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Overall Rating
3.27

Awesome: 20.45%
Worth A Look: 24.43%
Average: 23.3%
Pretty Bad25%
Total Crap: 6.82%

11 reviews, 110 user ratings


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Silent Hill
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by Peter Sobczynski

"It could be this month's 'Ultraviolet'"
4 stars

By any rational critical standard, “Silent Hill” is one of the silliest and most incoherent films ever made by presumably human hands–two solid hours of actors in strange costumes speaking ridiculous dialogue in the service of a screenplay so incoherent that it sounds as if it was translated from English to French to Polish and back to English by people without a firm working grasp of any of those languages. And yet, as faithful readers have come to learn, I am not the most rational of critics and I have a soft spot in my heart (and possibly the head) for such goofball films, provided that they are made with loads of energy, visual style and a heedless, go-for-broke attitude that races right up to the line of decorum, sanity and good taste and then cheerfully plunges past it at 90 m.p.h. Luckily, “Silent Hill” is the kind of screwy epic that has those particular qualities in abundance and the result is perhaps the most perversely entertaining bad movie I’ve seen since “Constantine.”

Based on a videogame that remains unplayed by me, the film stars Radha Mitchell as Rose , the adoptive mother of Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), a young girl plagued with sleepwalking nightmares about Silent Hill, a mysterious West Virginia burg that became a ghost town as the result of an underground coal mine fire three decades earlier. Leaving her husband (Sean Bean) behind, Rose packs Sharon in the minivan and drives off to Silent Hill in an effort to get to the bottom of what is causing Sharon’s nightmares. After being spooked by a strange apparition, Rose crashes and is knocked unconscious and when she wakes up, Sharon has disappeared.<

Like most abandoned towns in West Virginia, it appears that Silent Hill is, if not right on the mouth of Hell, at least Hell-adjacent and Rose, now searching frantically for Sharon, is soon beset by an array of strange demonic apparitions that appear when darkness falls–they include jumbo-sized cockroaches, an triangle-headed beast who likes performing one-handed eviscerations and a group of creatures that can only be described as Edvard Munch’s “Scream” Babies. As she proceeds further in her pursuit, Rose eventually stumbles across a cult of apocalyptic religious fanatics led by a wacko (Alice Krige) whose two-part solution to every problem appears to consist of a.) branding the troublemaker as a heretic or witch and b.) burning them at the stake. Unfortunately for them, they burned the wrong little girl many years ago and this particular victim has made an especially unholy alliance in order to gain revenge and both Rose and Sharon are vital parts to pulling this off.<

As strange as the above may sound, I must confess that I am actually making Roger Avary’s screenplay sound far more lucid and coherent than it actually is. Although the film runs 127 minutes, it never bothers to sit down for a moment to explain to the viewers what in the hell is going on at any given point. Perhaps the story makes more sense to those who have played the game but if that is the case, Avary doesn’t even make a token effort to reach out to those who might have had better things to do (or who spent their time trying in vain to keep Lara Croft from impaling herself on jagged rocks.) By the time it actually gets around to explaining the sordid backstory, the explanation itself is so bewildering that anyone watching is likely to be more confused than they would have been if no such scene had been included.<

However, while the narrative is an ungodly mishmash of “The Devils,” “The Village” and the overrated J-horror exercise of your choice laced together with unintentionally hilarious dialogue (the funniest being the bit where someone looks at a dilapidated building and remarks “It looks there was a fire,” apparently having failed to notice that everything in town looks as if it has gone through a fire or twelve), the visual style of “Silent Hill” is so extraordinary that it is almost better for the film that the screenplay is so meaningless, lest it divert attention away from the eye-popping sights. Nearly every scene contains an image or two to marvel at that range from the quietly lyrical (a constant “snowfall” that turns out to be ashes) to the utterly grotesque (the most bizarre of which may be the gaggle of rubbery zombie nurses that are tricked into slashing each other to ribbons) that keep your eyes glued to the screen while your mind attempts to flee the scene.

