[[caption-width-right:350:"[[EldritchLocation This town]]... [[GeniusLoci There's something]] ''[[RealityIsOutToLunch wrong]]'' [[DarkWorld with it]]."]]

->''"In my restless dreams, I see that town.\\
Silent Hill.\\
You promised you'd take me there again someday,\\
But you never did.\\
Well I'm alone there now...\\
In our "special place"...\\
Waiting for you..."''

James Sunderland receives a letter from his wife, Mary, that begs him to meet her in their "special place" in Silent Hill, a resort town they visited together once on vacation.

He just has one small problem with the letter: Mary has been dead for 3 years.

James travels to Silent Hill, despite knowing for sure that his wife has died, to discover who wrote the letter and why they sent it. He arrives to discover a seemingly-abandoned town shrouded in a perpetual fog -- a far cry from the resort town he remembers. During his exploration of Silent Hill, James meets several people who may or may not have a connection to the letter: Angela, a disturbed runaway looking for her mother; Eddie, a mentally unbalanced young man with a weight problem; Laura, a young girl who seems to know Mary and bears a grudge against James; and Maria, a stripper [[IdenticalStranger with a remarkable resemblance to Mary]] who begs James to protect her.

James eventually discovers that his journey through Silent Hill has a very personal slant, as the town forces him to confront his fears, vices, and guilt via a number of increasingly-symbolic monsters, most notably [[BreakoutCharacter Pyramid Head]] (a muscular butcher in a pyramid-shaped helmet who rapes his fellow monsters and stalks James through the town).

Many fans and critics alike regard ''Silent Hill 2''[[note]]A later port for the original Xbox has a subtitle, which differs between regions of release. ''Restless Dreams'' is the North American subtitle of the game; ''Inner Fears'' is the European subtitle, and ''Poem of the Last Moment'' is the Japanese subtitle[[/note]], released in 2001 and the second game in the ''Franchise/SilentHill'' franchise, as not only the apex of the ''Silent Hill'' series, but the greatest horror video game ever made, and sometimes as one of the greatest games ever made ''period''. This is primarily because of its intensely psychological and memorable storyline, its handling of metaphors and taboo topics, and much-improved gameplay compared to the original. The game also has MultipleEndings based on James' [[KarmaMeter general behavior]] throughout the story (rather than on specific choices at certain junctions).
!!''Silent Hill 2'' is the trope namer for:
* TheDogWasTheMastermind
!!''Silent Hill 2'' offers up these tropes; they're waiting for you:
* AbandonedHospital: One of the levels in the game.
* AbusiveParents: [[spoiler: Angela's]] parents. [[spoiler:Daddy]] was physically and sexually abusive; [[spoiler:Mommy]] said [[spoiler:she]] deserved it. The brother even joined in on the sexual abuse.
* AdultFear: A man has been deeply changed by his wife's early death. [[spoiler: The fact that James ''killed her'' is another Adult Fear: the fear of failing a loved one and of selfishness. James's guilt is overwhelming, hence his punishment.]] Due to his wife's long sickness James is also sexually frustrated, and angry and guilty enough about it that the town creates a ''physical manifestation'' of his dark impulses toward sexual violence.
* AdvancingBossOfDoom: Pyramid Head in general.
* AlienGeometries: Silent Hill starts exhibiting this more and more as the game goes on. The prison provides a particularly memorable example, where it seems that one of the hallways was somehow inverted so that it turns into a giant pit.
* AmbiguousEnding: The Maria ending, which sees James [[spoiler:[[WhatTheHellHero refusing to take responsibility]] for killing Mary; [[DoppelgangerReplacementLoveInterest accepting Maria as a substitute partner]]; and [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope subtly threatening her]] when she [[IncurableCoughOfDeath so much as coughs]]]]. This ending hints that [[NiceJobBreakingItHero the cycle may repeat]], starting with [[spoiler:Maria dying (either from sickness or [[SickbedSlaying by James' hand]])]]…but to what extent his journey repeats is unknown.
** The Rebirth ending, obtained through a NewGamePlus. James tries to [[spoiler:resurrect Mary with some sort of ritual]], but the player doesn't see the results.
* AmnesiacDissonance: One of the characters eventually discovers something about themselves that they tried to deny. Which one? [[spoiler:James. He suffocated Mary before her illness could kill her and repressed his memory of doing so.]]
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: As [[http://www.megabearsfan.net/post/2014/03/04/Silent-Hill-is-about-cult.aspx one fan interpretator has noted]], the other three Silent Hill games done by Team Silent[[note]]VideoGame/SilentHill1, VideoGame/SilentHill3 and VideoGame/SilentHill4[[/note]] all have a very strong "occultic" theme, with 1 and 3 specifically being about Silent Hill's connection to a local cult, which is the primary focus of the narrative for both games. In SH2, the cult and the occult become mere background elements, with the narrative instead focusing on repression of memories and guilt.
