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Movie Review

Silent Hill

MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence and gore, disturbing images, and some language

Reviewed by: Derek Hill
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action, Horror, Thriller, Adaptation from a video game
Length:
1 hr. 59 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
April 21, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Copyright, TriStar Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, TriStar Pictures

Demon

Satan

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Featuring: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Deborah Unger, Laurie Holden, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Jodelle Ferland
Director: Christophe Gans
Producer: Samuel Hadida, Don Carmody, Victor Hadida
Distributor: TriStar Pictures

“We’ve been expecting you.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A woman desperate to save her dying child finds herself trapped in an alternate reality as she searches for her daughter in a dangerous world of demons. Rose cannot accept the knowledge that her daughter Sharon is dying of a fatal disease. Over the protests of her husband, she flees with her child, intending to take the girl to a faith healer. On the way, she ends up driving through a portal in reality, which takes her to the eerie and deserted town of Silent Hill.

Sharon disappears in Silent Hill, and Rose follows what she thinks is her daughters silhouette all over town. Its soon clear the town is not like any place she’s ever been. Its inhabited by a variety of creatures and a living darkness that descends and literally transforms everything it touches. The human inhabitants—the ones who are left—are trapped and fighting a losing battle against the Darkness. Joined by a cop named Cybil, who has been sent to bring her and Sharon back, Rose searches for her little girl while learning the history of Silent Hill and that Sharon is just a pawn in a larger game. To save her daughter, Sharon makes a deal with a demon.”

Sequel to this movie: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012)

Although I have not played the game on which this film is based (nor would I care to), I have to say that “as a film” it works from an artistic standpoint, but falls slightly flat in storyline, oddly enough making it a little hard to follow.

The plot starts out with a run of the mill “my child is missing” storyline (e.g., “The Forgotten”, “Flightplan”) that slowly turns into a hunt by both mom and dad to find their adopted daughter, who at this point seems to be of more importance than just her parents.

The abandoned town of Silent Hill into which this young girl has been drawn is inhabited by a sacrificial cult, a strange array of demons—that look as if they belong in a modern art expo—and the so-called Reaper (who I took to be the Devil). All of which are connected to the child in some odd fashion.

From a moral standpoint the film exceeds limits in violence. Let’s just say, a great misuse of razor wire in multiple scenes. And also a scene in which a woman’s entire skin is ripped completely off her body. Sex and nudity is slim-to-none. Curse words are moderate, although I think the Lord’s name is taken in vain a couple of times.

On an emotional and spiritual level, the film is rather disturbing, especially at the climax of the picture. This is not a film, in any way shape or form, for a child under the age of 17. Although the film leans toward excessive violence, it is not a gross-out gore (e.g., “Hostel”) but tends to be more artful, if you will, which in some cases makes the movie harder to watch—almost as if it were a living nightmare.

The message that I got out of the film is that evil only brings about more evil. And in times of anger and frustration we should turn to God rather than the Devil’s ways of revenge and hate.

The bottom-line is this film is not for anyone who wishes to remain sane. The only people who may enjoy it are hard-core horror fans of such films as “The Cell” and “Event Horizon”… or I guess (though I do not know for sure)… the video game.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—…if you have never played any “Silent Hill” games (mainly 1 and 2) then this movie will probably make no sense at all! As a video gamer and someone who has played the games, I must say for the most part I was very well pleased… except for the ending… blah! I really don’t think anyone could enjoy it, at least not story wise… unless they know the game series. From an artistic viewpoint, it was very well done, and as a gamer there were tons of visual treats everywhere! Its gory, has a few swear words and definitely does not follow biblical principles (join evil to rid evil?), but hey, it’s Hollywood, do you really expect it to?
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Brian Montgomery, age 29
Positive—I’ve been a huge fan of the “Silent Hill” game series since they first came out. I have to say that they didn’t deviate too far from the games (which is a good thing). I also love the “Resident Evil” game series, but what “Silent Hill” adds, or rather “Resident Evil” lacks, is a spiritual dimension. “Silent Hill” addresses the concept that evil is a very real thing, with very real consequences. Unless you’ve played the games, much of the film probably won’t make much sense. Overall, I thought the film was fantastic! There were scenes of violence and disturbing images, but it’s important to remember that this is a horror film. I felt that as a horror film, it was actually done tastefully (not over the top like most horror films). It also had a powerful message about not fighting evil with evil, because in doing so, you can become evil yourself. There were also elements of sacrifice (selflessness) and love.

