1 item from 2006
LONDON -- Christophe Gans' "Silent Hill" is a feverishly overcooked nightmare movie about a woman who takes her disturbed daughter, who walks in her sleep, on an outing to a burned-out city filled with ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties. Witless, soulless and joyless, it displays its video game origins throughout as Mom promptly loses the kid and spends the rest of the film looking for her in a multilevel maze filled with fire and nasty-looking creatures.
The massive advance publicity might catapult the film to decent boxoffice returns on its opening weekend, but its total reliance for thrills on predictable jump cuts and loud noises might render word-of-mouth devastating.
The film provides no information about the characters except that Rose (Radha Mitchell) and Chris (Sean Bean) know their daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) is troubled and given to wandering about in the night. So they choose to live high in the woods next to a massive cliff with a mighty waterfall.
Rose saves Sharon miraculously from that peril in the opening sequence but then quickly decides to bundle her up in an SUV and charge off to an old mining town in West Virginia whose name figures in the girl's dreams.
The name is Silent Hill, but the city is neither silent nor on a hill. It looks like a small industrial town that has been air-blasted by CGI so that it appears torn apart and vacant. The fact that it is not on the map and narrow-eyed locals say there is no road that goes there gives Rose no pause whatsoever. Charging through a metal fence, she even ignores a female motorcycle cop who suspects she might be a touch deranged. Surely not.
For no evident reason, the city's atmosphere alternates between sunshine, darkness and a thick shroud of ash and fog. Upon arriving there, Sharon immediately runs off, and Rose has to find her. A building only has to reveal itself as being home to vile creatures, some resembling the figure in Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream", and Rose wants to dive into it.
Soon the motorcycle cop arrives, too, and takes off her helmet to reveal that she is just as blond and cute as Rose. Her name is Cybil (Laurie Holden), and together they plunge deep into the underground furnace of Silent Hill to save the girl.
Various misshapen horrors reveal themselves, including one guy with what looks like a fireplace grate on his head. But there are actual people in town, too, led by someone named Cristabella (Alice Krige), who has the fanatical religiosity you only see in teenage horror films.
It is no surprise who Rose's biggest problem is going to be, never mind the screaming fiends and freaks that confront her. It also comes as no surprise when they show up, either, as there always is a subterranean growl and some kind of industrial noisemaker to offer warning.
Lacking interest and tension, the only real curiosity is what on Earth was Bean thinking.
A Silent Hill DCP/Davis Films production in association with Konami Corp.
Director: Christophe Gans
Screenwriter: Roger Avary
Producers: Samuel Hadida
Executive producers: Andrew Mason, Victor Hadida, Akira Yamaoka
Director of photography: Dan Laustsen
Production designer: Carol Spier
Editor: Sebastien Prangere
Music: Jeff Danna, Akira Yamaoka
Rose DaSilva: Radha Mitchell
Chris DaSilva: Sean Bean
Cybil Bennett: Laurie Holden
Dahlia: Deborah Kara Unger
Office Gucci: Kim Coates
Anna: Tanya Allen
Cristabella: Alice Krige
Sharon/Alessa: Jodelle Ferland
MPAA rating R
Running time -- 120 minutes »
1 item from 2006
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