* AnotherSideAnotherStory: The "Born from a Wish" sub-scenario in the [=PS2=]'s Greatest Hits version, the Xbox version, and the HD re-release, where you play as Maria just before she meets James out by Toluca Lake.
* ApocalypticLog: Early in the game, James finds a series of notes written by a dead man, which chronicle his experiences with the monsters and tips on how to deal with them. Chillingly, the second-to-last note says only "Run away." The last features ''several'' more repetitions of "Run away!"
* ArtifactMook:
** A cross-game example: Pyramid Head is explicitly made from part of James' damaged psyche, but enemies with a [[{{Expy}}very similar design and purpose]] appear in other games across the series to menace different characters:
*** ''[[VideoGame/SilentHillHomecoming Homecoming]]'' has the very similarly appearing Bogeyman, with just a few minor design differences between the two. In this case, Bogeyman is instead a manifestation of [[spoiler: Adam's guilt]].
*** Also, in ''[[VideoGame/SilentHillOrigins Origins]]'' we have the Butcher, who is visually somewhat similar to ol' Pyramid but has different symbolism. Whereas Pyramid Head is about the guilt of James, the Butcher is either the cruelty and sacrifice of the Order, or is some manifestation of Travis' psyche, possibly fear and anger.
** Inverted by The Abstract Daddy, who is sprung from Angela's psyche. When it reappears as a DegradedBoss, Angela is nowhere to be found, but the player later finds that she has indeed been nearby.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Great Knife, if you can land a hit, does enormous damage, and you'll feel as dreaded as its owner with it in your hands. The downside is that there's a good reason Pyramid Head is so slow. James can't even lift the damn thing completely when he's carrying it, only drag it along the ground. Now try making an attack, James!
%%** However, one fun thing to do with the Great Knife: Equip it, turn off your flashlight, and walk around. The monsters will run in fear.
%%All references to the Great Knife trick will remain commented out until we get video proof that overturns this one: https://youtu.be/U81JzUj9i10?t=8m58s
* AxCrazy: [[spoiler:Eddie, definitely.]]
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler:Maria]], who is brought back more than once.
* BerserkButton:
** Maria's is James' confusing her with Mary, [[spoiler:which is strange, considering ''she'' does it occasionally]].
** President Evil's plot guide, analyzing the "Born from a Wish" sub-scenario, suggests that [[spoiler:Maria doesn't have any identity outside of "surrogate Mary" -- and she realizes this. It confuses and hurts her that her only purpose in life seems to be to torture some sad and lonely dude that she's never met before by representing his dead wife. [[AndIMustScream She can't]] ''[[AndIMustScream not]]'' [[AndIMustScream confuse herself with Mary, but it still hurts her when she and others do]].]]
** Eddie [[spoiler: takes this trope to the logical extreme. After Eddie is found standing over a corpse with a gun in his hand, he explains in a [[MotiveRant Motive Rant]] that he wouldn't ever listen to anyone making fun of him again or he would kill them. This causes James to question Eddie's sanity ''aloud'', and Eddie immediately attacks James.]]
* {{BFS}}: The Great Knife. Unusually, the game realistically portrays how [[AwesomeButImpractical impractical]] such a weapon would be in real life -- James drags it as he walks, and has to struggle to even lift it for a strike. Pyramid Head himself even drags it along slowly and takes a while to do the overhand swing.
* BigBad: Arguably [[spoiler:James himself.]] Or, more specifically, [[spoiler:his repressed guilt]] brought to life by the town. Come on, [[http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/Pyramid_Head guess.]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The Leave ending, where James gets through his guilt, leaves Silent Hill and adopts Laura, but Mary is still dead and James (and Laura) must live with this]].
* BossCorridor: The final hallway to [[spoiler:Mary]]'s room. As with most things, the time you linger in this hall affects the ending. A similar hallway, this one lined with newspaper murder headlines, precedes the Abstract Daddy.
** Another takes you into the depths of the earth to find [[spoiler:a psychotic Eddy]].
* ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth: An important recurring symbol.
* CastFromHitPoints: The unlockable Hyper Spray will slowly damage James. Luckily it takes about 3 minutes of continuous spraying to kill him from full health.
* CatchPhrase: Angela's "I...I-I'm sorry..."
* CentralTheme: Guilt and punishment.
* ChainsawGood: In a NewGamePlus, you can find a chainsaw in the forested area near the beginning of the game. It's not great against [[GoddamnedBats Lying Figures and Creepers]], [[ImplacableMan Pyramid Head]], or enemies that need to be taken out at range (such as Flesh Lips or the final boss), but with good timing, it can shred basically anything else.
