Grabbing one from Column A and another from Column B of horror film clichés, "Silent Hill's" extremely simple set-up has Rose running around the place trying to find her daughter, who's vanished, and bumping up against ghosts, shapeshifters, giant cockroaches -- you name it -- before heading off to confront another demon or two. Just like a video game, "Silent Hill" is one set piece after another, but movies require a little something called a story to maintain interest, and what little exposition there is here makes no sense and is further burdened by some of the lamest dialogue and acting this side of a reality TV show. It's not the talented Mitchell's fault -- even the finest actress couldn't possibly rise above this material -- but others, in particular Alice Krige ("Star Trek: First Contact") as the town's high priestess, really embarrass themselves. Add some substandard special effects and deliberately grainy film footage -- French director Christophe Gans ("Brotherhood of the Wolf") fancies himself quite the artiste -- and you get the greatest horror of all: an unwatchably bad film. Starring Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean and Jodelle Ferland. Directed by Christophe Gans. Written by Roger Avary. Produced by Don Carmody and Samuel Hadida. A Tristar release. Horror. Rated R for strong horror violence and gore, disturbing images, and some language. Running time: 130 min
Absolutely atrocious, "Silent Hill" is probably the worst movie ever to be based on a video game. Those types of adaptations are almost always bad -- video games, for the most part, are not known for deep meaning -- but "Silent Hill" sinks to new lows of stupidity and amateurishness. The plot, using the term very loosely, concerns Rose Da Silva ("Pitch Black's" Radha Mitchell), who is deeply concerned about her gravely ill adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). Prone to sleepwalking, the youngster keeps muttering the words Silent Hill, which upon investigation turns out to be the name of a West Virginia ghost town that has been deserted ever since a devastating fire in 1974. Supposedly, coal fires are still burning beneath its surface, but when Rose, who has snatched Sharon and left husband Christopher (Sean Bean) behind, sets out for Silent Hill, she soon discovers that there are a lot of mysterious things going on in the town.