The film was directed by Christophe Gans, a Frenchman best known for helming “Brotherhood of the Wolf”–a work that I guarantee is, without question, the finest kung-fu/werewolf/French Revolution epic that you will ever see. In that film, Gans demonstrated his gleeful love for audacious spectacle in a scene that saw Monica Bellucci’s naked breasts transmogrify before our eyes into a pair of snow-capped mountains–a bit that Russ Meyer himself would have applauded. That swing-for-the-fences attitude continues in full force here as he pulls off one jaw-dropping spectacle after another until you begin to wonder how in the hell he can possibly continue to top himself. Amazingly enough, he does just that in a demented, Grand Guignol finale that is so chock-full of purple prose, grotesque tortures, shocking twists, brutal vengeance and spraying blood that it feels like the endings of every single Hammer horror extravaganza jammed into a highlight reel that even Ken Russell might find excessive.

While I admire “Silent Hill” despite its flaws–it may be a mess but it is certainly never a boring one–I am fully aware that many of you out there will probably not respond to its cheerful excesses as I did. In fact, I would guess that about 95% of those of you still reading this are likely to regard it as one of the worst movies ever made. However, that other 5%, the 5% who, God bless them, revel at the sight of a film that revels in gleefully pushing the boundaries of sanity and good taste, are going to have a blast watching it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14326&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/21/06 18:06:17
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User Comments

