Have you ever watched someone else play a video game? That’s what it’s like watching Silent Hill. It’s not painful, and anybody who plays the game would probably enjoy it, but most of the time there’s something better you could be doing.
The movie begins with Rose and Chris DaSilva (Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean), an otherwise happy couple troubled by their adopted daughter Sharon’s night terrors. They have tried all the usual forms of treatment, but nothing seems to work. Against her husband’s will, Rose takes Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) to a place she has often mentioned during her nightmares, in hopes of putting the whole thing to rest. No such luck. Silent Hill, West Virginia turns out to be a ghost town, officially abandoned but in fact inhabited by a cast of creepy creatures and a cult of witch-hunters. After a car accident separates Rose from her daughter, a series of clues lead her through the town and to a terrifying conclusion.
In theory. But, like a lot of movies based on video games, Silent Hill lacks the character and plot development necessary to create any real fear or suspense; instead it assaults its viewers with violence and gore. Not that there’s anything wrong with violence and gore—they just don’t stand on their own.
Fans of the video game will appreciate the movie’s loyalty: The depiction of the town and some of the creatures, as well as a lot of the music, is exactly the same. If you can set aside the cheesy dialogue and uninspiring plot development and think of this as a guided tour through a really disgusting funhouse (and if that sounds like something you’d enjoy) then you just might like it. Otherwise, save your B100 and put it toward the game.