- Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva
- Sean Bean as Christopher Da Silva
- Laurie Holden as Cybil Bennett
- Jodelle Ferland as Sharon Da Silva
- Deborah Kara Unger as Dahlia Gillespie
- Kim Coates as Officer Thomas Gucci
- Tanya Allen as Anna
- Alice Krige as Christabella
For all its creepy visuals, well-designed sets and competent direction, Silent Hill falls surprisingly flat of the potential it could have reached. What could have been a truly terrifying and riveting adaptation of the video game is let down by a weak script and slow pace.
Rose Da Silva is concerned for the safety and health of her adopted daughter Sharon. For a long time, the young girl has experienced nightmares while sleepwalking, ending in her shouting the name of a town “Silent Hill”. While Rose’s husband Christopher wants to have the girl tested for psychological help, Rose doesn’t agree with this and takes drastic action. Taking Sharon with her after researching the town, she drives towards it in a quest for answers and truth. But on the way to it, Rose gets in a car accident and is knocked unconscious. When she wakes up, Sharon has disappeared. Rose then enters Silent Hill, which is covered in falling ash from a fire of long ago that devastated the town. Assisting her is cop Cybil Bennett, who witnessed Rose’s desperate attempts to reach the town. But as Rose ventures deeper into the town, the sinister past begins to emerge and the hellish depths of the place, which included religious fanaticism and witchcraft burning begin to engulf her. Meanwhile, Christopher frantically searches for his wife and daughter, and comes across the town only to find it to be an abandoned ghost town.
I must say that if Silent Hill was purely based on its style and overall visuals, I would declare it to be a masterwork. Christophe Gans confidently directs the film with panache, ratcheting up the creepy factor at every opportunity. And the fantastic sets of gloomy buildings that populate the eponymous town, filled with mutilated beings and bowels of hell are stomach churning at the very least. But as I’m judging the whole film, I really can’t step away from the flaws that riddle the film. I just feel that the technical aspects that at least make Silent Hill watchable can not save it from being a failure. The main issues I have with Silent Hill are the script, running time and the fact that it throws so many ideas at you without thinking about it. The script at times just feels lazily done, which results in some really bad dialogue. This also has a bad effect on the ideas it throws at you. Many of them have potential, but are not given enough meat on their bones to fully register. I also feel that if the running time had been toned down and given an injection of pace, I would have enjoyed it more. At least there is an unusual score to back up some of the suspense of the horror that occurs along the way.
At least, despite her character being sketchily written, Radha Mitchell shines in the role of Rose. She imbues her with a terrified core that is not going to be shaken as she goes head first into the pits of hell to retrieve her child. It may be something of a thankless role, but at least Radha Mitchell gives it something else. The same can be said of both Sean Bean and Laurie Holden, whose roles are not drawn well enough but they somehow manage to give that little bit extra to them. Holden especially gives her part her all and works well alongside Mitchell. Thank goodness we have these two actresses doing their level best when being given such poorly written and misguided material. Jodelle Ferland as the little girl whose dreams start the whole story is seen too infrequently during the film to really be memorable. Deborah Kara Unger, wrapped in grey sheets and scraggy hair, adds to the strangeness of the piece while Kim Coates is very bland as an officer who knows the history of Silent Hill. In small roles, Tanya Allen as a disturbed fanatic who babbles like a child and Alice Krige as the cult leader, add dashes of menace and malice to proceedings. Krige, although her role is small, makes the most of it and steals all the scenes in which she is present.
So to summarise, Silent Hill may be appropriately unusual and well designed, but is lacking in other departments which drags it down in estimations.