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Film / Silent Hill

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"Mother is God in the eyes of a child."

Silent Hill is a 2006 horror film based on the Konami video game series of the same name from director Christophe Gans and writer Roger Avary. It is mainly an adaptation of the first game but also draws inspiration from several other games in the series (notably Silent Hill 2, due to the film's usage of Pyramid Head).

Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) and her husband Christopher (Sean Bean) are disturbed by their adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who is plagued by sleepwalking and nightmares in which she repeatedly shrieks about a town named "Silent Hill". Hoping to find some answers, Rose takes Sharon to Silent Hill, but she crashes her car on the way and awakens to find Sharon missing. She soon finds herself amidst a cult that want to get their hands on Sharon for their own nefarious purposes, and things keep getting worse from there...

A sequel to the film, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, was released in 2012. It was directed by MJ Bassett and based (mostly) on Silent Hill 3, following the adventures of Sharon some years after the events of this film. A third film in the series, an adaptation of Silent Hill 2 under the title Return to Silent Hill, was announced in 2022 with Gans returning to direct.

Tropes specific to this movie:

  • Action Prologue: The film opens with Rose screaming for Sharon as she and Christopher frantically race to find their sleepwalking daughter before she gets hurt. Rose barely reaches her in time to tackle her to safety before she steps off a cliff.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Here, Dahlia is a tragic victim of circumstance who, upon realizing what the cult intends to do, tries to stop them from taking Alessa and burning her nearly to death. In the source material, Dahlia is a senior member of the cult and did the horrible deed herself.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: In the Japanese version, Anna Tsuchiya's "Lovin' You" is used.
  • And I Must Scream: Hung over coals. Not hot enough to set you ablaze, but just enough to literally cook your skin while people stand around and watch. Eeek. Alessa survives this. Cybil doesn't.
  • Arc Words: "Mother is God in the eyes of a child".
  • Asshole Victim: Colin, Christabella, and her fellow cultists (with the debateable exception of Anna, who was born in the Fog World and has no way of knowing that Alessa was ever anything other than a monster).
  • The Bad Guy Wins: It's debatable whether Alessa is really the "bad guy" considering that the people she's fighting are the film's Greater-Scope Villain, but she's definitely not morally innocuous given her willingness to harm the innocent, and her actions lead directly to the Downer Ending mentioned below.
  • Big Bad: Christabella, the cult leader who is responsible for Silent Hill's Eldritch Location status.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Latin above the mural in the church says "O Lord God Almighty, in whose hand all victory rests." In the end, Christabella and her fellow cultists are far from victorious.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: Christabella and her cultists see the world in black and white, refusing to understand how horrible their own deeds are or that the hellish state of the world they live in is their own fault.
  • Body Horror: Most of the monsters that appear are pretty horrific although they are all based on the video game monsters save Colin the Janitor - who it is hinted either molested or raped Alessa leading to him now being strung up by barbed wire, tying his legs to his head, more barbed wire going into his eyes, and he is forced to crawl around on his hands and genitals.
    • The fate of Christabella and the cult members is grisly.
    • Alessa's massive burn trauma.
  • Burn the Witch!: Essentially the cult's modus operandi. Originally used on Alessa, sparking the events of the movie, and then used on pretty much everyone else because it worked so well the first time.
  • Camera Abuse: Pyramid Head flinging Anna’s skin at the church doors has the blood splatter onto the camera.
  • Canon Immigrant: The transformation effect from when the world transits to another plane of reality was used in games after the film's release.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Turned on its head as almost everyone but Sean Bean and Kim Coates die.
  • Convection Shmonvection: While exploring underground, Rose holds her hand right above her lighter's flame to protect it from dripping water. You wouldn't be able to do that for more than a few seconds in real life.
    • Dramatically averted with Alessa and Cybil. Both are held above a large bonfire, rather than being put directly inside of it. Although Cybil eventually bursts into flame anyway due to the heat.
  • Creepy Child: Dark Alessa is the most obvious example, but Sharon also has her moments, like when she falls into unconsciousness and starts scribbling in her Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book. The combined Alessa/Sharon at the end of the movie isn't quite as overtly frightening as Dark Alessa, but she's subtly disturbing in her own way. Alessa's classmates are also disturbing, physically assaulting her and screaming insults at her on a daily basis.
  • Creepy Cockroach: Or rather, cockroach-like monsters with screaming human faces on their underside.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The first Cult member seen in the film has been crucified and left to slowly die in the town's Hellish Otherworld.
    • Cybil is very graphically burned alive, gasping for her mother.
    • Anna, a member of the Cult who was probably born after the events that led to the town's current state, is literally skinned alive by Pyramid Head. Even the sounds make her death disturbing.
    • Colin, a janitor who is implied to have sexually abused Alessa, was killed offscreen before the events of the film. Even though we don't see it, his death apparently involved barbed wire, an IV drip stand, and lots of screaming.
