One of the earliest horror films to hit Blu-ray gets a surprisingly revelatory upgrade
This article contains several comparisons which contrast Sony’s 2006 Blu-ray transfer with the new Scream Factory Collector’s Edition. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
Silent Hill was one of the earliest Blu-ray titles available, hitting soon after the format’s launch at a time when Sony’s discs were considered among the industry’s best in terms picture quality. Having watched this Blu-ray a couple times and being content with its appearance, I wasn’t expecting a big difference, if any, on a new release. I was wrong, because Scream Factory’s disc is a Silent Hill revelation.
With some transfers, there are a lot of varying factors and nuances to discuss, but with this comparison, it’s very straightforward. Scream Factory’s new presentation is sharper, brighter, and clearer. By comparison, the older disc almost looks like it’s got a milky haze that’s suddenly been cleared away — particularly noticeable in the now inkier blacks.
Though touted as director-approved, the new transfer isn’t advertised as being a new scan. Whatever the case may be, there’s clearly an improvement, and the difference in brightness and contrast (and I’m just guessing here, but seemingly an absence of artificial smoothing or DNR) provides far greater clarity.
The only drawback to the newer, better transfer is that the darker, more muted picture of the prior disc helped to conceal or neutralize some of the dodgier effects and compositing. The film is very heavy on CGI not only for nightmarish creatures but also environmental effects, and in a harsher light some of it looks more garish and artificial.
There’s also an argument that could be made that the murkier transfer rings truer to the foggy, hazy aesthetic of the games, but I believe the inherent craft of the film carries this through where applicable, without the need for reliance on hazy video.
Besides a new transfer, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition also includes a second disc full of new features and interviews. Check out our Blu-ray review by Julian Singleton to read more!
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Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.