* ChekhovsGun: Angela's knife, which James obtains after the cutscene in the Blue Creek Apartments, is ''sort of'' a Chekhov's gun. [[spoiler:Frequently looking at this item in the inventory and allowing James' health to get low will result in the "In Water" ending, in which James commits suicide. ''Sort of'' because, though the knife isn't used in the actual act, it is implicated in suicidal ideation.]]
** In the Brookhaven hospital, James finds a Dry Cell Battery. Later, in the Silent Hill Historical Society, he has to use it because his flashlight suddenly goes out after finding a key.
* CrusadingWidower: James being a particularly dark example; ''his'' single-minded fixation on the search for his dead wife is a result of the fact that [[spoiler: he killed her himself]]. In one ending, this crusade culminates in [[spoiler: his suicide]].
* DeadManWriting: Mary's letter at the end.
* DegradedBoss: The Abstract Daddy reappears as a reasonably easy kill a couple of times after its first appearance as a dangerous boss.
* DevelopersForesight: For whatever reason, the dev team decided to avoid a particular UnwinnableByInsanity moment. If you somehow make it to the final boss (who flies and is thus immune to melee) without any ammo, or run out of ammo during the fight, [[spoiler:[[https://youtu.be/Ud39KTWnguU?t=10m32s it will run a special script, rapidly take damage, and die anyways]]]].
* DifficultySpike: [[AbandonedHospital Brookhaven Hospital]], where the Bubblehead Nurses are ''much'' tougher than the other enemies you've fought up to this point.
* DisgustingPublicToilet:
** The game begins in one.
** James ''[[HandInTheHole sticks his hand into one]]'' without even so much as rolling up his sleeve first.
* TheDogIsTheMastermind: Invoked in the Joke Ending with Mira the dog.
* DrivenToMadness:
** [[spoiler:Eddie goes mad along the game, having been so obsessed with the murder and assault he committed that he even tries to kill James later in the game.]]
** Presumably [[spoiler:James is also driven to madness in the Maria ending, where he decides to forget about Mary and live with Maria, who isn't real, being just a manifestation of his guilt.]]
* DrivenToSuicide:
** [[spoiler:James]] came to Silent Hill with the intention of committing suicide, but only goes through with it [[spoiler:in the In Water ending.]]
** [[spoiler:Angela]], although it's slightly ambiguous, as it's not certain that [[spoiler:she and James are seeing the same things]].
*** Though James feels the heat [[spoiler:of the burning staircase, he may not actually see the fire on the staircase, for example.]]
---->'''James:''' It's hot as hell in here.\\
'''Angela:''' [[spoiler:You see it too? For me, it's always like this...]]
* DroneOfDread: A large portion of the soundtrack is this.
* DownerEnding: Both the [[spoiler:In Water ending, where James is DrivenToSuicide]] and the [[spoiler:Maria ending, where James is presumably DrivenToMadness]].
* DualBoss: [[spoiler:The final time Pyramid Head appears, James has to deal with ''two'' of them. Like always, they are invulnerable to anything you have available, but if James avoids their attacks long enough, they'll impale themselves on their own spears. It symbolizes that James has accepted his guilt and is ready to move on.]]
* EldritchLocation: Well, obviously ''all of Silent Hill'', but specifically for this game is the Hotel. It shifts back and forth between being normal, dark, water damaged, burnt out, [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs burnt out dark AND water damaged]], and some kind of metallic skeleton of the building.
* ElevatorEscape: Lucky for James. Not so much for [[spoiler:Maria]]. In fact, the closing of the doors seems triggered to make James see the full grisly consequences of his self-preservation.
* EscortMission: James meets Maria at Rosewater Park and she accompanies him until partway through the hospital section, at which point she decides to rest for awhile. She rejoins him sometime later, [[spoiler:just in time to get summarily murdered by Pyramid Head]]. There is relatively little combat for most of the time they are together so the chances of her being hurt are fairly slight.
* FanDisservice: Nice plumber's crack you got there, Eddie.
* FanSequel: ''[[Webcomic/SilentHillPromise Silent Hill: Promise]]''
* {{Fanservice}}: If you unlock the Dog ending (or just watch it [[http://youtu.be/cJL_L5_4vso on You Tube]]), the credits end with a shot of a buff, shirtless James and Maria in her underwear.
* FemmeFatale: Maria.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Partway through the Labyrinth, James comes across a graveyard with [[spoiler:graves for himself, Eddie, and Angela. Eddie always dies, Angela's fate is left ambiguous, and James can die depending on the ending.]]
* {{Fetish}}: Maria. She was literally created to be this, in-universe.
* FourIsDeath: [[spoiler:The fourth time that James meets Eddie he dies, and the fourth time he meets Angela is the last time she's seen, though her fate is left ambiguous]].
