Worth A Look: 23.86%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap: 7.39%
11 reviews, 110 user ratings
by U.J. Lessing
“Silent Hill” is the strangest mixture of beauty, stupidity and stomach-churning grossness I have ever encountered. Think the Cirque du Soleil performed by the cast from “Saved By the Bell” knee deep in diarrhea. It may be engrossing and even embarrassingly fun, but it’s also just a big disgusting mess.Let’s start with the beauty. The movie is beautifully filmed and paced by French director Cristophe Gans. He marvelously realizes the ghost town of Silent Hill, West Virginia. The town exists outside of our world. The thick unreal fog, burning ash (from a perpetual coal fire), the abandoned buildings, decaying wood, and isolation are all fun. When characters explore the nooks and details, the movie is good to go.
"“Plan 9 from Silent Hill”"
Equally well-realized are the town’s transformations. Every half hour or so, a blaring air raid siren marks the coming of the darkness. Demons literally come creeping out of the woodwork, twitching and moaning like extras in a Marilyn Manson video. These novel moments cut through the film’s incompetence, and the atmosphere becomes enthralling.
But then the characters speak and it all goes to hell.
Sharon is a little girl with a problem. She has this annoying tendency to sleepwalk to very dangerous locations, requiring that her parents rescue her while wearing only skimpy underwear. After each episode Sharon cries out the words, “Silent... Hill.”
Her mother, Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) makes the mistake of driving Sharon to the ghost town in an attempt to cure her sleepwalking sickness against the wishes of the little girl’s psychiatrists (who wants her committed) and her husband Boromir son of Denathor. (Sean Bean)
After evading Dahlia (Laurie Holden), the most attractive motorcycle cop on the planet, she crashes her car and wakes to find herself trapped in the otherworldly town sans her daughter who has apparently fled the car. Fortunately, the cop has also materialized in this world and is willing to help out.
Meanwhile Boromir son of Denathor hunts for the secrets of Silent Hill and unremarkably his storyline breaks down faster than a 1972 Chevy Mega on I-65.
“Silent Hill” contains some of the worst scriptwriting in years.
We’re talking Ed Wood bad. Whenever author Roger Avary runs out of ideas for dialogue, he simply has a character cry out something like, “Sharon! Where are you?” Whenever something horrible and disgusting happens, one of the two women turn to each other and says brainless things like, “Everything is going to be alright.”
Midway through the movie, weird witch-burning humans show up and quickly become demon food. To say that most of the motifs and grizzly deaths are borrowed heavily from Clive Barker is an understatement.
However, gore fans will be delighted. If you enjoy watching a demon skin a woman with one yank or long to see yokels eaten by cockroaches with human heads, you’ll be tickled pink by this movie. You might even achieve some form of unholy bliss watching a woman’s face catch fire and melt.
Certainly, barbwire salesmen will also enjoy watching their wares put to many useful, sadistic, and unique practices.
There is a curse that affects French fantasy/horror directors. It seems that whenever they enter this country, they end up helming the worst written films imaginable.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the visual genius behind “Delicatessen” and “City of Lost Children” traveled to our fair shores and helmed “Alien 4: The Franchise Killer.” Pitof, the Frenchman with no last name who created the detective supernatural thriller, “Vidocq” woke up hung-over one morning and, to his horror, learned not only that he was in America but that he had also directed “Catwoman.”
But “Silent Hill” is the worst of the bunch and it’s helmed by Christophe Gans. Gans previously directed “The Brotherhood of the Wolf,” a film that successfully blended horror, action, historical drama and superhero genres. (The poster for that amazing film hangs on my wall, by the way.)“Silent Hill” is evidence that if another really interesting director pops up in the land of baguettes and the 35 hour work week, we need to pull their passports for their own good.
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originally posted: 04/22/06 06:55:40