    • Christabella and the rest of her Cult are killed in a barbed wire assault on the church toward the end of the movie, after Rose is able to break down their faith and smuggle Dark Alessa into the building. One Cultist is crushed to paste by the living wire coils, and Christabella (the Cult's leader) is subjected to a Groin Attack that quickly tears her in half from the inside.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • The hospital sequence with Alessa and Dark Alessa likely symbolically represents this, although Dark Alessa is not actually the devil.
    • To save her daughter, Rose lets Dark Alessa hitch a ride inside her body into the church, knowing she'll slaughter the cultists. This sequence is actually far more likely to represent the Virgin Mary being impregnated by the Holy Ghost, given the several connections between Rose and the Virgin Mary made throughout the film, including an image engraved on her necklace.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Rose to Harry; the director changed the main character's gender because he felt like the main character of the video game was very feminine already because he cared about his daughter enough to look for her. He also felt Silent Hill was a matriarchal world, and wanted to hold true to that theme.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Anna, a younger member of the Cult, hears the Otherworld alarm go off but still chooses to waste precious time yelling at/battering Dahlia Gillespie, who she knows to be the mother of "the Dark One" instead of rushing to safety. While her mother blames Anna's inevitable and horrific death on the protagonists, even Christabella (the head of the Cult) seems to recognize that Anna's own foolish actions led to her death and calms the mob.
  • Downer Ending: Rose is stuck in the Silent Hill version of her home while her husband is not. They are literally in the same room at the same time but in different worlds.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: A recurring theme of this movie. See Arc Words.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: The burned Alessa in the otherworld has become, essentially, a type of demon given over to hate and rage.
  • Evil Versus Evil: An evil cult vs. evil entity they've accidently released. Rose and Cybil end up caught up in the crossfire.
  • Fair Cop: Cybil Bennett is normally this in the video games. As portrayed here by a Hell-Bent for Leather Laurie Holden, she does not disappoint.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Unlike her video game counterpart, Alessa didn't seem to have any particularly dangerous abilities before being burned alive. An early deleted scene may have showed her controlling butterflies to make them move in an unusual pattern, but there's a big difference between that and turning an entire town into a living hell.
  • Ghibli Hills: Inverted, but technically counts. The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous, and actually look like what Silent Hill might look like in real life.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Cybil hastily sheds her police helmet and jacket after the Armless Man spews corrosive spray all over her.
  • God Is Displeased: The end of Rose's scathing speech toward Christbella carries this remark when she condemns everyone in the church for their crimes against Alessa:
    Rose: Your faith brings death! You are alone in this limbo, and God is not here.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Alessa is behind all of the horrible things that go bump in the night in Silent Hill, but she's only created her nightmare world to punish the cultists who attempted to kill her.
  • Groin Attack: Christabella gets a gruesome one before she is ripped in half, courtesy of Alessa's barbed wire.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Downplayed with Cybil who has shades of this, being an cynical but idealistic police officer with a butch-like appearance, who gets burnt at the stake for being an accomplice to Rose (who is implied to be Catholic) because she was accused by the Brethren (a Neo-Manichean cult similar in style to a Protestant church conducting colonial era witch trials) of being a witch due to being Sharon's adopted mother. Cybil during her final moments subtly speaks aloud to her late mother, implying that she regained her Christian faith in an afterlife (that according to older drafts of the movie's script, she previously lost early in life because of her faithful mother's death from a deliberating illness).
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Played With and partially Subverted with Cybil, who after fighting off Christabella's henchmen with her police baton to buy Rose time to escape(after being accused of witchcraft) pulls out her gun to shoot Christabella, which turned out to be empty and Cybil moments later smiles and stoically lets the cult members seemingly beat her to death. Though sometime later she wakes up alive tied to a tall wooden ladder, which gets lowered into a bonfire, resulting in Cybil dying a far more agonising death than she anticipated during her initial surrender (though she does calmly speak to her late mother before catching alight, suggesting that she felt certain in her final moments about reuniting with her in heaven).
  • The Heavy: Sure, it turns out that she's just a little girl who was seriously abused and then nearly killed by religious fanatics, but throughout most of the movie, Alessa Gillespie is undeniably the primary antagonist, and even after the end she still continues to cause trouble.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Sharon being seconds away from throwing herself off a cliff and into a world of doom is enough of fears already, not to mention the transition to the otherworld, but for some strange and possibly disturbing reason, we have to hear a disturbing voice in the background in both the opening of the film, and during the otherworld transition at the Church, and what makes it more compelling is that the moan was never heard in any of the video games it was based on.
    • Also the humming that is heard throughout Rose's time in the otherworld.
    • Pyramid Head's voice would also be the case for this trope. Hearing him growl can make you quickly remember what it is you were running from in the beginning.
    • Some of the songs and music from Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 count for this as well as hearing something as frightening as the music is sure to send your bladder on overdrive just listening to it.
