"Demonic Bloody Mess"
What You Need To Know:
SILENT HILL has a few interesting, sometimes amazing effects. The second half, however, collapses into an incoherent, bloody, demonic mess with a silly occult ending that cheats the audience. Protestant Christians who oppose witchcraft and take the Bible seriously are seen as ruthless, angry, bloodthirsty fanatics. Also, the heroine makes a pact with a demon that's helping an accused witch exact gruesome revenge on the evil Christian witch hunters.
(OOO, CC, AbAbAb, FRFRFR, LLL, VVV, S, N, MMM) Ultimately very strong occult worldview (with ghosts) revealed in the second half of the movie, where indications of Christian belief (including Bible quotations and a scene where God seems to answer heroine’s Christian prayers for deliverance from evil) revert into a strong, somewhat subtextual attack on Christians who oppose witchcraft (turning Christians who oppose witchcraft and who talk about faith into sado-masochistic villains) and where the heroine makes a pact with a demon who destroys the evil Christians by ripping their bodies apart, plus a confusing, ultimately false theological view of the afterlife; 19 obscenities (including a few “f” words), three strong profanities and nine light profanities; extreme bloody, gory and scary violence, especially in the second half, includes chains of barbed wire operated supernaturally by demonic forces grab and pierce people and rip their bodies apart, policewoman shoots walking corpse that sprays hot ash, policewoman shoots other walking corpses point blank, mummified nurse zombies slash one another’s throats and heads with scalpels, large bugs squashed, woman stabbed in chest with knife, woman spouts blood after being stabbed, demonic child’s body appears to possess woman’s body, people burned alive, woman almost falls into chasm, etc.; no sex scenes per se but one or two instances of sadomasochistic violence with a sexual connotation; upper male nudity and some walking corpses appear to be nude; no alcohol; no smoking; and, revenge, heroine makes a pact with revenge-minded character and the demon that helps her, Protestant Christians who oppose witchcraft and take the Bible seriously are seen as ruthless fanatics who just want to murder people who may be falsely accused of being witches but Catholic nun at orphanage is benevolent, woman acts behind husband’s back, Christian woman talking about faith and movie states that fighting evil with evil is bad but then it seems to endorse the idea of fighting evil with evil.
Even horror movie fans should be upset by the second half of SILENT HILL. In the second half, the movie turns into an incoherent bloody mess with a silly ending that cheats the audience. Also in the second half, the movie’s worldview becomes demonic, and the story devolves into a simple-minded revenge tale. Even the sympathetic heroine becomes complicit in the revenge story.
The story in SILENT HILL is about Rose, the mother of an adopted daughter, Sharon. Sharon is having dangerous nightmares about a coal-mining town named Silent Hill. A runaway coal fire has turned the town into an ash-ridden ghost town.
Behind Chris, her husband’s, back, Rose drives Sharon to Silent Hill. Suddenly, a small figure causes Rose to lose control of her SUV and knock herself out on the steering wheel. When Rose wakes, Sharon is gone.
Rose walks into the empty, ghostly town, where she starts catching glimpses of a child looking like Sharon. With help from a female motorcycle cop who arrives on the scene, Rose follows the clues leading to Sharon. Along the way, they have to battle demonic-looking human creatures that suddenly appear when a siren sounds in the town and everything turns pitch black. Eventually, they run into a group of demented Christians led by a fanatical female witch hunter. The witch hunters turn nasty.
Though shot well with plenty of interesting and sometimes amazing special effects, the story of SILENT HILL quickly goes downhill in the second half. Not only is the ending incoherent and gratuitously gory, it is also demonic. [spoiler warning] The heroine eventually makes a pact with a demon to get her child back. Another female character works with the demon to enact bloody, sadomasochistic, gruesome revenge on the fanatical Christians who tried to burn her at the stake as a witch. After this horrific climax, the movie’s last scene cheats the audience out of any positive resolution of the heroine’s conflict with her caring husband.
SILENT HILL also has some unintentionally funny moments. An encounter with some mummified, scary looking and funny walking nurses looks like the zombie dance in Michael Jackson’s THRILLER video. All it needs is the music, and Vincent Price’s spooky, Shakespearean voice.
Finally, SILENT HILL contains bursts of strong foul language.
SILENT HILL is one of those Japanese-influenced ghost stories. Like most of these stories, the theology is rooted in Japanese paganism and Buddhism. The theology is also confusing and murky. A major problem with SILENT HILL is that it brings a distorted, ignorant view of Christianity and the Bible into this mix. A more responsible filmmaker with a better understanding of Christian theology would not make the kind of stupid, demonic mistakes the filmmakers of SILENT HILL make.
SILENT HILL is the 12th time this year that a major Hollywood studio has decided not to screen a movie in advance for critics, including MOVIEGUIDE(r). Last year, there were only about two such movies by this time. The studios are clearly running scared after the last two years of disappointing box office receipts. The problem is, most of these movies attract many teenagers, and even younger children. Don’t let Hollywood corrupt your children and your neighbor’s children with this cheap, tawdry marketing ploy.