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The Film


View Count: 5
Last Viewed:2022.05.29
First/Last Reviewed:2006.05.14/2006.09.12

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This film was battered by the critics and has had difficulties finding an audience beyond the core fans of the video game it's based on. However, if you are in the mood for something cryptic (in a good way), and very dreamy (or rather nightmarish), then this movie provides a surprisingly good thrill ride.

Rose (Radha Mitchell) has a young daughter Sharon (Jodell Ferland) who sleepwalks. One night, she murmurs the words "Silent Hill" and after some research, Rose finds details about a ghost city which underwent a terrible tragedy some 30 years ago when it was destroyed by a large fire. Convinced that there is some link with her daughter's dangerous sleepwalking episodes, she decides to go there and see if she can figure it out. When she arrives though, her daughter suddenly disappears, and while looking for her, she discovers a town in ruins, trapped between life and death, where a few strange survivors have formed a cult led by a great priestess (Alice Krige) and battle demons which have overtaken the town. But not everything is as it seems of course, and the demons are actually serving a little girl who had been killed 30 years ago by the leaders of the town and who is now exacting revenge on all of them in this twilight world where they have all been imprisoned.

This is another horror film directed by a French director, and along with Hills Have Eyes, The (2006), also directed by a French director, one can see some common thread of visual artistry and moody settings and pace. The film is visually terrific, with a fantastic job from the cinematographer and art director. The city is so detailed and every shot comes out full of intricate colors and textures. It is very artistic. The monsters are also very creepy and well executed. The film is definitely moody, with long passages where nothing much happens except for Rose wandering around, but the pace keeps increasing until the grand finale that is quite stunning, and bloody.

There aren't many lead characters, but they are generally well fleshed out. The great priestess is in particular very good and creepy. The main criticism for the film is that the story remains quite obscure until the end, and when you think you got it, the last scene puts everything back into question. People who feel like that generally take the film too linearly and have not keyed into its dreamy nature. A lot of things are left without answers, but the main driving force of the film, that of the revenge of that wronged little girl, it very straightforward.

All in all, the story is much less obscure than most people would have you believe, and if you are OK with films that don't feel they have to explain everything to you, or even feel they don't need to make sense 100% of the time, then you will enjoy this gorgeous and bloody ride.

- Laurent Hasson