I can’t review much more without giving away some vital elements, and I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that the ending was awesome! Unlike most horror films, the ending wasn’t necessarily a happy one which really added to the film’s theme and quality. The weaknesses of the film were:
  1. The film may be a little hard to understand unless you’ve played the games; although the director did seem to do a fairly decent job in translating it to non-gamers (but play the games if you want to understand everything)
  2. Some of the scenes that were done with CGI probably needed a little more work (although most scenes done with CGI were done very well).
This is certainly not a film for those who are faint of heart, and certainly not for anyone under 17. This film is both frightening and disturbing. For those of us who enjoy a good horror flick every now and again, this is the best one I’ve seen in a long time! I’d personally give it 4 out of 5 stars!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Mike, age 33
Positive—What an interesting film. I do appreciate this reviewer’s assessment, although the more I think about it, the more I disagree with my initial instinct that a person must have played the games in order to “enjoy” this film (How does one enjoy such a thing?). Although I still have memories of being fourteen, wide-awake and terrified at the original “Silent Hill”, and thus could put the film into context, the others I saw it with thought it good without having to request an explanation of the story arc of “Silent Hills” 1-3.

The notion that one must turn off one’s brain at the door to this film is, to me, a little silly. It seems that more cerebral films—“The Sixth Sense”, unfortunately, is not the pinnacle of intelligent suspense—are shunned as being confusing simply because they do not adhere to the norm. Average moviegoers aren’t forced to shut off their brains in such movies as “Silent Hill”; they shut off their brains no matter what they’re seeing, be it “Hostel” or “Capote”. This is how one gets comments that an intrinsically great film is “boring,” and so on. The reason that this film has not been rejected outright is that many have the dim perception that there is something going on beneath the surface, but, as I said, their brains are shut off, thus they are swept up in the visceral action and lose the message. This reviewer, however, picked up on it, although not in its entirety. In the coming weeks, I’ll be interested in reading the comments of others across the internet to see if both fanboys and skeptics begin to perceive the rich (and not entirely Biblically “unsound,” in the sense that it is not “preaching” a message contrary to that of Scripture), thought-provoking world of “Silent Hill”.

As far as the film goes, it’s gory, to be sure, but not incessantly. This is to Christophe Gans' credit, that he realizes the importance of creating a suspension of disbelief before hurling blood at his audience. The violence and gore in the film are punctuation, the dread leading up to them the sentences. I’ve said to several people that I can’t remember a recent film that has filled me with this much dread and not squandered it by being disgusting. Language is infrequent, and entirely believable (after nearly being skewered by Pyramid Head and fighting off demonic cockroaches, for example, Officer Cybil Bennett, panicked, quite profanely asks what is going on, as I imagine we all would), and nudity is almost non-existent, save for the infamous “skin-ripping” scene.

See it if you feel like a horror film that doesn’t simply jump from victim to victim, but if you’re convinced that video games are bunk and there isn’t a single thing that a film about demons and alternate planes of existence can offer, don’t waste your money.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Peter Jurmu, age 20
Positive—[comment from a non-Christian] I thought that this film was excellent, none of the characters were computer generated (so I’ve heard); I was really rooting for the demon side towards the end of the film and could totally understand why she was getting her revenge. It was nice to see the moral highgrounder Christians that pranced around shouting witch for the most ridiculous reasons getting some comeuppance! It was interesting how towards the end of the film your whole perspective had changed, you wanted the demon to win and the townsfolk to get what they deserved…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Matt Teft, age 22
Positive—Point one: As a fan of the Silent Hill video game series, I was impressed with the movie for keeping true to the purpose of the game’s intent. To quote a friend:
“there’s the fact that Silent Hill did what it set out to do. The original game was essentially meant to scare the living bejesus out of the player, and it mastered many different tricks in order to achieve that goal. That included taking things that aren’t meant to be scary and turning them into monsters—like children, fathers, wives, doctors and nurses. It also was not afraid of using revulsion and gore to do the trick. The same applies to the movie.”
That is the entire point. The movie is a horror movie, designed to scare you and make you stay up at night, wondering if such a terror may ever happen to you. Perhaps not on such a grand scale, but even so, you wonder.