* GainaxEnding: Both the Dog Ending and the UFO Ending (the later only avalible in the Director's Cut, Greatest Hits and Silent Hill HD Collection versions). Keep in mind that both are [[PlayedforLaughs supposed to be jokes]] and can only be obtained in a NewGamePlus in normal conditions.
* GeniusLoci: The town itself is implied to be one.
* GratuitousJapanese: James inexplicably speaks Japanese during the Dog Ending cutscene.
* HellHotel: The Lakeview Hotel.
* {{Hellevator}}: The lift that marks the end of Toluca Prison and the start of the Labyrinth. The doors close by themselves, and it's a ride downwards at a reasonable speed that takes a full minute to be completed.
** During a long ride in the hospital elevator, James' radio picks up a macabre game show, complete with wacky host.
* HereWeGoAgain: [[spoiler:The "Maria" ending implies that Maria will end up suffering the same fate as Mary. It is also speculated that James may have to endure his journey through Silent Hill anew, and that he cannot leave the town until he gains true closure.]]
* HopelessBossFight: ''Every'' actual fight with Pyramid Head is like this, until the last one in which [[spoiler:the two Pyramid Heads kill themselves]]. The only way to "win" is to avoid him long enough to escape.
* ImplacableMan: Pyramid Head. No amount of damage can harm him, and he often appears without a cutscene, providing an excellent source of ParanoiaFuel, especially in the basement of the hospital, when you realize ''oh God he's right behind me''. All you can do is run.
* InNameOnly: The game has nothing at all to do with [[VideoGame/SilentHill1 the first game]] other than sharing a general setting and the concept of a place reflecting elements of a person's psyche. The evil cult, present in many other titles and usually central to their plots, is entirely absent here aside from some very vague references.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: Used in the [[spoiler:"Maria"]] ending to imply that [[spoiler:Maria will suffer the same fate as Mary]]. Also used in [[spoiler:a cutscene in Brookhaven Hospital, where Maria will take unspecified pills on her person and insist "[[DefinitelyJustACold [i]t's just a hangover.]]"]]
* InescapableAmbush: The first battle with the Pyramid Head. The door inexplicably closes behind James. He tries to open it, to no avail.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The chainsaw, which is a BraggingRightsReward on any difficulty but Easy, and available after talking to Angela in the cemetery at the beginning of the game.
* InkSuitActor: James' appearance is based off of his voice actor, Guy Cihi. Cihi also did the motion capture for James.
* INeverToldYouMyName: Maria calls James by name in spite of the fact that he never introduces himself. James never comments on this or responds to it in any way, and it's far from the only knowledge she should not have and yet does.
* KarmaMeter: Unlike the rest of the main ''Silent Hill'' series, the ending is determined by an invisible Karma Meter. And unlike most video games, it's not just "good" and "evil": [[spoiler:staying at full health as much as possible gives you "Leave" and "Maria" points. Glancing at Mary's photo periodically and not giving much of a damn about Maria gives you "In Water" ending points. Doing the opposite gives you "Maria" points. Examining Mary's letter multiple times, especially after [[AGlitchInTheMatrix the text vanishes]], counts towards "Leave." Glancing at Angela's Knife and not bothering to stay at good health gives you "In Water" points. Various documents and other items you can examine can give you points on all three meters.]]
* LawOfDisproportionateResponse[=/=]RantInducingSlight: "'Anyway?' What do you mean, 'anyway'?!" Maria's outburst is triggered by James's not "sound[ing] very happy to see [her]" after she [[spoiler:"was almost killed back there."]]
** When [[spoiler:Eddie snaps]], things quickly go south after he runs into James the [[spoiler:last]] time.
---> '''James:''' [[spoiler: Eddie]], have you gone nuts?
* {{Leitmotif}}: Angela's theme, among others.
* LethalJokeWeapon: The plank. It's your starting weapon, and it's weaker than most of the weapons in the game, but unlike the other normal melee weapon in the game (the Steel Pipe), you can actually move while using it, letting James run circles around his enemies.
* ManslaughterProvocation:
** [[spoiler:Angela]]. Throughout the game, it is hinted at that [[spoiler:she was sexually abused by her father]]. A newspaper article that James finds later more or less confirms that [[spoiler:she killed him]], possibly in self-defense.
** [[spoiler:Eddie claims this.]]
--->"Do you know what it does to you, James? When you're hated, picked on, spit on, just 'cause of the way you look? After you've been laughed at your whole friggin' life?"
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:James claims that Mary's death was this; his overwhelming guilt after the fact is what sets the events of the game in motion. Whether or not he did it out of mercy is ambiguous -- James' admission and reasoning, and whether Mary accepts and forgives or hates him is different in each ending.]]
