Revisiting Silent Hill 4: The Room On Its 18-Year Anniversary

***spoilers possible***

Truly one of my favorite installments, Silent Hill 4: The Room took the mind-bending, horror-filled psychological franchise another notch, adding new twists and turns to the series we all thought we had figured out. A fan favorite, this title still attracts players of all ages. This year will be the 18th anniversary, with its original release date being June 17th, 2004, and it felt appropriate to revisit some of the more memorable moments or reveals within the game that still captivate fans years later:

1.) Henry wakes up to find himself locked in his apartment with the door latched and chained. He has no keys to the locks and the window will not open. Nobody hears him calling out beyond the door, even when he bangs on it. The peephole is an amazing fear feature in this game, turning the small view of the hallway into a window of horror. Not only can the player see the game’s primary antagonist, Walter standing outside his door staring right back at him at random intervals, but he can also encounter a dead version of himself, standing in the same position as Walter. Seeming to speak in tongues with his face horribly mutilated, it is a chilling and truly scary moment. The sudden realization that there may be only one way out, and it’s not through the front door on your own accord. The peephole also allows the player to keep count of Walter’s kills in the form of bloody hand prints outside the apartment on a hallway wall. With each kill, a new one appears.

2.) The room would be the first game to introduce the concept that the land that Silent Hill was built on and surrounding areas may actually hold more blame in the events of the various games than previous titles had suggested. The apartment that had become Walter’s focus throughout his life was not actually in Silent Hill but in nearby Ashbury. The events of Silent Hill: Homecoming further suggest this when Alex Shepard returns to his hometown of Shepards Glen to find its condition is very similar to the Silent Hill town itself. Foggy empty streets, monsters, and quiet chaos.

3.) While trying to escape the situation he finds himself in, Henry often finds memos, letters, and articles lying around. One such note belonged to Frank Sunderland, the man who would find Walter Sullivan as a newly born abandoned infant after his parents had him and left him in the apartment Henry now lives in. Not only do you find out Frank kept the boy’s umbilical cord to remember him (kinda weird, but okay, we will let it go), but you also find out that Frank has a son of his own, James Sunderland, the protagonist in Silent Hill 2.

4.) One of the most devastating discoveries, in my opinion, is the water prison. It’s a circular column encompassing another smaller column. Within that lies in the middle of Lake Toluca (in this installment), serving as the Orders Multi-level Children Prison. Where they were subjected to all forms of abuse, religious indoctrination, and even murder. During the travels through various cells, a shadow can be seen walking menacingly around the column’s inner circle that served as the security/observation area for guards. Yet, when you travel through the center column, there is not one person in sight. Terrible and heartbreaking letters from children to parents, each other, accusing their captors of acts ranging from abuse to feeding the ones who would be beaten too harshly and die to other children, are scattered. Bloody mattresses in almost every room, and finally, the kitchen where you find evidence that the suggestion was quite true. This location sticks with you forever!

5.) In a cut scene, one can see a young girl give Walter a doll while he sits on what we assume is the apartment in the same stairwell as he had already begun the Heart Murders (first 10) and would tally these kills with the bloody handprints that can still be seen when you look out into the hallway. (It is widely accepted that they reappeared with the events beginning the game and had not just been left there.) This young girl is Eileen, and through this one act of kindness, she marked herself as a victim. According to the 21 sacraments (his guide for what he is doing), one of the last people killed was the Mother Reborn. In her sympathy, she became the soul of kindness.

6.) Another horrifyingly fascinating moment comes when Henry and Eileen seem to travel to Henry’s apartment, but it is not his apartment. It is the same apartment, but during a time when a reporter named Joseph lived there. Whom Henry kept finding red notes, snippets of his articles, and studies about Walter and his childhood. Upon entering the hallway, the player can see blood dripping from the ceiling. When approaching it, a cut scene triggers, revealing a bloodied Joseph hanging out of the ceiling. He appears lifeless, but he speaks, providing Henry information about Walter and how to destroy him. It is a blood-cooling scene and one of the most memorable of any horror games I have played!

7.) Has to go to finding Walter’s body. Yes, it skews the timeline some, as in Silent Hill 2. We are told through a news article that Walter had been apprehended and then killed himself in prison. However, in Silent Hill: The Room, his body is discovered behind a wall of Henry’s current prison, his apartment. The body has IVs and blood packs connected to it, presumably some scientific method only Walter understood to keep the body fresh and alive. This is a quite shocking discovery after watching him walk the halls, stalk you through various locations, and just look generally living.

8. Last but not least, one of the probably strangest facts about Henry is he is quite unrelated to Silent Hill on any real level. In previous and following installments minus DownPour, the character was always heavily related or attached to the community in some way. However, Henry had only ever visited briefly, taking photos of a few buildings and locations as a budding photographer and never returning. As you look around his apartment, he will comment on photos he took and how he liked the location. Later he will comment on how the photo now has a sinister look and he doesn’t know how he never noticed it before. He has no real relation to the town and is merely caught up in the web of someone who was by circumstance. It is a strong statement, made in silence, on how the actions of one can ripple through the lives of so many without one having met the others. True moral bottom line, fed through terror, and I LOVE IT!

I strongly advise anyone who has not played the game and found this article worth the read to take the time. After two decades, it remains a fan favorite for this franchise. It has chilled the blood of so many over the years and continues to do so. It is full of twists, turns, and dead ends that will have your mind spinning and your skin bumping! A deep and hearty call of thanks for the creation of this installment and the time taken to make it ever last.

Until next time, BeccaWolf

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