There are some who say the movie takes the concept of pious christian faith and turns it into an angry, witch-hunting cult. Well, if I may be so bold as to say, there certainly was a point in history where people of Christian faith would burn women and men as witches, whether they be innocent or not. But that isn’t the point, here. Christobella and her followers were, if you take the game into context, not part of any actual denomination of Christian faith. In the game, they were Demon worshippers (the demon Samael, and originally, their leader was Dahlia Gillespie, Alessa’s mother.) and in the movie, fanatical witch-hunters. In some cases, the act of Witch hunting has escalated into a near-religious cult in obscure areas of the world, and that’s where the movie takes it’s context from. (to be honest, I saw the movie for times before I got all the little hints for that, the “witch ward” symbol and the few little clues strewn throughout the movie, etc.)

The movie certainly wasn’t a rip on Christian faith (in my opinion), but an obvious rip on people who take faith and skew the boundaries and context to fit their own selfish desires, Christobella’s wanting to be the most pious girl at the harvest ball, her follower’s blind faith in her obsessive hunting, and Again Christobella’s contempt for her sister and niece. She used her faith to her own advantage, which allowed a demon to catch hold of her and her followers.

Point two: The cinemagraphics for the entire movie was a veritable treat for someone like me (a visual effects/animation student) or for a fan of the game. There are hidden jokes and puns that the “Silent Hill Veterans” will notice, predominantly that the camera angles fro the entire movie matched those of the first and second game. Second was the fact that all of the monsters (minus the bugs) were played by real life actors/dancers. (I’d give my left foot to meet the guy who played the “Pyramid Head” monster.) Third, and forgive me for sounding like a complete geek, was the In-Game music. I had to kick my self to keep from jumping up and down like a wild heathen when the opening music played. Well, actually I kind of did, and then people threw popcorn at me.

Point three: The writing left a little to be desired, some of the dialogue contradicted itself in some places, didn’t fit in others, and was sometimes completely unnecessary. The acting was well done mostly (I couldn’t help a little giggle when the little “Demon” girl said “I am the reaper” in her cute little voice. It was just so absurd.) And even though bean was written in last moment (the original script had no men, which was initially rejected.) he did a good job playing his role as Worried husband, even if it was mostly him looking confused or worried.

Point four: Can you imagine showing this film to people fifteen years ago? Dramatic showings of graphic death, on screen, even a death-by-flaying, is just testament on how the ratings system has weakened over the years. I Was more than a little shocked at the graphic death scenes; I usually only se gore like that in Japanese horror films, and even then, it’s little more than hokey. This was just disturbing. I wouldn’t recommend, say, bringing your young children to see this. I really wouldn’t recommend seeing it at all if you have a weak stomach or psyche. You’ll lose sleep, and possibly, your lunch.

All in all, though, I enjoyed the film. For all it’s flaws, it has many strong points, is amusing, and keeps you awake at night. Just the recipe for a perfect horror movie. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Cassie S., age 19
Positive—I am a longtime scholar of motion pictures, and tend to prefer challenging, complex, and layered films over the mindless dreck the general public seems to lap up like automatons. This being the case, I haven’t been satisfied with the generally poor quality of horror movies released in the past decade +. I was hoping “Silent Hill” would be the “light in the darkness” of the genre, and was most assuredly not disappointed. This is a truly “art-house” style film. Director Christopher Gans has translated the brilliant look and feel of the interactive-art series this feature was based on as well as humanly possible. Every scene exudes a very specific emotional and visual quality that is difficult to describe to someone that has not experienced this work. The story is very well constructed, and I have to wonder why so many people seem to find it confusing. There are aspects of the film that are deliberately left open for personal interpretation, a very unorthodox route for a wide-release film to take, and this may be what is throwing off viewers that are far too accustomed to motion pictures that tie everything together in neat, comfortable little bows. To top the package off, this is the only horror movie I’ve found frightening for years. The atmosphere of apprehension, isolation, and slow-building dread is palpable.

