While this latest video game adaptation will most likely thrill its legions of fans with its graphic demonic depictions, the overblown plot deters the film from being a true fright fest.
Shhh. If you make too much noise, you might wake up the freakishly satanic beings inhabiting the creepy, ash-filled town of Silent Hill. And you don"t want to do that. That"s what Rose (Radha Mitchell) finds out anyway, when she ends up there, searching for her missing daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). Seems Sharon is somehow intricately connected to this town, which has a rather nasty history and has attracted all manner of nightmarish creatures. And poor Rose has to fight them all to get to her daughter. Also thrown in for good measure is the subplot about religiously fanatic witch-hunters, who are secretly the cause of all Silent Hill"s mayhem. So to speak.
Mitchell (Melinda and Melinda) does a fine job as our hapless heroine, spurred on by a motherly determination to find her child. She"s thrown around, outmaneuvers monsters left and right, gets bathed in other people"s blood--and her hair still manages to look good. That takes talent. As her wayward daughter, Ferland (TV"s Kingdom Hospital) is yet another young actress who has fallen into that "creepy little girl" syndrome. You know what I mean--the wide-eyes, pale complexion, long, stringy hair--and she draws dark, sinister pictures, too. A total prerequisite. How do these kids sleep at night? There are others in the film, but they do little in ways of contributing, save for Laurie Holden as a doomed motorcycle cop who somehow gets mixed in Rose"s hellish adventure and Alice Krige as the leader of the fanatical witch-burning wackos.
Really, I have only one question: how do those video game creators come up with this stuff? Kudos go out to director Christophe Gans, though, for capturing Silent Hill"s spirit. You can see the game being played in front of you. Level one: Rose goes into the deserted town and thwarts dwarfish demons with no faces. Level two: she goes to the school and fights a monster with a triangle for a head, a big-ass knife and bugs at his feet. And so on. By level five, in which Rose confronts the main demon in the bombed-out hospital, you"re spent and ready to put down the game controller to watch Late Night with Conan O"Brien. It"s the rest of the filler which bogs Silent Hill down. Of course, there has to be some semblance of a plot--just finding the kid and getting the hell out of Dodge would have been enough. Instead, the film veers off into the totally ridiculous and then drags on for another 30 minutes.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 stars.