* MergingTheBranches: The canonicity of the game's MultipleEndings is never confirmed by the developers. [[WordOfGod This is intentional]]. You may [[EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory interpret James' choices and fate]] whichever way, for all are equally valid, and no single conclusion [[StoryBranchFavoritism holds more weight than the others]].
* MetaphoricallyTrue: [[spoiler:James' belief that Mary died three years ago (which is eventually proven false) likely stems from a subconscious feeling that the idealized Mary who he loved, was effectively lost to him when she began to mentally and physically deteriorate from her disease. The implication is that Silent Hill latched on to this subconscious feeling and allowed him to believe that is what actually happened.]]
* MoodWhiplash: The Dog ending. A whole game's worth of unpleasant weirdness, followed by a cute dog and a jaunty tune.
* MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily: The nurses, though their constant twitching makes it difficult to see. Conversely, the Otherworld nurses have only a bare hint of a face.
* MultipleEndings: A series staple.
** Leave: [[spoiler: James forgives himself, makes peace with Mary, and leaves Silent Hill. It's implied that he ends up adopting Laura like Mary wanted to in this ending.]]
** In Water: [[spoiler: Mary begs James to move on, but James can't shake the feelings of guilt. [[DrivenToSuicide He kills himself by driving into Toluca Lake]] (along with a dead Mary, who was [[MurderSuicide in the backseat the whole time]]) in order to [[TogetherInDeath truly be with her again]]]].
** Maria: [[spoiler: James [[DoppelgangerReplacementLoveInterest turns to Maria]] to shake the guilt of killing Mary, but as they leave Silent Hill together, Maria [[IncurableCoughOfDeath coughs awfully]], implying that [[HereWeGoAgain she has contracted the same disease that killed Mary]]. James, taking [[BeneathTheMask an uncharacteristically dark tone]], tells her, "[[ImpliedDeathThreat You better do something about that cough.]]"]]
** Rebirth: [[spoiler: James turns to the occult to bring Mary back to life, gathering items found throughout the game and taking her body to the church near the lake to resurrect her body. We do not see the results, but they're probably not pretty, given [[EldritchAbomination Silent Hill's track record of "rebirth".]] ]]
** Dog: [[spoiler: James breaks into a room in the hotel where he finds [[TheDogWasTheMastermind a Shiba Inu controlling the entirety of Silent Hill]]. He starts speaking Japanese as he realizes the dog was behind everything that happened to him, falls to his legs overcome with grief as said Shiba Inu licks his face to cheer him up.]] [[MindScrew Yeah.]]
** UFO: Another series staple. [[spoiler: Harry from the first game ([[NewWorkRecycledGraphics still looking like he did]] on the [=PS1=]) arrives at the hotel, and the two protagonists discuss their motives before James is abducted as well.]]
* MurderousMannequin: Some of the monsters.
* NightmareSequence: The game seemingly shifts into this type of experience during and after exiting the [[AbandonedHospital hospital]]. This is the only time of the game where the town becomes [[DarkWorld dark]], for one. The character is led to a "Historical Society". From there, James encounters features unlikely to exist, such as a very, very long stairway, and very deep man-made-looking holes that don't cause injury from jumping into them. Also, one room has a deep hole that is protected by a prison bar-gate, with doors and ceiling features on the walls making this a hallway that has been rotated down 90 degrees. Additionally, James encounters a labyrinthine area with dead-end halls occasionally found. The nightmare seems to end after James gains a significant insight, and this places James back into the foggy town from earlier.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by a door encountered in the first wing of the town. The door is unlocked during the aforementioned NightmareSequence and also has a relevant quote written next to it:
--->''The door that wakes in darkness, opening into nightmares.''
** It shifts back to a NightmareSequence — albeit with less darkness and more water and [[SceneryGorn rot]] — when James leaves room 312, after the revelation that he [[spoiler:killed Mary.]]
* NoGearLevel: There's a section of the hotel that must be explored without any items, even including the flashlight.
* NonindicativeName: The track "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LB7LZZGpkw Theme of Laura]]" has nothing to do with Laura but rather it is the main theme of ''Silent Hill 2''.
* NoOSHACompliance: Or at least, No Housing Code Compliance. James is able to cross between the two apartment buildings by opening the fire escape on one of them to find that it's been torn down to make room for the other one next door, then climbing through the window in the other apartment. Any developer who tried to tear down a fire escape on a multi-story apartment building to make room for construction would be either vetoed by housing authorities, or thrown in jail by them after being found out. Then again, given that Silent Hill [[EldritchLocation tends to make merry love to geography]], this may be justified as MalevolentArchitecture.
* NostalgiaHeaven: A deliciously twisted version.
