Saturday, April 29, 2006

Silent Film Treatment

Just watched two films 3 days ago. The first one was "The Wild" which I decided to watch with my folks and my niece. It was okay family fare which one would almost think "Madagascar with family dynamic hybridized with Riverdance and The Gods Must Be Crazy" if one were to condense it. I was planning for a different viewing but since I was with the family earlier and going with them for groceries, what the heck. After all that done, off to watch the other film.

That other film is Silent Hill. It was delayed in screening by about a week or so due to undisclosed reasons through lack of info channels to check. I find it to be worth the delay. I would count myself among a number of bloggers who would write their review of the film.

I better get started on this review of this film.


The movie was gathered to be an amalgamation of ideas, themes and imagery from the three Silent Hill games with a few omissions and alterations to make doable to film. The obvious tack they used was straight from Silent Hill 1, the game that started it all and introduced console gamers to the eerie frightening world of Silent Hill.

Movie starts with Rose Da Silva (Played by Radha Mitchell) running out of her house looking for daughter, which later shows her at the edge of a cliff/waterfall. Before mom gets to her daughter Sharon (played by Jodelle Ferland), she gets a glimpse of hellish, dystopic, gothic-industrial well which zoomed to someone like her, with a pale more sinister cast to her looks. Rose comforts her passed out child as she mentions Silent Hill in passing. Scene fast forwards to Sharon drawing pictures under a tree and Rose approaches her to talk and she explains that they'll be going on a trip to Silent Hill in order to find answers or alleviate the sleep walking concerns.

The mother and daughter stop into gas station at the edge of town called Braham. We get introduced to some disturbing change of themes and content in Sharon's drawings ala The Ring as well as the introduction of tough femme cop Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden). Cybil's appearance prompts memory for console gamers and geeks to recall her from the 1st Silent Hill game.

Rose resumes her drive towards Silent Hill which was briefly interrupted by Officer Bennett's concern for the little girl's histrionics earlier due to the scary change in her drawings. Rose notes how close she is to Silent Hill, she decides to make a break for it, which prompts a chase scene between her and Officer Bennett. The chase gets cut short when Rose's vehicles passes through someone who resembles her little girl in the seat next to her and passes out from the brief skid and spin.

She wakes up and finds her little girl missing. She decides to step out and get a bearing, she notes that the sky is littered by falling flakes almost like snow, which turns out to be ash. Ash from what? As to Silent Hill fans, an educated guess is obvious. It follows her through with Rose wandering around the abandoned town, chasing a glimpse of a little girl running. Some of the scenes shown would be familiar to gamer geeks at this point. Its the most memorable start of a scene from the 1st Silent Hill game.

The movie meanders further in with Rose encountering famed SH resident Dahlia Gillespie and then getting handcuffed by Cybil Bennett and their subsequent encounter with a Silent Hill monster called either an Armless or Lying Figure. Rose seperates from Cybil as she perforates the monster with her firearm. Rose flees briefly and arrives at Midwich Elementary based on an artistic clue left in her car. She enters it and search the school which leads to another chase and subsequently a change in scenery. She encounters a contorted body held with barbed wire moving out of a bathroom stall after its alteration to the hellish place that we are familiar with in Silent Hill.

Rose's flight of fear later lands her to encounter SH2's famed Pyramid Head. While all this running around of Rose transpires, her husband Christopher Da Silva (played by Sean Bean) follows her trail to the town and encounters Braham Police Officer Gucci and helps him with the search in the abandoned town Silent Hill which happens to be a far cry from where Rose is right now. Rose was almost overrun by strange cockroaches that herald Pyramid Head's appearance when she dragged by the last minute by Cybil. They both barricade themselves into a room until the scary person with pointy metal hat leaves since the dark time has a time limit it appears.

Rose and Cybil go off to the hotel based on a clue Rose acquired in the bathroom stall earlier. They search inside and encounter a normal resident named Anna. Another clue picked up at the reception desk as well as a key. They head over to the room, which was considered secret and explore in some more. Rose and Cybil later go off with Anna to where others like her are seeking refuge whenever the darkness comes in. Anna gets killed off by Pyramid Head.