10/07/11 Kevin Breece beautiful movie. probably the best game-to-movie adaptation i have seen. 5 stars
6/15/11 Allen Stays true to the franchise, right down to the "What the HELL just happened?" at the end. 5 stars
5/15/11 stephen nettles Awesome 5 stars
10/02/10 bored mom This film lacks the first two games' truly subtle, carefully thought-out sensibilities. 3 stars
8/20/09 Jo Not played the games but movie was good. Especially now i get the ending! roll on movie 2!! 4 stars
12/02/08 Jojo i thought it was bad ass, but i love the games 4 stars
11/28/08 Jon C. My Full Review (fix spaces) www0.epinions.com /review/mvie_mu-1156476/content_228082421380 4 stars
10/09/08 Andyyyy its ok as a movie, nothing to the game, the plot is %$#!ed up, explains nothin 3 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner Bloody Awesome!!! 5 stars
7/13/08 Pyrix An interesting horror piece, certainly better than most game-to-movie adaptations 4 stars
6/16/08 PAUL SHORTT NO THRILLS ON THIS HILL 1 stars
5/11/08 Ryan If you don't understand the ending use common sense, the haze outside her house, 4 stars
4/25/08 Karrie Millheim Scared me big time! Horror lovers are gonna love this one 5 stars
3/17/08 Tosh its quite good as an horror movie, more amusing than scary. loved the open end. 4 stars
9/17/07 Tyler Sciortino Slightly too restrained and underwritten, but appropriately hellish, freaky and rattling. 4 stars
4/17/07 shyguy Great casting of Dahlia and Cybil, but a REALLY stupid plot 2 stars
3/20/07 Anthony G Best video game to movie adaptation ever made, still not THAT great overall. 4 stars
3/09/07 cokehead wasn't scarry, just weird. what a piece of shit. 2 stars
3/09/07 johnnyfog I liked Cybil. But otherwise, pointless 2 stars
2/28/07 Beau Greatly made, superb performances but a dull plot and it got silly towards the end 3 stars
2/05/07 Mark Helling not great, but its so extremely well made u wont care. not very scary, but has its moments 4 stars
2/02/07 Abs Preety good movie.Music set the scary tone for the whole film,but last 20min was a letdown 4 stars
1/11/07 Jake This movie pretty much just didn't do anything but such 2 stars
1/10/07 del Roger Avary fucked this up BAD. 3 stars
10/24/06 Indrid Cold Good screen translation, but still the movie doesn't even approach the game's brilliance. 3 stars
10/24/06 AJ Muller mood and visuals make it work; operates on 'nightmare logic' and is quite effective at it 5 stars
10/22/06 nie nie it so reflect the game. better than resident evil. i love it (wit some exception) 4 stars
10/18/06 GC Watch it for the visuals..nothing more..and not scary...plot dumb/characters lame 3 stars
10/17/06 Marvin Schulte It's a punch in the face of every single fan of the games. 1 stars
10/17/06 John Best game to movie ever! But you should play the game before seeing the movie. it helps. 5 stars
10/10/06 Homuncolos U shouldnt judge a movie on if its scary, since who would get scared just from a movie? 5 stars
10/09/06 Jim If you play the games, you'll love it; if not, you'll be just as baffled as my wife was. 5 stars
10/06/06 Clive Was A Good Film But I Havent Played The Game...This May Be Why I was Confused At The Ending 4 stars
10/05/06 pete.chesworth great game but glad I did not pay to see the movie. 2 stars
10/01/06 Randy if you didnt understand the movie your an idiot. get some common sence and watch it again. 4 stars
9/30/06 Bob Smith T 4 stars
9/24/06 Nicole This movie was exellent , but I did'nt understand the ending. 4 stars
9/18/06 daveyt I enjoyed it, liked the ending, visuals were great. Not exactly a classic, but not that bad 4 stars
9/17/06 hector if you didnt PLAY THE GAME you wont UNDERSTAND IT so you wont like 5 stars
9/15/06 Sophie Beats most Hollywood horrors! 5 stars
9/13/06 Ian pickering Mint film but the cop is a dick 5 stars
9/11/06 Cindy Brown didn't make much sense, yet I couldn't stop watching it 3 stars
9/07/06 Albert not true to the game, and about one tenth as scary,save your money,buy the game`s. 1 stars
9/06/06 HGTV fanatic great scary monsters, ending sucked, is they dead or just in a different dimesnion? 4 stars
9/02/06 HILARY I wasn't impressed. i got bored. i was confused at the end. it didnt scare me. lol.. 3 stars
9/02/06 ES Boring, gets interesting, gets retarded and then leaves you wondering what the ending means 2 stars
8/29/06 Casper I liked it - creatures were creepy, town was well-conceived, Rahda made this film work 4 stars
8/28/06 cindy interesting movie 4 stars
8/27/06 dorena ware whew, glad it was over. 3 stars
8/26/06 wanda mahoney it was very good movie, i like the eneding 5 stars
8/25/06 Richard Jojola This movie was awesome 5 stars
8/25/06 purplerose decent if you have played the games! 4 stars
8/25/06 Charles bundy I thought the film was teriffic, non-staop horror! 5 stars
8/25/06 Phillip Akers Very Grat movie best transofor mation of a game into a movie and most of all the gore 5 stars
8/24/06 LP The movie is suck but I even sucker wasting $4.90 at a local video store 1 stars