* NothingIsScarier: At the start of the game, James spends the first fifteen or so minutes walking down a fog-shrouded path along the edge of a cliff. There are no monsters or any obstacles of any sort, and barely any sounds other than your footsteps (and those [[BeingWatched mysterious footsteps]] coming from behind you... [[ParanoiaFuel or are they?]])
* NotQuiteTheRightThing: Since Maria looks and sounds like Mary, being protective and considerate towards her may seem like what you should be doing. Unfortunately, she's a construct designed to distract James from his quest.
* NotSoDifferent: Discussed trope as James continues to interact with Angela and Eddie. There's a ''reason'' they're all stuck in Silent Hill.
* OhCrap: James takes seeing Pyramid Head raping a dead monster about as well as you'd think he would.
%%** You can also make the enemies essentially have one by equipping the Great Knife and turning off the flashlight. The enemies will hear the knife dragging on the ground and ''run like hell''.
%%All references to the Great Knife trick will remain commented out until we get video proof that overturns this one: https://youtu.be/U81JzUj9i10?t=8m58s
* OminousFog: Naturally. Early on the town is completely shrouded in fog, though it later goes away when the town goes completely dark. It returns near the end of the game right before you go to the Lakeview Hotel.
* OminousSavePrompt: All of the save points count, since they're impossible to miss anywhere, but how about ''nine'' of them arranged in a bright red square on the Hotel's top floor, right before [[spoiler: the twin Pyramid Head fight]]?
* ParentalIncest: It's heavily implied that [[spoiler:Angela]] was sexually abused by her father.
* PhoneCallFromTheDead: The game begins with one of these from the protagonist's dead wife, in the form of a letter. [[spoiler:It's revealed to be a DeadManWriting, because he had repressed the true memory of her manner of death]].
* PsychologicalTormentZone
* QuoteMine: [[spoiler:Mary's letter. The letter in your inventory is only the first part of a much longer message, and was "chosen" by the town to mislead James into thinking Mary might still be alive. At the end of the game, in the "Leave" and "Maria" endings, you get the full text of the letter, which makes it clear that she's still talking about what she sees in her dreams, and then goes into her final thoughts before she loses the ability to say anything else. ("In Water" cuts the letter off before her ''actual'' final thought: "James...you made me happy.", which makes that ending's letter another version of this trope.)]]
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: A significant part of what makes Pyramid Head such a frightening monster. Even more so when you consider that according to some interpretations of the game [[spoiler:this aspect of his behavior represents James's sexual frustration.]]
* RecurringBoss: You have to deal with Pyramid Head several times in a variety of ways.
* RealityEnsues: You can find Pyramid Head's [[{{BFS}} Great Knife]] and use it for yourself. Unfortunately, it's about as unwieldy as you should expect a huge and incredibly heavy chunk of metal to be.
* ReplacementGoldfish: [[spoiler:Maria]]. Deconstructed in that [[spoiler:she's a creation of the town manifested from James' desire to see his wife]] and subverted in that [[spoiler:the "Maria" ending implies that she will fall ill like Mary]].
* RevolversAreJustBetter: Eddie certainly thinks so, but he's forced to resort to pistol-whipping after six shots.
* {{Retraux}}:
** Harry's cameo in the UFO ending uses the blocky [=PS1=]-era graphics.
** "Soundless Mountain 2", a 2D SuperDeformed fan de-make.
* SelfInflictedHell: The town of Silent Hill itself, in this game more so than the others in the series. Angela really doesn't deserve the torment she goes through, but her ''belief'' that she deserves it brings it upon her anyway.
* SequelDifficultyDrop: A minor example. The enemies are a bit more manageable in this game, due to the lack of any flyers or lungers. Supplies are still plentiful as well.
* SheatheYourSword: In your first encounter with [[ImplacableMan Pyramid Head]], you win by avoiding him and not attacking until he goes away. You can also drive him off if you shoot him enough times, which not only slows him down, but it makes the invisible counter go down faster.
* ShoutOut: In the Lakeview Hotel, if you examine the heater, James will find a note on the back of it that says: "I'm Johnny, one hot guy." This may be a reference to the ''Film/TheShining'' (Heeeeeere's Johnny!) where main character Jack Torrance forgets to adjust the pressure on the old boiler room of The Overlook Hotel, causing it to catch on fire. A poster for ''The Shining'' can also be seen on a wall before James gets to town.
** There is a [[WesternAnimation/DrKatzProfessionalTherapist Katz Street.]]
** A character named Eddie [[spoiler:[[Film/RockyHorrorPictureShow dies in a freezer.]]]]
** The infamous closet scene is homage to the equally disturbing Film/BlueVelvet.
** James get dragged through the hospital via gurney. He's wearing an Olive M-65. His initials are JS. [[Film/JacobsLadder Sounds familiar?]]
* SinisterScrapingSound: Pyramid Head scrapes his giant blade along the ground.
