Silent Hill: Actually Pretty Loud
Point of shame, it’s a movie based off a video game, and I have not played the video game. On the bright side, that means I have a neutral perspective on the movie, and can provide to you all the unbiased truths that a fan or dissident of the games could not. So, with that out of the way, let’s dissect the ashy corpse of Silent Hill! Yeah!
This particular movie has what I like to call a view threshold. Depending on how many times you’ve seen the movie, it can have one or many of several impacts. Silent Hill specifically has three thresholds. Creepy (I don’t care how jaded you are, those babies are scary shit, man), badass (Pyramid goddamned Head), and preachy. On average… I’d say the first two views are creepy, the next three are badass, and from then on out it becomes annoyingly preachy. I’ll give a little plot rundown so you can better understand me.
Rose is the blondie of the movie. She’s not a dimbulb, thank god, and she even manages to pull off a moment of utter badass. Her adopted daughter, Sharon, has strange dreams about a place called Silent Hill. This is a ghost town with a history stained by death from a disastrous fire. A car accident on the way there knocks the both of them out, and when consciousness returns, Rose finds herself alone. A police officer who had been tailing her wound up in the ashy realm with her, so they both of them are stuck finding the way out. The bad news is, every once so often, an alarm goes off that seems to plunge Silent Hill into a nightmare.
I know this is all very abridged, but for the sake of my view threshold explanation and my issue with the movie’s preaching, here we go. Alessa is the darker side of Sharon, and a long time ago, Alessa was burned as a witch by a fanatical religious group based in Silent Hill. She survived, and her hatred allowed her to thrive, consuming her, the fanatics, and the whole of Silent Hill, burying it deeply within a place disconnected from the real world. Through faith, the fanatics kept the church a safe place from Alessa’s anger. But, as the viewer will see, things don’t go so well.
So, with that under your belt, I’ll explain the three thresholds. Threshold number one: creepy. First time in nightmare mode, things get really freaky. I actually quite like the visual effects implemented in this movie. Very good at evoking certain eerie emotions with very dark and complex visual aspects. However, as the nature of repetition goes, the scares lose their thrill twice in.
Second threshold, badassery. This is all on Pyramid Head and Rose’s exposition to the fanatics about the deluded depth of their devotion. Say that last part ten times fast? If and when you stop being creeped out by the ghostly pale nurse mannequins, the fist-sized beetles, and of course the wretched burnt up tweaked out babies, it all starts to look pretty awesome.
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for since the beginning: The preachy part. Silent Hill’s got some serious anti-religious sentiment in there, I can tell you that much. Of course, to remain speculatively allegorical, the religious fanatics are made out to be excessive in all ways. Brainwashed, bloodthirsty, and without reason nor mercy. Rose plays the iconoclast that would save them from their delusion, and she does this by killing them all horribly. Alessa rode into the church through Rose’s body and exacted revenge on all the cultists by murdering them with barbed wire. Yeah, that’s all fine, but what bothers me the most is all the goddamned talking. They talk, talk, talk and talk. Preaching, shouting, so on, so forth. You can’t un-notice it. Good news is, it takes a few views to start noticing. Or, you’ll start seeing it right off the bat because of this review.
That’s that! As I said, the movie’s really shock and show. Not a lot to it. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, by any means. So go out, get it, watch it, and remember the number one rule: lights off. Enjoy.