8/24/06 matt twisted, grotesque and sick as fuck 5 stars
8/23/06 Stephanie I DONT GET THE ENDING .. IM COMFUSED-- I THOUGHT IT WAS PRETTY WORTHLESS 1 stars
8/17/06 Ian K. The best game-movie adaption known with brill visuals and sounds to draw you in 5 stars
8/02/06 dan a strange but rather good film 4 stars
7/28/06 Daniel This is one of the best movies I have seen in months. Play the game if you wanna enjoy it! 5 stars
6/29/06 Gretchen Seitz Starts off promisingly, but turns into psychobabble. 1 stars
6/24/06 Elix ONLY and ONLY for anyone who have played Silent hill 1,2 or 3 4 stars
6/12/06 Mike First movie I've EVER walked out on! So ridiculous and STUPID. TOTAL WASTE OF TIME!!! 1 stars
6/04/06 Huismijt Nice little movie! Go see it if you're a fan of the series. Don't take it so seriously!! 3 stars
5/29/06 Anthony G As a video game to movie adaptation it was great! As a normal movie? Not so much... 5 stars
5/20/06 rosebud cybill is the new lesbian icon 5 stars
5/18/06 Alfred Guy Good creatures, but uneven as a whole. 3 stars
5/16/06 Ashley I loved the movie, I just didn't like the end. It left too much open ended. 4 stars
5/15/06 allie most horrible movie i've seen since blair witch project! 1 stars
5/10/06 San Lamar go see it! 5 stars
5/09/06 DANNY I THOUGHT IT WAS PRETTY GOOD AS FAR AS THE SPL EFFECTS WENT, CREEPY & WEIRD BUT NOT SCARY 4 stars
5/09/06 Tranquil Made for fans of the series, good visuals and recreation of some aspects. 4 stars
5/09/06 ryan good movie tells how the girl and wife got to be lost there and the before to when the husf 5 stars
5/07/06 Charlene Javier A bummer for fans of the game... 2 stars
5/06/06 Chris Buchanan Fan of the games. Fan of the movie. It's not your typical game-based movie: It doesn't suck 5 stars
5/05/06 matthew flynn a little too ove explained in some areas and under in others 4 stars
5/04/06 mandisa robinson the movie was good 4 stars
5/03/06 David I've seen scarier things at a five year old's birthday party, what a waste of two hours.... 1 stars
5/02/06 Mase Like watchign someone else play a barely comprhensible video game. Avoid!! 1 stars
5/02/06 Brandi Robertson The movie is hard to follow, drawn out, weird, and too long. 3 stars
5/02/06 chris f very tense and scary movie exellent!!! 5 stars
5/01/06 Patrick B Hey Im from W. Va and we have very few towns that look like "close to hell" 3 stars
5/01/06 Josh Standlee Scary as Hell! I won't be able to sleep right for at least a week! 5 stars
4/29/06 Sergey Konyshev I was so lost at the end, please explain how the wife and husband are in different worlds? 2 stars
4/29/06 Laz Moreland Scary and awesome! 5 stars
4/28/06 jimmy saville the longest, most boring film ever. Id ask for a refund if I could 1 stars
4/28/06 Jen Wilson Not good- would never reccomend this movie to anyone 1 stars
4/27/06 Farron Watson Some of the most disturbing imagery I've ever seen. Agony as a visual art form. 4 stars
4/26/06 Jon A laudable addition to the Silent Hill name, but not without flaws. They should make SH2! 4 stars
4/26/06 Vikki Tries too hard, but appropriately frightening! 4 stars
4/25/06 Troy G Changed cult from the game from summoner of deamon to opposition of the deamon. 4 stars
4/25/06 Anthony G They did pyramid head very well, created a great vibe, ending was lacking. 4 stars
4/25/06 elliot comparing this stylish film to plan 9 proves some of the critics here are idiots. 5 stars
4/25/06 victoria schall answer a question on Silent Hill 3 stars
4/25/06 Josh Haberman A Silent Hill Fan must see! 4 stars
4/24/06 BrianWilly Scary and gory fun. 5 stars
4/24/06 :) FINALLY!..A game movie that doesn't suck! 5 stars
4/23/06 Greyjack Cool visuals, but needed more Pyramid Head. 3 stars
4/23/06 MorallySound The movie makes sense if you dig through all the layers of ploy. Use your brain. 5 stars
4/23/06 matt Not quite what I was expecting, but pretty cool 4 stars
4/23/06 Adrian It's pretty. Really pretty. But mindless as well. 4 stars
4/22/06 The Talking Elbow Appreciated quite well as art. 5 stars
4/22/06 mike awesome 5 stars
4/22/06 Eevil Wolfie Visuals are nightmarish when they are there but the story seems to drag unnessisarily. 3 stars
4/22/06 bizenya it blew my fucking mind. 5 stars
4/22/06 Ole Man Bourbon It was pretty fun, but also kind of like a film version of a run-on sentence. 3 stars
4/22/06 Toilet Bowl Well-made, intelligent, scary - might not be for everyone 5 stars
4/22/06 ducka The best videogame adaptation ever 5 stars
4/22/06 KingNeutron I enjoyed it, even tho I never played the game. Genuinely scary in parts. 4 stars
4/22/06 Bunuel People confused by surrealism need not apply. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Apr-2006 (R)
  DVD: 22-Aug-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  31-Aug-2006



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  Christophe Gans

Written by
  Roger Avary

Cast
  Radha Mitchell
  Sean Bean
  Laurie Holden
  Deborah Kara Unger
  Kim Coates
  Tanya Allen



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