen few of those.

We got together and I explained the move I was trying to make and she seemed to understand it. More than anything she was trying to bring a real performance to the middle of this. Not what I would call a “scream queen performance.” She has an agenda, she wants to save her dad and find out who she really is. And she really grounds the film and helps the audience move through the journey.

You’ve also got Sean Bean in this who pretty much dies professionally. Do you kill him here too?

I have my cake and I eat it! That’s all I’m going to say! Yes and no, I can’t tell you anymore than that!