Silent Hill

Silent Hill

Film review by: Witney Seibold


            Silent Hill has the same synopsizing problems as films like Domino or Dreamcatcher. i.e. you begin to explain the plot to a friend, thinking it’s going to be a simple task, but your explanation begins to stretch into this epic and Wagnerian storytelling mission; the longer you take, the stronger it dawns on you how much nonsense you are spewing. And by the time you’re done with the confusingly multi-faceted Gotterdammerung, you and your listener are laughing, agog, at how unbelievably horrible this movie sounds. Silent Hill is horrible, but doesn’t reach the fun, delirious outlandishness of Dreamcatcher, or the beautiful epic absurdity of Wagner. It’s just a horrible movie.


            Here’s my attempt at the story: Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) is the adopted daughter of Rose (Radha Mitchell). Sharon has bouts of sleepwalking, during which she shouts out the film’s title. Rose’s solution is to kidnap Sharon and take her to Silent Hill, a small West Virginia town that was abandoned 30 years ago due to dangerous subterranean fires that still burn to this day. On the road flee from a lady cop (Laurie Holden, looking less like a cop, and more like a stripper in a cop outfit), and they both crash on the Silent Hill incline. When they come to, Sharon is missing, and there are ashes falling from the sky. Silent Hill is empty, but every few hours an air-raid siren goes off, and the town becomes dark, and computer-animated zombies and monsters appear for a few minutes. Then they vanish just as quickly. Hm. Sean Bean shows up as Sharon’s adopted dad, and he too goes to Silent Hill, but there’s no falling ash in his version, and no ghouls. So Silent Hill is haunted, but only in one dimension, and only half of the time… I think. Rose eventually uncovers a Christian-like cult led by Alice Krige (the Borg queen from Star Trek: First Contact) that burns witches to keep evil at bay (and after 30 years, are there any “witches” left?).


We learn that the flippy dimension was created in the mind of a failed witch-burning 30 years ago, and little Sharon might be an extension of the charred witch, but there’s also an evil Sharon running around, and maybe we’re stuck in the netherworld, but maybe we’re… oh forget it. Just forget it.


            The film was based on a video game I’m not familiar with, so I couldn’t tell you if knowing the game would make the film any more clear. I’m guessing not. The film is just weird and confusing and nonsensical. The special effects were good, though, and there’s a really cool and gory mass slaughter at the end. Rent it, then fast-forward to that scene.

 -April 21st, TriStar Pictures           

Published in: on March 29, 2008 at 1:31 am  Leave a Comment  

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