Have you ever played the video game “Silent Hill?” I have. To me “Silent Hill” can easily be summed up with one word: frustrating. You walk around the abandoned town of Silent Hill which is covered in a foggy ash searching for clues to help you find your daughter. Every once in a while, some freakish creature pops out and you either run away or shoot the hell out of it. While I’ll admit to being an impatient gamer, “Silent Hill” the game just feels like you’re walking around in circles waiting to be scared. Sadly, the movie adaptation of the game feels the same way.
Married couple Rose (Mitchell) and Christopher (Bean) awaken to find their daughter Sharon missing from their house. Rose runs about screaming for Sharon, which we soon realize is about 90% of Mitchell’s total dialogue, and finds her in a dream-like state, precariously standing at the edge of a cliff. Rose grabs her and as Sharon starts to awaken, she starts to scream “Silent Hill.” Rather than get her kid the psychological help she clearly needs, Rose decides to take Sharon to the town of Silent Hill which was abandoned in the seventies due to coal fires burning beneath the town. They’re still burning to this day.
In standard movie fare, Rose crashes her car and gets knocked out. When she comes to, Sharon is (surprise!) gone. Thus Rose is sent to look for her in the mysterious ghost town where blackness falls frequently, people and creatures appear out of nowhere and nothing is really ever explained. Without giving much away, there’s really freakish creatures that try to kill Rose. There’s also a group of religious fanatics that, you guessed it, try to kill Rose. While I understood who these religious nuts were, we’re never told what the hell the creatures are and why they look the way they do. In fact, this entire film is downright confusing and not in an intriguing way. More like in an annoying way.
Right about now uber-fans of the video game “Silent Hill” are undoubtedly launching into a rant about what the creatures are and what certain aspects that are unclear in the film are all about, ala The Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons.” Save your hate email, geeks. I’m reviewing the film “Silent Hill,” not the game. I shouldn’t have to spend days on end playing a video game to understand a character or situation in the movie.
As much as I didn’t like the film, I think the aforementioned fans of the game are going to love it. The music, visual style and many plot lines are the same as the game. Gans also has some amazing visuals in the film and even though I was confused by the creepy creatures, they are extremely unsettling. However as I sat through this two hour stumble through what looked like fog, I just kept thinking to myself how this might be the best looking bad film I’ve ever seen.