%%This works to James' advantage later in the game: if he equips the Great Knife and moves around with the flashlight turned off, monsters will run away from the noise.
%%All references to the Great Knife trick will remain commented out until we get video proof that overturns this one: https://youtu.be/U81JzUj9i10?t=8m58s
* StairwayToHeaven: The game plays with this trope in the labyrinth's downward staircase "that leadeth thee to Purgatory."
** Inverted with [[spoiler:Angela]]'s upward staircase to Hell.
** Played straight after [[spoiler:James has faced and dealt with his guilt]].
* StoryDifficultySetting: The "Beginner" difficulty setting essentially disables the combat, allowing players to, according to the manual, "enjoy the storyline, drama and puzzles of ''Silent Hill 2'' without fighting". It doesn't remove monsters altogether, but it makes them so weak that even a single bash with the plank is enough to kill one.
* StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: During the boss fights against Pyramid Head, all your shots ping off his helmet. There's no way to aim ''downwards'' and hit, y'know, his unarmored, seemingly fully vulnerable body.
* SuddenlyHarmfulHarmlessObject: The first Mannequin encountered reacts when James took the flashlight. They'll be frequently appearing afterwards.
* SympatheticMurderer: [[spoiler:James]] arguably qualifies, and [[spoiler:Angela]] definitely qualifies. While [[spoiler:Eddie]] thinks of himself as one, [[spoiler:James]] thinks otherwise.
* SympatheticMurderBackstory: [[spoiler:James smothered his wife to death]]. There are several different factors which drove him to do this, and some of them come across as less than savory, but the overall impression is that [[spoiler:James]] is a desperate and despairing man doing what he feels is the right thing.
* TheNineties: Takes place in '93, according to an online promotional diary for ''[[VideoGame/SilentHillHomecoming SH: Homecoming]]'', though it is never mentioned in game; and even in the diary itself (which, along with the game it promotes, is [[FanonDiscontinuity of dubitable canon]]), the dates are initially crossed out. Nevertheless, the characters' dress, the existence of payphones, and the soundtrack's occasional use of downtempo trip-hop [[PeriodPiece date the game's probable occurrence]] somewhere within that decade.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: The game heavily implies this trope. [[spoiler:When a player returns to the spot where they killed their first monster later in the game, they'll find it surrounded by police tape. Near the end, the motel keeps shifting between {{bizarrchitecture}} and its normal state. The letter from Mary also counts; shortly after James's last encounter with Eddie, the writing vanishes, then the stationery it was written on vanishes, then finally the envelope that contained the letter vanishes.]]
* TogetherInDeath: Monster designer Masahiro Itō [[WordOfGod has confirmed]] (via [[https://www.twitter.com/adsk4/status/196960739410460672?lang=en Twitter]]) that [[spoiler:Mary's dead body was ''in the backseat [[ItWasWithYouAllAlong the whole time]]'']]. This means that, in the "In Water" ending, [[spoiler:James drives her into Toluca Lake ''with'' him, [[BurialAtSea never to be separated again]]. (It can be further inferred from Mary's presence in the car that to complete such a [[MurderSuicide murder-suicide]] was '''[[WhatYouAreInTheDark actually James' initial motivation]]''' for returning to Silent Hill.)]] However, there's no direct evidence supporting [[spoiler:her presence in the car]] in the game itself, with the ending [[spoiler:merely depicting the car sounds and James' internal dialogue over a black screen]]. Nevertheless, that internal dialogue begins with [[spoiler:"Now I understand. The ''real'' reason I came to this town,"]] and ends with [[spoiler:"Now…we can be together."]] It should be noted that the graffiti in the DarkWorld version of Neely's Bar taunts him that he "[[ImGoingToHellForThis might be heading to a different place than Mary]]" (i.e. hell, since [[spoiler:he committed murder and, by that point, has at least considered suicide]]).
* TomatoInTheMirror: [[spoiler:Mary died anywhere from a few hours to a week before the game—from James smothering her with a pillow. James had forgotten he'd done this.]]
* TragicHero: James doesn't technically embody this trope until the end of the game.
* {{Tulpa}}: According to some theories, the existence of the character Maria [[spoiler:can be explained by this concept as an eroticized manifestation of James’ deceased wife]]. She is briefly playable during the Born From A Wish segment included in the re-release, subtitled ''Restless Dreams''—[[spoiler:which subtitle itself is suggestive that she was literally conceived primarily from James’ unconscious desires, specifically his repressed sexual desire concerning his late wife Mary during the progression of her disease. Maria also seems to share some of Mary's own memories apart from James (hence her knowledge about and empathy for Laura), as well as an occasional outburst of the inner [[BastardGirlfriend dominatrix]] (James often perceived Mary in her last years as a [[ManipulativeBastard manipulative bully]], bent on emasculating him). Although Maria physically resembles Mary, their personalities differ starkly; and throughout the game, Maria makes numerous attempts to delineate her individuality and differentiate herself from Mary before James, who is consistently unable to distinguish the two.]]
