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Director gives "Silent Hill" the power of reality
October 22nd, 2012 9:52PM

"Imagine Alice in Wonderland filmed through the eyes of David Cronenberg."

That's how British director Michael J. Bassett (Deathwatch) describes his new movie, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, due in theaters on Friday, October 26, just in time for Halloween frights. The movie returns to the strange world under a West Virginia town, seen in the movie Silent Hill and the video game series that inspired it.

He compared it to classic 3D movies like House of Wax in that "I'm trying to do the same thing. I want the 3D to be entertaining." At the same time, he notes the technology has gotten much better, allowing him to do more. "I want to immerse the audience in detail, make them feel they're looking in a window."

He says Revelation 3D is done "a little less exploitatively, a little more artistically."

That includes the influence of surreal artists such as Hieronymous Bosch. "It's essential to have an artistic eye, to draw on many influences, even multiple medias and disciplines."

Bennett put his eye to work in set design, costuming, and other production detail. "I'm an old-school filmmaker. I want to use virtually no CGI."

Bassett relied heavily on "prosthetics, makeup, and men in suits," along with locations that included a Toronto-area power station and real sets, because he wanted the movie "to feel like a real world." He did use some digital effects to create "things that couldn't be achieved," like the video game's fog world and one character who couldn't be done with prosthetics.

"I can't stand just standing in front of a big green screen."

With younger actors, "I want them to really feel it." Carrie-Ann Moss (The Matrix) and Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) have worked with green screens a lot, but star Adelaide Clemens (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), who plays young Heather Mason, hasn't. "I gave her the opportunity to have real responses." Veterans and newcomers alike seemed to appreciate the old-fashioned filmmaking experience, he said, even if the power station--"a carcass of industrial complexity"--at times proved to be "a horrendous location."

Moss, he said, particularly liked not having eyebrows, matching character Claudia Wolf's appearance in the Silent Hill video games. "I want to have the unusual look," she told him.

Bennett, a fan of the Silent Hill video games, wanted to make the strange look of the video games real, with lots of detail that gamers will pick up on.

"There's a difference between a movie and a video game that's quite profound," he said. "You want to make that stuff come alive."

The result, Bassett hopes, will be "frightening and hugely entertaining."



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