As far as morality is concerned, I see very little a christian would take issue with. It is violent, but not gratuitously so, and most of the grisly effects are shown in shadow or off-screen. This is violence that leaves quite a bit for your mind to fill in, especially in the oft-referenced skin-rip scene. There is nothing that compares to, say, the anatomy lesson-type graphic gouging and shredding flesh in “The Passion.” As for the cultists, we are never told they are Christians, but I chose to believe they were. One individual on this page made the claim that 'a real Christian would never do such a thing!' Excuse me for bringing up history, but just look at the inquisition. Look at Salem and literally thousands of other incidents where people calling themselves “Christians” murdered people they believed were witches. Whether the victims of these burnings and stonings practiced witchcraft or not, murdering them was vile and evil, and their murderers performed these acts of vicious hatred in the name of God. Of course, you may argue that the fact that doing these things meant they no longer were Christian. If that is the case, than the cultists were not true Christians. I see no reason to lament their facing condemnation to hell as fitting punishment for their acts.

So long as you are a fully mature person over 17, and can take a good scare, see “Silent Hill”. You won’t be disappointed.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—J.R. Astalfa, age 20
Positive—This is one of the most artfully done video game adaptations ever. I really enjoyed it. The plot is extremely twisted—like the game—and reminded me of two films: David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” and “Jacob’s Ladder.” I’ve never played the game myself—I’m not a big gamer, but I’ve watched my friend play it a couple of times, and the film seems to capture the mood of the games very well. It will creep you out, especially if you are not familiar with the game. There is very little profanity, but it is heavy on occultic imagery and violence. Those sensitive to such material probably won’t enjoy it. You just have to remember that it’s only a movie. Anyways, consider this to be the first video game adaptation that I have ever recommended. …
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Adam Renkovish, age 24
Positive—I saw “Silent Hill” soon after it came out. I am an avid gamer and enjoy horror films on occasion. I must admit I am not a big fan of blood and gore, which is why I’m more attracted to the Silent Hill series of games, as it’s not as focused on killing things and that you can run from most confrontations. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The people who mentioned that playing the games beforehand will help in understanding the movie, and I agree with them, although my friends who I took with me who had never played the game enjoyed it and understood it, although they had me explain a few things. Also, I must say that whenever I watch something, I do it actively, meaning that I look for things and how they relate to the plot and if there are references to outside sources. Something else I enjoy doing is looking for possible allegories that can be used for Christian purposes.

The movie was very true to the game, plot wise, for a while, it diverted in a few points, like the cult and the ending. The other less important diversion is that the monsters were all from Silent Hill 2 with exception to the bugs, which are a recurring monster. There were also one character that was completely taken from SH2, but they managed to work her in pretty well. The cinematics of the film were great, the fog was very good and the use of the falling ash (as well as the explanation) were top notch. I enjoyed how there was not much blood and gore in the first half. I also enjoyed the scenery. I myself am an urban explorer which means I like to go into abandoned places for photography purposes and the town they filmed it in was right up my alley.

…As a Christian, when I saw the Scripture on signs and the giant, glowing cross at the beginning I was like “oh no… they’re going to rip on Christians,” and when they introduced Christobella and the cult I admit, I was offended, but as the movie went on I realized that it was not focusing on that, it was focusing on religious fanaticism and blatant persecution. Christians are called to be compassionate and loving to sinners and the cult in “Silent Hill” was nothing of the sort (but, you gotta love the allusion to “The Scarlet Letter” in one part of the movie… look for it, if you have read that book). Some of the other comments called the movie anti-christian for demonizing the pious cult. However, they, as other people have pointed out, that there have been times like the witch hunts, inquisition, and even the crusades where Christians persecuted people instead of lovingly showing them how they should be.

One of the things that really amazed me was that the previously mentioned scriptures that were displayed were actually fulfilled in a way! The cult used them to justify themselves but their measurement of judgment was used on themselves (watch for it!). There were a few scenes that after thinking about them were absolutely brilliant. Unfortunately, they are also key points in the plot so I cannot say them here, sorry.

For those who are turned off by gore, most of it is at the very end of the movie although there are some gory scenes mixed throughout (but most in the 2nd half). And I admit, I closed my eyes at one point, I couldn’t stand it. I bring this up, because I know there are some people turned off by gore, but would probably enjoy this movie and I know that by pointing out the main areas (which you cannot watch and not miss anything) they can be prepared and cover their eyes and still enjoy the film.

A few disappointing things in the movie are that they sorta just explained the entire situation in a five minute dialogue. Also, I wish there had been a bit more of a focus on finding clues to what was going on, as is in the game, than there was. Also the amount of gore in the end. An initial disappointment that was resolved on retrospect was the Christian appearance of the cult.