* UncomfortableElevatorMoment: Specifically when the "Trick or Treat" quiz show randomly plays on James's radio. Maria and James once again show what a comedy duo they would make by their reactions at the end.
* UnexplainedRecovery: [[spoiler:Maria]] reappears in the prison after being fatally impaled by Pyramid Head [[spoiler:in the hospital basement]] with no explanation, apart from insisting [[spoiler:she]] and James were "separated in that long hallway". This is not the last time this happens, either.
* [[UnreliableNarrator Unreliable Character]]: [[spoiler:James repressed his memory about what really happened with his wife.]] Near the end, when the player starts to realize this, [[spoiler:the letter James supposedly received becomes blank, and eventually disappears]].
* UnusableEnemyEquipment: Subverted with Pyramid Head's weapon, the Great Knife. Later in the game, this weapon can be picked up in a room in the labyrinth.
** Played straight with the spear the Great Knife is replaced with.
* VictoriasSecretCompartment: Maria keeps the three keys to a triple-locked door tucked into her short skirt, in her boots, and in her cleavage (in that order). While she's opening the door, James attempts to sneak a peek.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: Very insidious subversion: [[spoiler: Being especially caring and protective toward Maria is the ''wrong'' choice, since she's a demonic creation designed to test how faithful James really is to his quest for Mary.]]
* ViolationOfCommonSense: In the Historical Society, ''repeatedly'': "The hole's dark and I can't see anything. Will you jump down?" If you don't choose "yes", you can't proceed with the game.
* VomitDiscretionShot: The cutscene introducing Eddie features this trope, though the sound of Eddie's spewing works well enough on its own.
* VorpalPillow: [[spoiler:James puts Mary out of her misery this way.]]
* WhamEpisode: Everything from the end of the Labyrinth to the end of the game serves as one long one. To wit: [[spoiler: Eddie goes insane and James is forced to kill him, Maria dies again, Laura reveals Mary didn't die three years ago, Angela states her WhamLine below, and James finally remembers that he killed Mary.]]
* WhamLine: Several.
** When James finally reaches the Hotel, [[spoiler: he speaks to Angela, finding her in a perpetually burning stairwell. What she says as she's leaving reveals a lot about [[PayEvilUntoEvil her character]], but also that each person in Silent Hill experiences their own personal torment- for Angela, she believes that she deserves to burn in hell, so she sees fire everywhere.]]
---> '''[[spoiler: Angela]]''': You see it, too? ...For me, it's ''always'' like this.
** Eddie drops a massive one in James' confrontation with him:
---> '''Eddie''': Don't get all holy on me, James! [[spoiler:This town called you, too!]]
** Again after reaching the Hotel, James meets Laura [[spoiler: and discovers that Mary didn't die three years ago- she died, at the most, a week ago.]]
** After leaving the Apartments, James encounters Laura, who drops this on him as she leaves:
---> '''Laura''': None of your business. You didn't love Mary anyway!
** When James finally reaches the old room he stayed in at the Hotel, [[spoiler: he finds a videotape and plays it. James then is forced to remember that he killed Mary anywhere from a week to a few hours ago, and he tells Laura this as softly as he can.]]
---> '''James:''' [[spoiler: I'm…sorry.…The Mary you know isn't here.]]
* WelcomeToHell: An [[SignsOfDisrepair incomplete]] "[=WELCOME!=]" sign hangs over Road 73.
* WildMassGuessing: How did Eddie get his pizza? The name on the box matches neither of the town's pizzerias. If it was manifested, does it ''taste'' real? If Eddie got Laura '''and''' the pizza on the way to Silent Hill, why isn't ''she'' eating?!
** ([[https://www.twitter.com/adsk4/status/889495703638097922 Possibly]]) [[https://www.twitter.com/adsk4/status/889362982215352324 Jossed]] by monster designer Masahiro Itō on Twitter.
* WombLevel: Players fight the Abstract Daddy boss in a room featuring fleshy, pulsating walls and [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything pistons thrusting in and out of said walls]]. [[{{Squick}} The floor even squishes]] under James' footsteps. The room supposedly represents [[spoiler:Angela's uterus]].
* WorldOfSymbolism: Tons, especially in the enemy designs and also in the characters. Just about everything James sees is an insight into his personality and deepest fears.
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: The final conversation in the "Leave" ending includes such a moment.
--> '''James:''' [[spoiler:The truth is...I ''hated'' you. I wanted you out of the way. I wanted my life back!]]\\
[[spoiler:'''Mary:''' If that were true...then why do you look so sad?]]