Heather and her dad sometimes feel like they're living inside a video game. They always seem to be moving, never staying in any one place very long. They keep changing their names, too. She used to be Sharon Da Silva, some four or five names ago. But now it's Heather Mason and her father Christopher, er, I guess it's Harry now.
Dad says it's because of that intruder he killed a few years back. The police are on their trail, he says. And he's not about to wind up in prison for defending his own home!
But there's more going on here.
The teen is sure it all has to do with something that happened to her and her mother a long time ago. Dad told her that it was simply a horrible car accident that took her mom's life. But … there's something at play here that she just doesn't understand.
Then there are those terrifying nightmares she's been having.
Heather keeps dreaming of this horrible place called Silent Hill—a town of falling ash and rising fog. A dark corrupted place full of danger and decay. Blood and rot. There's always someone chasing her there. When she screams her way back into the real world her father comforts her, telling her it's all a dream. But then he warns her to never go to this Silent Hill, no matter what.
How can she go there if it's a dream?
On the eve of her 18th birthday, things get even worse. Heather's visions start leaking into her waking world—the school hallway suddenly becomes empty and moldering, and there's something twitching in its shadows. Then her father goes missing. And she finds a bloody message scrawled on their living room wall ordering her to "Come to Silent Hill."
Is she going absolutely crazy? Or is she finally about to find out what really happened to her and Mom all those years ago?
Either way, it's time to finally face the level's big boss.
Heather and Harry love each other dearly and voice their feelings openly. They also put their lives where their mouths are: Each risks everything for the other. Even all the moving they've been doing is linked to Harry's dedication to keeping Heather safe. And when Heather's friend Vincent tells her to run and forget about saving her pops at one point, she replies, "If you loved someone, you'd know that you never give up."
Then, via flashback, Heather's mother (who was trapped with her daughter in the first movie incarnation of Silent Hill) gets in on the self-sacrificial action too, giving up her freedom to send her young daughter back into the real world. Harry's never forgotten that. And he's still desperately trying to rescue his beloved wife from the beyond.
Heather also saves a trapped innocent in Silent Hill.
There's a hard-to-follow spiritual connection between Heather and her evil demonic counterpart—a girl named Alessa who seemingly trapped the town of Silent Hill in a festering netherworld (in the first movie) through the power of her hatred and longing for vengeance. Alessa was once a human girl burned and tortured by a crazed group of religious occultists because of her illegitimate beginnings. Then she welcomed in a demonic entity of hate.
It's said that in her torment Alessa cut away the "innocent part of her soul" and deposited it inside an orphan girl who later turned out to be Heather.
Thus, a group of creepy occultists wants to drag Heather into their nightmarish netherworld, thinking she's the key to saving them from their damnation. They believe Heather's body can be used to birth a physical version of their "god" and thereby bring them to glory. One occultist tells Heather, "We praise the god that you have arrived. You are the savior."
A special magical seal of Metatron figures heavily into what happens next, as Heather uses it, or at least a piece of it, to transport herself between the netherworld and the living world. All the occultist bad guys seem to have to do to accomplish the same end is carve the seal's symbol into their flesh. Also, the seal is used to reveal a woman's true evil character.
Heather screams, "Go to hell!" to someone. The target of her wrath responds, "Can't you see? We're already here."
There are a number of moments where sensuality is mixed in with grotesqueries to purposely create an unsettling mix. One of the most prominent takes place in a room full of nurses. They're extremely shapely individuals with short-skirted, very low-cut dresses, sheer stockings and high heels. Their scarred and featureless faces, however, resemble a wad of twisted putty, and they stand around in contorted physical poses (the camera examining their abundant cleavage and curves) until it's time for them to jump into action with sharp slashing blades or oversized needles.
In another segment, we watch a fully naked woman strapped to a table as she slowly transforms into a department store-style mannequin. So we understand exactly what we're looking at when we see hundreds of other nude mannequins broken up into pieces and stored all over a warehouse room.