Rose and Cybil encounters other refugees in the church which happens to a refuge for devoutly religious people lead by Christabella (By Alice Krige of Borg Queen and Sleepwalkers fame). Rose and Cybil were accused of being witches for the cause of their fallen comrade's demise outside. The pair were told to head over to the hospital to seek out the demon where possible their quest would lead. The group heads over to Brookhaven Hospital. Christabella recognizes the picture in Rose's locket and proceeds to have her underlings do in both of them. Cybil puts up a brave front to allow Rose to go into the hospital basement. I was almost under the impression that Cybil would be bludgeoned to a pulpy mess by these zealous townsfolk but the final fate for her is to be mentioned later.

Rose arrives at the basement. She navigated her way to the specific room pointed to her earlier by Christabella prior to the lynching part. Rose gets an obstacle in the form of the SH2 famous deformed Bubble-Head nurses, which are very attracted to light. Rose barely navigate through the murderous pack and enters the hospital room of Alessa Gillespie. Before Rose arrives to the revelations involed, lets gets back to Rose's hubby. After some evasive replies by Officer Gucci and moreso with Braham Archives, he does some B&E and rifled through some old police records which indicated a case file with the last name Gillespie on it, the case file includes a picture of Alessa, which to him and Rose is their adopted daughter Sharon. Christopher attempts to pry more involve at the orphanage but was subsequently visited by Officer Gucci and given a polite invitation to leave town.

Rose was treated to a series of images and sounds from Alessa Gillespie as to what happened to her and explained that Sharon happens to a facet of Alessa, the remaining good in her. A familiar nurse was also shown in some scenes. Her name was not mentioned by SH game fans recognize her as Lisa Garland though she was handled differently in this movie. Alessa strikes a bargain with Rose in order for her to have Sharon back in her custody, it was just a matter of revealing the truth to the cowardly religious lot in the church and moreso to Christabella, their leader.

Scene jumps back somewhere wherein Sharon and Dahlia Gillespie were captured in the hotel. They were judged and prepared for execution in the church. Cybil Bennett, still bloodied but alive was the first to taste the purging of their religious zealots. Cybil ends up a crispy critter in a briefly graphic scene which was just as much shown with Alessa's punishment as well. When it was time for Sharon's turn to burn, Rose shows up and spouts off her rhetoric about the fear and denial these people have for their faith because...surprise, these people are dead, including Christabella. Rose gets stabbed for her troubles but was able to shed blood containing Alessa's essence to unlock her from her deep prison. Graphic mayhem insues involving lots of barbed wire that tie up people, do what I call a barbed-wire saw and converting people into chunky bits by said barbed wire.

When Rose and Sharon wakes up, the mess is no longer there and they off for home. Rose dials home to let Christopher know she's safe. Something is amiss when Christopher only gets static on his end. The remaining part of the ending strikes me much like one of the variant endings to garnered based on decision at critical plot points or whatever actions, items or awards gained. I was under the impression that the ending for this one is not one of those very good endings.


The movie was able to use music from all three movies though I'm not familiar with SH2 yet so there. Jodelle Ferland's performation definitely puts her among Horror Movies Creepiest kids besides The Ring's Daveigh Chase in such a category. At least her creepiness is not overplayed in this case. The movie was able to visualize for us as to how the scenery changes during the "dark" or hellish phase that the game's backdrop have. It was pretty much neat and consistent with the themes concerning one's own hell for that matter. The movie plays out like a by-the-rails kind of a videogame or more like a ride for you to see the many sights and creatures that makes Silent Hill as a place to stay away from but couldn't leave it. Its very much synonymous to a train wreck you want to avoid looking at but still drawn to it. For the game purists, it meets expectations like halfway or two-thirds. For baser horror fans or gore-hounds, this movie isn't to say the least. It is an intelligent film that draws in more of one's deep-rooted/deep-seated fears to the fore. After watching the film, it makes me get drawn to finishing Silent Hill: The Room and soon enough a crack at Silent Hill 2. **Cue in entrance music for Silent Hill 1**