I did not agree with the main character joining up with the demon to solve the problem, that is the biggest Christian issue in this as one should not deal with demonic forces for any reason. And even though the reason does not justify the means, the main character’s´s selfless decision to risk her life for her daughter was very Christ like, because she loved her daughter enough to do anything to save her, just as God loved us enough to die to save us. But just as I said, in this case the reason does not justify the means.

In the end, I do not suggest this movie for those who are bothered by the portrayal of demonic forces or blood and gore. Also this is not appropriate for anyone under 17, I would advise parents to not let your children rent it or buy it for them as it is very frightening, especially if you have not played the game first. For those who know they can handle such portrayals, I recommend this, but don’t watch it passively or you will miss most of the movie, because it is not the type of movie that can just watch and get, it requires thought, just like the games do.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Ryan Morgan, age 20
Positive—I am a very devout christian and a big fan of the game, I’ll say this movie did not bother me spiritually one bit. I knew the religious fanatics were the bad guys from the moment the main Character came across Anna (the girl who had her skin ripped off, it was nasty), the way she acted and when the main character said her daughter’s name, Anna said 'We don’t say her name around here.' I’ll say that is an obvious characteristic of a brainwashed cultist. The cult seems to have been modeled after Puritanical witch burning Christianity, but that wasn’t a bother to me because that kind of thing really happened and it was bad.

There are a few things that really show that these fanatics are not Christians, which is the fact that not once did they ever say a prayer or even mention Jesus Christ as their savior! They do talk about god a lot, but certainly not the all loving God we Christians know, and god is a nondenominational term. Another thing that shows these fanatics aren’t Christians, is that when the main character tries to reason with the fanatics, Christabella(the religious leader) stabs her! Not only is the act of stabbing a very un-christian behavior, it is what she stabbed the main character with. An Athame, which is a knife that is used by people who practice witchcraft.

I never even got a message about Evil, or the Devil being the truth and justice. Specifically the ending, we saw Alessa destroy the cultists, using some crazy powers “The Reaper” gave her. While ultimately this is a very nasty scene, I was not offended or disturbed because it was not glorifying it in any way. It was what it was. The viewers should know that what happened is not truth or justice when Dahlia (Alessa’s mother) says to Alessa, “Alessa, what have you become?”

But there are only minor things that seemed to bother me. The occasional curse word and use of the Lord’s name in vain, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
My Ratings: Average / 4
—Kristopher, age 19
Neutral
Neutral—This movie was alright as far as horror films go, but it didn’t really show anything new. I keep on waiting for a good thriller like “The Sixth Sense”, but I fear that that day is gone. This movie brings nothing to the table except for good make-up and special effects. If you decide to spend your hard earned money, then check your brain at the door and prepare for a crazy and stupid thriller that you just might regret seeing later.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
—Matt, age 22
Neutral—I saw this movie with a few friends of mine, all of whom have actually played the “Silent Hill” games, and I have to say that if one hasn’t played or at least seen these games, there are a few things in this movie that will make little or no sense at all. The role of characters like Pyramid Head will shoot right past viewers unfamiliar with the game, or at least the genre. All in all, the movie itself was merely okay. The plot was predictable and slow at times, and the action was pretty typical. What impressed me the most was the quality of the sets and makeup in the film. While certainly not up to the standards set by movies like “The Lord of the Rings”, I thought the set design etc. was extraordinary for a video game adaptation film. I expected to see a lot of sub-par animation and two hours of blue screen shots, but that aspect of the movie actually impressed me. I definitely agree with the reviewer that this movie is not for younger viewers. While the levels of blood and gore were not atypical of this genre, they were high enough that it certainly deserved its rating. Overall, the movie presents an interesting perspective on the ideas of revenge and the role of the church in battling evil reminiscent of books like “The Crucible” and “The Scarlet Letter”, but they’re certainly not so unique that they would warrant a viewing of the film. If you’re not a fan of the game, and possibly even if you are, it’s probably not worth it.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Joshua, age 20
Neutral[comment from an agnostic] The bottom line for most people when deciding whether to see “Silent Hill” is that the gore is not only pervasive, it is aberrant, disturbing, and it lingers in one’s mind like the work of Clive Barker or Todd McFarlane. If this is not your cup of tea, then the film will not work for you on any level.

