279 – Silent Hill

Before you even press play on your DVD, you have to realize that Silent Hill is based on a video game, and that’s usually a bad sign – note Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and last year’s Alone in the Dark. Bad movies come from even the best video games, so already Silent Hill has a strike against it.

But ultimately what does Silent Hill in is its incomprehensibility. Oh, the plot is fairly easy to figure out, and luckily enough there are a few moments of exposition in which everything is painstakingly explained to the faithful, luckless viewer. It’s just that the movie is so darkly filmed, it’s often impossible to discern what’s happening in any given scene.

Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Christopher (Sean Bean, who’s underused) have a young daughter named Sharon (ha, get it, Rose of Sharon? Nah, coincidence). Sharon sleepwalks and mutters about a place called Silent Hill so, against her husband’s wishes, Rose decides in the middle of the night (?) to take Sharon to this mysterious place. I mean, who wouldn’t? Surely the key lies there and not in, say, locking the door to the house so Sharon can’t sleepwalk her way off a cliff, as she almost does in the first scene? Nah, that would be too easy.

So Rose gets it in her head to take Sharon there in hopes that the town – a ghost town with a 40-year-old coal fire burning beneath it – will somehow trigger a cure in her daughter. A cop pulls her over on the way, but Rose panics and floors her SUV, and a high-speed chase – at night, in the rain – is underway. Yep, real Mommy of the Year material, she.

Inexplicably (meaning a combination of stupidity and rain), the vehicle crashes, and Rose finds herself in Silent Hill – and Sharon’s gone. So now she has to go find the little kid. Who she brought there in the first place. I kind of felt my sympathy for Rose ebbing at this point.

Meanwhile, Christopher is trying to find both Rose and Sharon. He doesn’t get to do much other than Fight the Man on the outside, but his actions provide some background to the whole mess (i.e., why is Sharon having these episodes, what is Silent Hill the town hiding, and so on), because he’s able to search records, or at least try to access them, leading to confrontations with The Man. Well, the sheriff, anyway.

If you’ve never played the game – which I suspect would be a lot of you – then you’ll likely find the whole thing to be a gobberslop of gore. (I’m thinking of trademarking “gobberslop,” because I like the way it sounds and I think I made it up.) It’s particularly gruesome near the end, but really the entire movie is a crimson cannonball.

The ending is a bit open ended, which might be the movie’s saving grace. It’s left up to the viewer’s interpretation. Overall, though, it’s not very tightly plotted or interesting – odd, since it was written by Roger Avary, who cowrote Pulp Fiction.



2 Responses to “279 – Silent Hill”

  1. donna Says:

    The movie was so hyped up with the commercials and ads, that I couldn’t wait to see it. After I saw it, I was so disappointed because I did not understand more than a few scenes. At the end we were left to wonder. About what?? We didn’t even know what the heck was going on.

  2. frothy Says:

    Yeah, I agree. I think they left it open deliberately in case the movie was successful enough to warrant a sequel… which it might.

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