Based on the best-selling horror action game, Silent Hill stars Radha Mitchell (Man on Fire) as Rose, a desperate mother who takes her adopted daughter, Sharon, to the town of Silent Hill in an attempt to cure her of her ailment. After a violent car crash, Sharon disappears and Rose begins her desperate search to get her back. She descends into a fog of smoldering ash and into the center of the twisted reality of a town's terrible secret. Pursued by grotesquely deformed creatures and a townspeople stuck in permanent purgatory, Rose begins to uncover the truth behind the apocalyptic disaster that burned the town 30 years back. Dare to step inside the horrific town of Silent Hill, where darkness preys on every soul and Hell's creations await around every corner. But know that once you enter...there is no turning back.
A lot of movies can be described as "dripping with atmosphere," but in the case of Silent Hill
it's literally true. Faithfully adapted from the Konami video games by French director Christophe Gans and Pulp Fiction
cowriter Roger Avary (both self-confessed video game addicts), this dark and grisly horror-fest is nothing if not a triumph of cinematography and production design, consisting of a minimal and mostly incoherent plot propped up by a mysterious maze of sets that literally seep, drip, and ooze with the atmospheric evil of past misdeeds. Welcome to the abandoned and perpetually foggy ghost town of Silent Hill, where grey ash falls like snow, a devastating coal-mine fire still burns in a hellish underground, and demons of various shapes and sizes make your worst nightmares seem like a walk in the park. It's here that distressed mother Rose (played by Pitch Black
heroine Radha Mitchell) has taken her daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) in hopes of discovering the source of Sharon's sleepwalking nightmares. What they find instead is a burned-out legacy of unspeakable evil, as Silent Hill's dark secrets are revealed. As opposing denizens of Silent Hill's meta-morphing underworld, Canadian actresses Alice Krige and Deborah Kara Unger seem to be the only ones who recognize this morbid mess as campy comedy; Gans (who established his visual flair with The Brotherhood of the Wolf
) and Avary take it far too seriously, and the entire movie is utterly devoid of any emotional hooks or plot logic that would make us care about anything that happens. In crafting a loyal big-screen rendition of Silent Hill
and its Playstation sequels, they've forgotten that movies play by a different and more demanding set of rules. As a result, they've made an impressive-looking but ultimately hollow horror film that only Silent Hill
game-players can truly appreciate. --Jeff Shannon