Beyond that, the special effects are astounding. They are really impressive and will especially please fans of the games. The story may leave something to be desired for most, but if you’re really tuned in and have a capacity for abstract thought, it’s really not that hard to follow. The dialogue and performances are weak, but that’s not really the film’s focus anyway.

The real issue I wanted to touch on here is that a lot of people will interpret this film as attacking Christians, faith, or even God (as one other reviewer mentioned). It’s true that the film features a pseudo-Christian cult that is evil. It is also true that the main character with whom we’ve been led to sympathize sides with the devil to eradicate their evil. Despite our dislike for the cult, we are never led to believe that Alessa and the demon in her form are GOOD… Their actions are glorified, but they are still evil. The ULTIMATE message is that evil begets evil. Most importantly, the cult is not a Hollywood misrepresentation of real Christians, it is a caution against the perversion of faith for man’s agenda. It’s not that God is bad or Christianity is bad, it’s that misusing and manipulating God’s word and others’ faith to fulfill your own perverse agenda is the most grievous offence one can commit.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Kehli Kytlica, age 20
Neutral—I have seen this movie twice now, and something in the comments in all of the sections bothers me. For the players of the game: from the first game on, it is obvious that this is not a “pseudo-Christian” cult, it is a demonic one, as one poster suggested. Only the very young in the faith would take the depiction of Christabella and her followers as anything other than another sick cult in the vein of Jim Jones or the UFO folks, or better yet, the Koresh crowd.

In fact, in one of the early scenes in the school, it shows a line of pictures on the wall depicting “school,” “church,” etc. And the last one depicting, (and titled), “God,” was clearly a woman with her hands resting on the shoulders of two kneeling followers. The 3rd game especially makes the details of this cult clear in the female “god” that they follow, and like in the first game, it’s the last boss you fight… (If only demons in the real world could be knocked out of commission with a few shotgun blasts).

Anyway, I agree with most of the positive viewers that this was an excellent film technically, though with weak dialogue, (laughably bad in a couple spots), and excellent effects.

It’s hard to argue with the negative reviewers regarding the spiritual quality of the film, as it is VERY dark and disturbing. The 'Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely… Think on these things' verse comes to mind, as this movie is the diametric opposite of the subject of this command. I especially regret taking my young daughters and wife to see this, (although they are able to handle it better than those that go in fresh because they’re such big fans of the games), and see that as my failure to protect them. It won’t happen again.

I can only recommend this movie to fans of the game that have been adequately desensitized to it’s graphic violence and oppressive spiritual aspect, and even then, with caution.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Jeff Schaefer, age 35
Neutral—…This is based on a series of games, as people know. Very violent games. This is based primarily on the first game which centered around a cult (in the game, the cult was much less Christian in form than the one in the movie…) and didn’t focus so much on revenge. This movie ended up being about revenge, which has never been the point of the games really… Even though, in the first game, Alessa pulled people into her nightmares, it wasn’t for revenge, it was… Well, it was the demonic manifestation in that town… In the games (primarily 1, 3, and 4), the demonic force was evil, no question about it, even though there is suggestion (in 3) that the monsters are not monsters at all.

So, as a Christian, what can I say about the movie? Well, we need not worry about the cult, because they’re no different than any other Christian cult out there… What they did is wrong, and that’s pretty much set in stone, and the Catholic orphanage in the movie wasn’t evil, even though they were irresponsible… So, about Alessa… I’m not entirely sure that by the mythos the movie set up that there are any demons in here in the biblical sense… It was only the cult that called her a demon. This is more like eastern mysticism in that dark Allessa was made entirely of hate, and Sharon was made entirely of what remained pure in Alessa.

Really, the ONLY thing that bothers me about this given my ability to accept fantasy as fantasy was it’s promotion of Revenge. It neither portrayed nor encouraged the “demonic” in the Biblical sense, but it was guns a blazing for the revenge theme. If you want to get a good idea of how the horror motif can be used for something beneficial (and if you have a strong stomach and are a mature adult), check out the video game “Silent Hill 2”. It is about, if you can believe it, coming to terms with sin and finding redemption for it. Three people did some horrible things, and are given a chance to receive redemption for it (though not through Jesus, but in opening discussion about what they did, it opens a lot of possibilities). As for your character, you have a choice as to whether you’re going to choose to receive redemption for it or not… Very moving and poignant, the petty “revenge” theme in the film doesn’t compare to it. Of course, it is incredibly disturbing (in some ways, perhaps worse than the movie, but it is less violent by far) so I also wouldn’t openly recommend that to most people here.

