Friday, April 28, 2006


By Reymundo Salao

Rose (Radha Mitchell) and her child Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) traveled to a mysterious town known as Silent Hill, thinking they can have answers to Sharon’s sleepwalking nightmares. But everybody knows that nobody should go to that town which is said to be an abandoned ghost town cut off from remembrance. Once in Silent Hill, Sharon got lost. And Rose starts a relentless search for Sharon in this nightmarish town of mist and ash fall that now and then falls in and out of a dark creepy alternate state where hellish creatures roam and search for killing prey. She is later joined by a local police officer (Laurie Holden) and they unravel the secrets of the town that is haunted by not only demonic monsters but also of far more evil forces as well.

SILENT HILL is based on the Konami video game with the same title. The Silent Hill game is said to be one of the (if not “The”) scariest video games to come out of the Playstation years and one of the milestones when video game began to have script-rich depth and not just visceral shoots and pops. The movie is directed by Christophe Gans who wrote and directed “Brotherhood of the Wolf” and its screenplay is written by Roger Avary. With the reputation of the famed original video game at stake, and the fact that most game adaptations have fallen short of satisfactory, there was the tremendous pressure for this adaptation to be more than just good. Sure, there may have been one or two plot-holes and the dialogue may tend to be a bit dry in some sequences. But indeed it does prove to be such an impressive masterpiece.

The film starts out with the kind of simplicity that mirrors classics with simple storylines like Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" and George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead". But it later develops into a superb movie with a dark-fantastic storyline. There are enough strange creatures in this movie to a point that it seems like a horror version of “The Wizard of Oz”. Contrary to popular belief, Silent Hill hardly uses any computer-generated imagery. The most notable use of CGI is the fog that drenches the town. Most creatures are live actors covered in latex and makeup.

The storyline of Silent Hill reminds us that sometimes, the real evil comes from those who pose as the forces of good; it strikes on the evils of extreme religious fanaticism to the point that it resorts to evil just to punish those in the opposite side of their beliefs. The issue of religious fanaticism and hypocrisy is relevant in these times when moralists who strike stones of persecution on open-mindedness, does exist in modern society. It is already a used theme but it works in perfect coordination with the entire body of the film.

Radha Mitchell, who’s appeared in Pitch Black, Finding Neverland, Man on Fire, and Phone Booth (that’s why she looks so damned familiar, doesn’t she?) shines in a cool heroine glow, as the mother who is willing to cross hellish trials just to retrieve her child. The sexy motorcycle cop is played by Laurie Holden was one of the main characters (Marita Covarrubias) in the unforgettable X-Files TV series. Her acting was initially dry, but she was such a sight for sore eyes as a believable sexy motorcycle cop. Sean Bean, who’s had a prominent success in his film career, has a somewhat smaller role than his usual films. Even Deborah Kara Unger (who appeared in “The Game” and “The Truman Show”) as a somewhat crazy Silent Hill resident has a more prominent role in this film. But it was Alice Krige as a fanatical religious leader named Christabella who stands out as a true monster of a role, even if she doesn’t wear a mask or a costume on.

SILENT HILL is a virtual hell-on-earth experience. it is more guilty-pleasure vengeful horror rather than being an audience-victimizing gorefest. It is one film that seems to have been made of the same ingredients that have made timeless horror classics. SILENT HILL is a landscape of the creepiest of nightmares; a place perhaps you will find VERY stimulating.

1 comment:

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