Michael J Bassett Talks Silent Hill 2
Exclusive: Director on horror sequel
As reported a week or so ago, the sequel to the 2006 horror videogame adaptation Silent Hill is finally upon us, with Solomon Kane's Michael J Bassett in the director's chair. Details were scarce following the leak from the American Film Market, but a website announcement from Bassett has filled in a few of the blanks, and he also had a few exclusive words for Empire.
"It's early days, and I'm keeping details of the plot secret for now," he told us, "but it's going to be a sequel to the first film whilst trying to remain true to the plot of game 3, and will also work as a stand-alone movie for people who don't know the series." That chimes nicely with the sketchy early reports that the film's protagonist would be Heather Mason, a teenager on the run, who begins to experience dreams of Silent Hill on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, and is led towards the mystery of her father's disappearance.
What we didn't know is that Bassett has written his own screenplay; last we heard (a year ago), the sequel's script, like its predecessor, was being bashed out by Roger Avary. We can only speculate what might have happened to Avary's involvement in the meantime (he's not been having the best time of it lately), but Bassett's version seems to be his own, rather than a re-draft.
"It was a real challenge writing it," he tells us, "and I spent a long time revisiting the games and reading just about every little piece of material I could find on the mythology. Of course, my choices may not please everyone, but the ambition is to give the audience a twisted, intense and terrifying experience, following a really interesting story, anchored by a terrific cast giving great performances. It's more than you get from most horror movies these days, I know, but I figure why not aim high and try to bring a bit of quality back to a genre that's rarely treated with respect?"
Elsewhere, in an announcement on his own website, Bassett professes love for Christophe Gans' original take on the material - "especially how they managed to capture the look and feel of the world" - and reveals that he's planning to bring back as many members of the first creative team as possible, which is excellent news. Plot-wise, the first film is a series of dot-joining exercises and fetch quests leading to a lot of exposition-heavy nonsense. But it has a lot going for it in terms of its production design, truly nightmarish atmosphere and utter strangeness.
"I love the complexity and psychological twists that [game company] Konami created, so will do my best to honour that," says the new director, "but I'm determined to deliver a movie that... gives the audience more nuanced characters, a compelling story, and some terrifying new monsters... as well as bringing back a few favourites..."
Pyramid Head for the win! Samuel Hadida and Don Carmody are producing, and shooting on Silent Hill: Revelation 3D starts "this winter" in Toronto.