The film has positive aspects to it, in the characters of Rose and Cybil, nothing close to the positive you can pull from SH2 (the game). I rated this neutral because I wouldn’t openly recommend it to people, but I loved seeing my favorite game series (well, mostly just 2… The other three, not as much) brought to life. I guess I have a different take on this than most here, though. I rated it offensive because, well, I find the revenge theme offensive… I must also add that rape is brought up, and the very inclusion of that could severely affect people (particularly someone who was molested or raped) but I don’t consider the mere mention of it offensive.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Luke, age 23
Neutral—…'Silent Hill' has proven to be the most expensive movie ticket to date, for me anyway’s. Here’s why: After seeing clips/trailers for the film, scouring the web, and reading anything and everything I could on the film, I decided to wait. I resolved to play some of the games first, in hopes of appreciating this film better. I went to Amazon and bought Silent Hill 2 and 3. Well, it’s been a few days since I finished both the second and third installments. I think the second game isn’t as creepy as it’s hyped up to be; however, the third game did have that pervasive uneasiness and underlying creepiness these games are renown for. So after playing these games and deciding they are enjoyably lukewarm entertainment, I finally made a trip to the theater.

The movie certainly does not fall into any of the typical archetypes. It’s a bold, new effort in the genre of video game adaptation. Keeping that in mind, don’t expect a horror flick rife with cheap jump-scares. Sure, there are some so-called “horror” elements in this movie, but like the games, the movie strives to create a persistent, dark atmosphere. I only have one gripe with the movie: Pyramid Head was confined to the sporadic, hellish reality that enveloped the town, as opposed to the foggy deluge of ash that covered Silent Hill most of the time. In the game Silent Hill 2, this was not the case—Pyramid Head exists in either reality.

But on the flip side, a lot of the sounds and music from Silent Hill 3 is in the movie, all of which is great. It helps strike a chord of familiarity and in some sense comfort, as if 'Hey, I have been here. I know this place!' albeit it’s a twisted, nightmarish place.

Bottom line: I don’t recommend this flick for anyone who hasn’t played the games.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Jacob Keenum, age 19
Negative
Negative—After seeing the cute girl in the commercials, I decided to bring my twin daughters to see this film. It was a mistake. This film is a piece of garbage. This is Anti-Christian filth. The characters that are religious and pious turn out to be villains! The worst was having to explain to my daughters that the woman who burned the little girl wasn’t really a Christian, but an actress pretending to be a Christian—since a real Christian would never do such a thing! Thumbs down! Don’t waste your time.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Helene Steinmetz, age 30
Negative—My wife and I like horror movies but this was the biggest waste of 20 bucks we’ve been to in a long time. The first 20 minutes is OK, and then it gets worse. The visual effects were poor, to say the least. It seems as if the filmmakers opened the book on what it takes to make a horror movie and tried to squeeze in every one except for a decent plot and story line. Don’t waste your time or money on what should have stayed a computer game. Half the audience that we watched with left after 30 minutes. Bugs, acid spewing aliens in the salvage yard, barbed wired corps, horrible unrelenting fog and bad acting, scenes that didn’t tie together. There you’ve seen the movie.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Robert Neal, age 50
Negative—Please don’t make the same mistake that I made in seeing this movie. Initially, the movie seemed to be developing a decent “creepy ghost story” plot. However, it doesn’t take long to realize that the storyline levels off and that there are no more surprises to be had. Also, the acting quality is mediocre at best.

On a spiritual level the movie is more than a little disturbing. About half way through I wanted to walk out but I made myself sit through it as a punishment for my lack of discernment. I also wanted to be able to comment on the movie in its entirety in this review. The movie is extremely gory and portrays several disturbing scenes of death, mutilation, torture, beatings, etc; On top of that, the spiritual message is absolutely twisted. In the end, the devil is depicted as the source of truth and justice in the context of this films story. Again, please don’t make the same mistake I made and spend your time and money on this movie. I regret it!
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—CK, age 31
Negative—This is a bad movie. I saw this movie with a friend, and the two of us felt sick after seeing this movie. At least two times I think saw words being flashed on the screen. I felt so disturbed in my spirit after seeing this movie. My friend and I wish we never wasted our time and money…
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Chirs, age 21
Comments from young people
Positive—I would like to start by saying that this movie seems to be intended towards fans of the game. The more you love the game, then the more you’ll like this movie. I bought and explored the first “Silent Hill” before going to see the movie, and now I’m even more glad I did. Storyline: Compared to “Silent Hill” 1 and 2, the ones I’ve played, the storyline is lacking. A lot of people were confused by the ending, but the ones who went deep, deep into the first “Silent Hill” probably have an idea of how things ended.