A large eight-foot tall creature called Pyramid Head sports a heavily muscled and naked (male) torso topped with a large metal (triangular, of course) headpiece.
A girl in one of Heather's high school classes wears a cleavage-revealing top. Heather and Vincent kiss.
When scores of crazies locked in cells grasp at Heather, we see the huge Pyramid Head lop off their arms with his gigantic, razor-sharp blade. We watch as a butcher slices a large chunk of flesh off a screaming human victim who's suspended by his feet and has a plastic bag over his head. That slab of meat is then thrown on a grill to be cooked up for lunch. Little kids with mouthfuls of gristle and gore also gobble up such fare at a birthday party—blood dribbling down their chins.
People are impaled and sliced with a variety of sharp blades and cleavers. Harry slams a man down on a table and jams a blade into his chest. Another man reaches out to shield himself and has his fingers sliced quickly off. Heather runs to help him … and gets blood sprayed all over her face and jacket.
Screaming (naked) men are suspended by chains and hooks. A creature rips several hooks out of his chest. A mannequin face cracks open to reveal muscle, blood and bone beneath. An old man's head is covered in raw scars with oozing stitches. He takes the Metatron seal that Heather hands him and jams it violently into his chest, blood spurting. A young man has a large symbol carved into his chest, the flesh peeling outward. A woman transforms into a screeching abomination with black pits for eyes and a gnashing, lipless mouth. Then, slowly, large circular blades push their way out of her head, leaving the skin cleaved open.
Several of the dark creepy monsters of Silent Hill have either nothing but a long curved patter of stitches for a face or a gaping, raw hole. When one of the latter attacks Heather, she jams her pistol in that hole and blows out the back of the creature's head. She shoots several others, too, and rips the gas mask off one person only to watch his skin melt away.
A demonic girl turns a town's street into swirling ash—catching people up in the mix. A crowd of people are set on fire and left to writhe and scream. A young girl is set aflame on a roaring pyre.
Crude or Profane Language
F- and s-words are used five or six times each. There's one or two misuses each of Jesus' and God's names.
Drug and Alcohol Content
A zombie-like nurse plunges a needle into a terrorized victim.
Other Negative Elements
Rather than defend her innocence when she's a suspect in a murder, Heather runs from the authorities.
The original Silent Hill film was a nightmarish (our reviewer used the word "sick") pic that attempted to be a faithful big screen adaptation of the Konami video game franchise of the same name. It told the twisted tale of a young girl who was somehow spiritually drawn to a dark and decaying place called Silent Hill.
This town is a foggy netherworld where ash always rains down and mutilated grotesqueries always shamble. It's a place where a viciously abused and darkly powerful girl clashes endlessly with a group of crazed occultists.
How, exactly, Heather comes to be dragged there is a convoluted mess of a storyline. The backstory in the games can take an hour or two to work through. Here it's all crammed into 20 minutes of fevered, "Let's get this over with!" exposition. So a whole lot of muddled moviegoers are going to walk out of this grotesquerie not even knowing why it's so grotesque.
But that wouldn't be the worst of their experience. The worst would be the compelling and sensual images that are intentionally mixed with absurd and repulsive ones—the sexual lure of rippling muscles and bulging breasts juxtaposed with the horror of gaping-wound faces and flesh flayed for the grill. It's all there for a singular purpose … to try to shock us in a post-shock world that's all but inured to visceral reaction.
Limbs are lopped off, sheets of skin drape festering walls, screaming crowds are burned alive, hellish scarred things grasp and twitch, and even pink stuffed bunnies have mouthfuls of gore. And it's all gleefully plopped, gooey and raw, in your lap … most likely in cheesy 3-D.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Sean Bean as Harry Mason; Adelaide Clemens as Heather and Alessa; Carrie-Anne Moss as Claudia Wolf; Kit Harington as Vincent; Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva
Michael J. Bassett
Open Road Films
October 25, 2012
Bob Hoose Bob Hoose