Review of Silent Hill

Silent Hill (2006)
6/10
Time passer has visual appeal, but little substance
4 June 2020
When I picked this movie from the bargain bin the title "Silent Hill" meant nothing, and it looked like an interesting horror movie. However, once I began watching it quickly became apparent it was based upon a video game. Something in the sweeping camerawork, meticulously conceived sets, and character POV, further reinforced by its endless pursuits and diversions. You can almost hear the Ching-Ching reward every time the protagonist chooses the correct path or finds a way to outdo an enemy. The plot, such as it is, is about a sleepwalking girl, Sharon (Joelle Ferland), dreaming of going to a place called Silent Hill, so her mother, Rose (Radha Mitchell) takes her on a road trip in search of the mysterious dreamscape. En route the car crashes and when Rose regains consciousness she finds that Sharon has disappeared, and it becomes a quest to find the child among the deserted buildings of Silent Hill. It looked, to me, a cold, misty place, of gently falling snow. Rose spots a small figure and follows it into dark cavernous depths where she is confronted by deformed, faceless creatures, wailing and writhing before bursting into flames. From what I could gather, the story is that the town is built atop a mine that caught alight burning to death all the residents both below and above ground. It is then evident the mist is, in fact, smoke, and the snow is ash. So far, so good... Regrettably, the movie then lurches into countless muddled directions, involving all manner of creature and creed, and finishes in a final act of brutal revenge. The violence ls graphic and its a cockeyed journey. Granted, there is some great body horror and special fx. Nonetheless, the story is so convoluted, the characters so empty, that it is difficult to engage with. Actor Sean Beans only discernible purpose is to play the anguished father at the end of the movie to distinguish between two different planes of existence. The structure of this movie does make sense as a game designed to maximise player time by putting them in a maze-like framework -up and down, round and round,in and out-with a view to immersing them in a myriad of complicated scenarios with minimum pay offs. "Silent Hill" may be one for game fans.
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