Special Effects: The effects used were absolutely AMAZING. The switch between worlds when “Silent Hill” takes a more hellish atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve seen in a movie. The killing effects looked real, and the people in the theatre seeking gore were very pleased.

Offensive Content: The only real offensive things I found in the movie was that God seems to be portrayed as the bad guy in this film. I’ll explain why I think so. *SPOILERS INCOMING* Remember how the leader of the church seems so nice at the beginning? How she is always telling people to have faith? Yea, everyone figured she was the nice, religious lady at the beginning, until you learn that she burned Dahlia’s daughter while ALIVE. Suddenly, you get this feeling that the Christians in the movie are evil, since they never really call out the name of their “god.” You are pretty much made to believe that they worship the real God along with his son, Jesus because of the random Bible verses thrown around in the movie. The evil part of Allessa comes out of the ground at the end and slaughters all of them.

Ultimately, I felt that God was made out to be the bad guy. *MOVIE SPOILERS END* This is not how it was in the game. The first game did have demonic things in it, but was ultimately about Harry Mason overcoming his fears and doubts in life and obviously made Satan out to be evil to the core. Moving on…

Gore/Violence: Some of the most painful and ruthless things I’ve seen in a movie. People being burned alive, the janitor that crawled out of the bathroom stall, the scene with Pyramid Head ripping someone’s skin off. It was all creative and was probably what brought the “Silent Hill” movie to life along with the “switch between worlds.” Very graphic and violent, but was also oddly interesting. (Many people gasped at some of these scenes. I’ve never heard of that happening.)

Horror: I found NOTHING to be scary in this movie really. After playing the games, I was expecting to be scared out of my mind at the movie. The only thing close to “horror” this movie gets is the gore scenes. You’ll probably think to yourself, 'Wow, these people are twisted in the head.' The movie isn’t scary at all though. Honestly.

Overall: I’ll put it this way. Play a “Silent Hill” game or two (there’s four) and rate your total experience with the games out of five stars. Subtract one star from your rating of the games and I think you’ll get your rating for the movie. The movie made the most money at the box office on it’s opening day on Friday. 'Why?' you ask? Because the games were so nerve-wrecking and scary that many people had HIGH expectations for the movie. You want a REAL horror experience? Play the games. 75% of movies today don’t try half as hard to scare you as the “Silent Hill” games do.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Justin, age 17
Positive—I really liked this movie. The plot was good; the characters were good, and the storyline was good, too. I think it was mildly scary, but not as bad as it could have been. It was pretty gory, and pretty violent, too. I would recommend this movie to anyone who thinks they can handle blood, and the violence in this movie. …
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
—Taylor, age 15
Positive—As a big fan of the games, I loved this movie. But I have to say that this comment is more of a rebuttal to the many negative comments I found on this site. Clearly some of you who have posted negative comments cannot separate artistic license and reality. The woman who brought her daughters to see it, there’s a reason the movie is “R.” Also the people in that town were representative of fundamentalist fanatics of all groups, not just the stereotypical puritan community. To the man who speaks of acid spewing aliens clearly has no idea what is going on, that those are actually demons and that the town is hell (under the idea that hell is where there is no presence of god, ex. when christ refers to the garbage heap). The devil is not at all portrayed in any way of being truth, but rather it is depicting a being that is hell bent on revenge (never shown as being the voice of truth) and that the fanatical cult which burned the girl brought hell upon themselves because they used religion as an excuse to justify sadistic torture of an innocent people (occultists or otherwise). If you were disturbed by this movie then I suggest you read the book of Revelations (I am not comparing them in message, but, if you probe revelations, then you will find things far more disturbing concerning the end of days, than you will ever find in this movie).
My Ratings: Average / 5
—John, age 16
Movie Critics
…Suspense-free horror show… feverishly overcooked nightmare movie… Witless, soulless and joyless…
—Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter
…Perhaps those who have played the game will understand the movie, and enjoy it. …” [1½]
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times