Aka – Centralia
Let me start off by saying that I’ve never played any of the Silent Hill games. I played Resident Evil 2 once, but I’m really more of a Tetris and NBA Jam (and Wii Bowling) man myself. I’d tried watching the movie when it came out on DVD, but I fell asleep due to exhaustion. Since the sequel’s coming out and it wasn’t the movies fault I was tired, I figured I’d give it another try.
The movie version (supposedly) contains elements of the first 4 games, though largely the first. Essentially a couples adopted daughter keeps having visions of a place called (try to guess) Silent Hill, and the mother vows to find it and take her there to figure out what’s going on. Once she locates it, all hell (literally) breaks loose. Funny stuff !
The cast is interesting. Radha Mitchell has kind of a Tea Leoni / Naomi Watts thing going on. Sean Bean plays the husband, desperately trying to hide his British accent. I recognized Tanya Allen from the great CBC show “The Newsroom” (not to be confused with the HBO show). I’d also enjoyed Laurie Holden in the underrated, Capra-esque “The Majestic”. Clearly Director Christophe Gans did too, as that film was the reason he cast her in this film. A few of the actors are a bit spotty, but on the whole it wasn’t a problem.
As you’ve probably heard by now, the film looks amazing. I was a big fan of Christophe Gans’ “Brotherhood of the Wolf”, and the visual flair he showed off in that gem is on full display here. This was his directorial follow up to that film, and he certainly creates a vivid and nightmarish reality for the town of Silent Hill (which was largely set in Brantford Ontario, birthplace of Wayne Gretzky. Neat !)
For the first hour or so I was really drawn into this movie. The mystery behind what happened in / to this town was very intriguing, even for someone who hasn’t played the games. The problem is, it completely falls apart in the last 45 minutes or so, collapsing under the weight of its own plot. I can overlook inconsistencies in a horror film, but not when they take me out of the film with their buffoonery.
This was one of those movies where one or two things irk you, then you spend 20 minutes thinking about all the ridiculous plotholes after the movie is over. For example, there is a detective in the movie who used to live in Silent Hill with his father 30 years prior. He shows the husband that he has severely burned hands, presumably from a fire. Eventually we are shown a video of what happened to the town 30 years prior, but the detective is in the video getting burned, looking exactly the same age ! At first I assumed it was his father, but showing the burn marks made it clear that it was the same person. Then I assumed they would imply that the residents of the town don’t age (or something). No such luck. And that was just ONE inconsistency. Just saying.
When all is said and done, I’m still interested in seeing the follow up to this movie. I loved the atmosphere, didn’t hate the cast and could definitely see a good film coming out of this story. Unfortunately, this isn’t it. Whether the problem was a language barrier between 2 French directors writing the screenplay and working with English actors, who knows. I certainly see the appeal, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the inconsistencies. So close, and yet so far.