Silent Hill

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By Mark Ramsey | 2006/04/24

Silent Hill is the scariest thing I’ve been in since a bed with Ally Sheedy,” said Hill star Radha Mitchell.

In the opening moments, Radha screams for her daughter, who teeters on the edge of a cliff coincidentally placed beside their suburban family home. She’s about to topple off when Radha snatches her from certain death and snatches from the rest of us two hours that would be better spent picking our collective noses.

Unfortunately, nose-picking has never been the subject of a video game, so Hollywood is unlikely to deliver two hours of it unto us – unless Rob Schneider really wants to play it and Adam Sandler really wants to produce it.

“Silent Hill!” screams the girl. Now, when a pre-teen screams anything but “Walt Disney World,” do you grab a map and take her there?

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I mean, if I had a dream about drowning you wouldn’t hold my head under water, would you? Well, maybe you’d hold MY head under water, but this isn’t about me. For most folks, hurrying off to the location of their dreams involves a beach and a margarita, not a town of zombies and ghouls or whatever else they call Hollywood after dark.

Radha’s daughter is at the center of this movie which, unfortunately, puts this flick in the hands of a ‘tween whose only discernible talent is having a crafty stage mother with dashed dreams and vicarious aspirations.

Off to Silent Hill goes Radha. Upon her arrival, she loses her daughter and hunts for for her amidst falling ashes and creepy apparitions. “This town is haunted by special effects!” says Radha.

She searches the entire town – a process which could take forever – and “forever” is exactly what it feels like.

Radha goes underground where she’s manhandled by a gaggle of deformed dwarves which, oddly enough, are only slightly more terrifying than formed ones.

Eventually, she encounters a cadre of horrifying film critics who lower their opera glasses and turn up their noses in unison but only do so after the movie opens. You see, advance screenings of genre films are a waste of time for the studios because the last horror fan influenced by a critic was chained by him to a bedpost – and even the chain was provided as a free perk by the studio.

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“Only the Dark One opens and closes the door to Silent Hill.”

I don’t know how you read that line with a straight face, but Deborah Kara Unger’s face couldn’t be straighter if a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon had steamed it on an ironing board. Somehow the knowledge that you are three degrees of separation from Dabney Coleman and a computer called W.O.P.R. transforms trite claptrap into the words of the Bard himself.

Amazing!

Deborah is dressed Hagrid-like to hide her beauty beneath tons of ugly rags and greasepaint. To be sure, almost all aging actresses eventually play bag ladies, but Deborah’s bag looks to be from Neiman Marcus. Anyone who thinks an attractive woman intentionally hides her looks has not followed the career of Carmen Electra. Electra is 79 this month and still sprinkles stem cells onto her Grape Nuts just like when she was 39.

As she enters Silent Hill, Radha fortuitously meets up with Laurie Holden, a lady cop whose skin-tight uniform looks like the wardrobe department is shopping the Frederick’s of Hollywood Halloween collection. Laurie is one tough broad. “If my veins coursed with any more testosterone it would be hanging from my utility belt beside my handcuffs,” she says.

Laurie’s character was a one-time gym teacher. “Chafing kids’ hind-quarters in rope-climbs to nowhere just loses its inherent appeal after a while,” she glumly notes.

Suddenly, an acid-oozing torso heads in their general direction.

“I don’t understand it,” says Radha, “shoot it!”

Blam, blam!

Look out! Radha and Sexy Cop are attacked by a GIANT knife blade.

“Imagine the size of the whittling!” Sexy Cop exclaims.

“I don’t understand it,” says Radha, “shoot it!”

Blam, blam!

“I’m one Indigo Girl short of a chorus,” says Sexy Cop as she blows the smoke from the barrel of her pistol. “And I haven’t had a loose stool since 2002.”

Wherever there are B-movie ghoulies odds are good that Alice Krige is not far behind: “No one has ever returned from the core of the darkness where the demon lies in wait,” says Alice, right before she invites cast and crew to toast s’mores over the burning embers of her artistic integrity.

As the climax approaches, witch hunters are set to destroy Radha’s daughter:

“We don’t understand her,” they shout, “burn her!”

Finally, Radha descends to the depths of Hell, where she is treated to a documentary of Silent Hill’s backstory. You can always count on Hell for a documentary.

What can I say about Silent Hill, other than I wish it had been Invisible Hill or Direct-to-Video Hill or even Development Hell Hill. There’s nothing in this movie that hasn’t been done before in any one of the zillion Hellraiser movies and later edited into smithereens on the SciFi channel.

I know the expression “Silent but Deadly” didn’t originate with Silent Hill, but God knows it applies.


Photos Copyright ©2006 Tri Star Pictures

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