I recall reading somewhere that Stephen King once classified two types of horror. The first type was mental or psychological horror, featured in movies like Rosemary's Baby or Jacob's Ladder. The second type was the more physical, gross-out sort of horror used in 98% of the monster movies and slasher films. I'm having a hard time recalling any psychological horror films from the last five years or so. It seems like every film we've gotten lately settles for the much easier to pull off gross-out. Silent Hill, however, doesn't take the easy way out.
The film opens with an average suburban couple looking for their missing daughter. The young girl, Sharon, has a history of sleep walking and the parents haven't been able to find her anywhere in the house. After a harrowing search, they finally find her only to realize that she's still asleep and mumbling about a town called Silent Hill. Sharon has mentioned this place before and now her distraught mother, Rose, begins to think Silent Hill may be a secret from her daughter's past.
Determined to get to the root of suspected psychological trauma, Rose takes her adopted daughter on a trip to find the town of Silent Hill. Despite the closed lips of neighboring townspeople, Rose succeeds in finding Silent Hill. And much, much, more...
From the very beginning, Silent Hill grabbed my undivided attention and refused to let it go until the closing credits. The movie is extremely well paced with the tension continuing to build until its extremely intense climax. Having never played the game (Yes, this movie is based on a video game by the same name; no, that doesn't automatically make it lame. Bloodrayne did suck, but remember Resident Evil? That movie rocked!), I had no idea what was going to happen or how it was going to end. I was not only satisfied with the logic and progression of the plot, but the ending and wrap-up as well.
As Silent Hill is more location- than character-driven, I don't have too much to say about the film's cast. While the performances never blew me away, they never interfered with my enjoyment of the movie or my suspension of disbelief either. I will give credit to the casting director though, for placing normal looking actors in the movie instead of resorting to big names in order to sell more tickets. Perhaps this is only because none of the A-List showed interest, but I will hold that it was a clever casting decision in an effort to keep our attentions on mood and theme instead of pretty faces.