SILENT HILL directed by Christophe Gans (USA, 2006)

This successful computer game turned confusing film is an amalgam of past horror films and psychological thrillers.

For example, the cop on their trail and the blonde woman in distress reminded me of Hitchcock, the freaky girl made me think of The Ring and the poor visibility in the abandoned Silent Hill had echoes of John Carpenter’s The Fog.

This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if there was any cohesiveness between these diverse elements. But the strands are tacked together without being particularly scary,suspenseful or comprehensible.

The mother (Rose) seeks a cure for her daughter’s nightmares by ignoring everyone’s advice and taking her into a ghost town in the back end of beyond. With caring guardians like this who needs abusive parents!

In Silent Hill, she encounters monstrous figues apparently deformed by a fire that raged in the town and still burns underground (Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire plays on the jukebox to emphasise the flammable theme).

All the signs are that this is the devil’s handiwork, a fact that fires (geddit) a witch hunting/burning cult to purge what’s left of the town from these dark forces.

All these elements combine to provide a splatter finale where Rose somehow finds she has some suspiciously satanic powers.

The ‘look’ of the film is good but the budget clearly didn’t extend to a decent script. For instance, the mother searches for her missing child crying endlessly ‘Sharon….Sharon…SHARON!‘ while her husband searches for his missing wife crying “Rose….Rose ….ROSE”.

From what I can decipher from the ending, Rose and Sharon are either living in some parallel universe or dead. Not good either way for the husband who can sense their presence but can’t see them.

The sequel to this movie is about to be released in 3D format, titled ‘Revelation’ but I’d be more interested in Silent Hill : The Explanation.

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