Fire Doesn’t Cleanse. It Blackens!
More October Horror-thon madness, comin’ atcha! Little girls are creepy. Let’s stick with that theme. Today’s movie is a movie I actually saw with a girl. SO THERE! I told you I’m not gay, Mom! …cough… This movie is both a horror movie AND generally my least favorite type of movie: a video game port. Generally a video game does not translate into a quality film, and only two movies come to mind as being watchable video game flicks. One is Hitman, the other is this movie, Silent Hill. Silent Hill is directed by Christophe Gans and stars Radha Mitchell, Jodelle Ferland, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Alice Krige, and Kim Coates.
Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) are having a few problems with their adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). That problem? She likes to sleepwalk in the middle of the night down past busy highways and stop in front of treacherous cliffs, yelling the name of the town “Silent Hill”. Rose has had enough of having to wake up in the middle of the night and doesn’t want to take MY approach of tying the daughter to her bed at night. Is that illegal? Well okay. Then I’d kill her with a hammer. …What? Anyways, Rose’s idea is to take her daughter to Silent Hill, behind the back of her disapproving husband. On her way there, officer Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden), or as I call her, Dyke Cop, attempts to pull Rose of Sharon … I mean Rose AND Sharon (does anyone else get that reference?), but Rose decides, for reasons unbeknownst to us, that she must try to lose the cop. She’s done nothing wrong and Dyke Cop only became interested because Sharon freaked out around the cop. But it’s her actual daughter so she had nothing to worry about … unless she was holding some coke or something. Well this all would have been avoided if she’d just used her head, but she didn’t. She jets off in her car towards Silent Hill, smashing through a fence with reckless abandon, but crashes on the side of the road when a creepy lady walks in front of her car. When she wakes up, everything looks all foggy and creepy and she’s in Silent Hill … without her daughter. Sharon’s run off. Rose goes in to town to find her, but finds it completely abandoned. Apparently there was a coal fire a long time ago that’s still burning underground and is creating the ash in the sky. While exploring, a siren rings out and the world turns all dark and creepy. Then Rose is attacked by these 4 foot tall creepy baby-like things that look like they’ve been burnt to blackness. They disappear when the siren rings out again. Then she goes back to her car and Dyke Cop arrests her, but an armless creature spits black acid stuff at her and Rose escapes while Dyke Cop deals with the Smog. Rose continues her search for Sharon and tries to discover the mysteries of Silent Hill. It probably would’ve been safer to just play the video games.
I remember not caring for this movie when I first saw it, but have come to kind of enjoy the movie in the ensuing viewings. When I first saw it, I knew nothing about Silent Hill that I didn’t learn in the short demo I had played for the original game, and maybe a couple other pieces of information I had gleaned from magazines. But I’ve learned much more since the invention of Wikipedia and my favorite thing about this movie is that it totally captures the spirit and atmosphere of the game. I don’t know the stories that well, but it apparently takes heavily from the stories of Silent Hill 1, 2, and 3. Even the Sharon/Alessa character comes from the first Silent Hill, and the story seems similar (though I only glanced at it on Wikipedia). Also, Rose tends to have very little on hand to light her way through the evil side of Silent Hill – at first a lighter and later a shitty flashlight – which is a big thing in the games. She also has to run from fights often (as she’s scarcely ever armed), she has to squeeze through tight slots to move on, she has to pick up drawings from her kid, and she has to cut over-sized pictures to find things behind them, all things from the game. Even the music is heavily reminiscent of the games. And, of course, they had to put the most well-known Silent Hill character in this, Pyramid Head! He is such a badass in this. He tears a chick’s skin off by her tits! He literally grabs a handful of her chest, squeezes, and pulls, then flings the floppy skin mess at Rose.
As I said, the entire time in Silent Hill is creepy. Hell, right before Silent Hill, Rose stops at a place that is a combination diner, gas station, AND body-piercing establishment. That is creepy to me. And unsanitary. But once they get to Silent Hill, much as in the games, the town shifts between two different types of creepy. Day time Silent Hill is foggy with ash and quiet, which is always pretty creepy. Night time Silent Hill is probably one of the lower levels of Hell by the look of it. The creatures are really creepy. Them little burn babies are wrong on so many levels, and the Smog is disgusting. And what makes them so creepy? I’m pretty sure there’s a real person in those costumes, if I remember the “Making Of” properly. That is one uncomfortable contortionist. When we reach the school and go into the bathroom, there is a very creepy corpse I called Barb Wire Colin who later animates into a very creepy moving corpse. And the death of the cult leader was heavily reminiscent of a certain type of Japanese anime and I totally called it when I was watching. I saw on the movie’s Wikipedia page that it was inspired by a movie called Urotsukidoji, a movie I have seen and thought of as I watched the scene. The cult leader basically gets fucked by barbed wire and then torn in half, which is totally reminiscent of all that tentacle rape the Japanese anime likes to do.
The performances could be kind of hit and miss with me, but they were all at least passable. Radha Mitchell puts on a more emotional performance than a video game movie tends to get. Laurie Holden as Dyke Cop was annoying and nosy in the beginning, but then became a hero by the end. I was sad that she had to die for it, but it’s a very Silent Hill-esque thing to do. And how often do you get to see a woman dressed up like the T-1000? Alice Krige was totally creepy as the cult leader and pulled that off nicely. And Deborah Kara Unger played the crazy old hag mother of Alessa very well. They actually made her an ugly old hag for most of the movie, even though she’s actually an attractive lady. The little girl didn’t really do it for me though. Most of her time as Sharon she kind of acts like she has a mental deficiency of some sort. She has a few creepy moments as Alessa, like when she skipped around and danced in the blood raining down from the cult leader, but the part where she holds out her arms and says “Look at me, I’m burning” seemed like that line should have been a place holder for a GOOD line.
For another negative, I will have to spoil a bit. So ::SPOILER ALERT:: but I didn’t understand the ending at all, and even Wikipedia didn’t really offer an explanation. I understood what happened in Silent Hill, but right after, when Rose and Sharon return to Sean Bean and they’re in the same house but when we’re on them it’s still foggy and colorless but on him it’s colorful and real, and they don’t see each other but they kind of know each other are there, I don’t get it. I assume that Dyke Cop, Rose, and Sharon died when they crashed in the beginning and they’re ghosts now, but then that kind of takes the drama out of the movie because they were already dead and there’s no drama or suspense. A bad or confusing ending can take you out of a movie. ::END SPOILER::
Altogether a pretty solid flick and a nice addition to the Silent Hill franchise. They’re supposed to be making a sequel and, of course, it’s going to be 3D. I hope it just gets better and 3D can go fuck itself. But this movie is worth a watch, though you can probably get by just renting it. I give this movie a “Mother needs more food” out of “Mother is God in the eyes of a child.”
And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.