    • The Air Raid Siren may count for this as well considering that when you hear it going off, you only have one option and that's pretty much to fucking run for your life even though you're pretty much screwed already.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cybil holds off the cultists, allowing Rose to reach the elevator and escape.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Christabella's cult, Colin the janitor, and Alessa's classmates are shown to be this, even more monstrous than the actual monsters in the town.
  • I Have Many Names: Alessa's Dark Side tells this to Rose.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Although Christopher's decision to have Sharon institutionalized comes across as harsh, Sharon had just sleepwalked out of their house, past a busy highway, and nearly off a cliff before they found her. Her parents' behavior suggests that it's not the first time she sleepwalked into a dangerous situation, and it's hardly like they would have left the doors unlocked. Institutions are built and actively monitored to keep patients from wandering at night.
  • Karmic Death: Christabella as well as most of the people inside the Church get torn into pieces from the inside by demonic barbed wires controlled by the very child whose life they had turned into a living hell all those years ago
  • Kids Are Cruel: Alessa's classmates relentlessly bullied her, right down to simply beating her.
  • Literal Split Personality: Alessa is split into three beings: her adult body, her good side (Sharon), and her dark side (Dark Alessa).
  • Marionette Motion: The crowd of "nurses" moves as if being filmed in stop-motion.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: To contrast the Dark World with the regular version, Rose's husband is shown wandering the same (non-Dark) parts of Silent Hill as Rose.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The opening scene has a good looking blonde running around in skimpy shorts and thin tank-top with no bra on an apparently chilly night.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dahlia, after she let her own daughter to be burned at a stake by the cult, but it's too late by then. She is ultimately driven insane by the remorse.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: After failing her daughter Alessa so long ago, Dahlia gets a second chance when she finds Sharon in Silent Hill. In her insanity, she seems to think Sharon is Alessa at first, though by the end of the film she seems to realize otherwise She hides her away and protects her from Christabella and the cult members. When the cult tracks them down, she actually physically attacks the members, trying to keep them from taking Sharon. Her actions give Rose enough time to enact revenge upon the cultists.
  • No Mouth: One of the posters featured Jodelle Ferland without a mouth.
  • Not a Zombie: Cybil tries to get a zombie-like creature to lie down by waving her gun at it. This is made worse by the fact that it doesn't even look vaguely human. However, after the first encounter, Cybil very quickly embraces all the supernatural around her.
  • Pipe Pain: The Gas Mask Mooks are armed with pipes to fight any monsters they come across.
  • Police Are Useless: Averted even since it was based off of the video game franchise where most of the time Cybil is practically just a cop, but in the film it is treated rather differently as she seems to help Rose only after the fact she's nearly bisected, beheaded, and face grabbed by Pyramid Head along with Rose does she finally realize Rose wasn't lying when she said Cybil had no idea what she was doing... and she was definitely right.
  • Real-Place Background: Some of the outdoors scenes were shot in the downtown section of Brantford, Ontario. A local joke is that all the set dressers had to do was add garbage cans and ask everyone to leave for a few days.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Downplayed, despite providing the current page image. Cybil is more of an asskicker than Rose, sure, but that has less to do with the fact that Rose wears a dress and Cybil wears pants than it does that Rose is a civilian who carries a flashlight while Cybil is a cop who carries a gun. And a flashlight.
  • Religion of Evil: The cultists lead by Christabella follow what seems to be a twisted dualism dominated by Black-and-White Insanity and obsessive about purity, with no trace of love, compassion or forgiveness.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After hitching a ride within Rose, Dark Alessa is able to sneak into the Order's church, and proceeds to brutally massacre almost everyone and everything in sight.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Quite a bit of it, since this is a Silent Hill movie. Most obvious is the fact that Rose's dress slowly changes from a soft blue to a deep, blood red as the movie progresses. The differing worlds and most of the characters also carry metaphorical comparisons to Christian beliefs, and Dahlia represents Cassandra from Greek mythology.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: All of Alessa's appearances save for one scene immediately before she is burned alive, when she's wearing a white dress feature her dressed in a blue school uniform similar to the one worn by her video game counterpart.
  • Shadow Archetype: Dahlia to Rose. Both love their daughters who are technically the same person, and both (to varying degrees unwittingly) brought them to the cult, but where Dahlia was weaker and only managed to fetch the police too late, Rose personally fights to save her daughter before they can burn her alive,even if it means helping Alessa's dark side to kill the cultists.
  • Shaming the Mob: Attempted by Rose, who fails to keep the mob from nearly killing her, but does cause them recognize subconsciously that they've done something wrong. Given that their sense of self-righteousness is all that's keeping the chaos outside from getting into their church, this is all that it takes to stop them permanently.
  • "Shut Up!" Gunshot: Cybil fires in the air to stop the entire mob of locals using her final round for it.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: Pyramid Head is dragging his giant cleaver behind him. The scrapping announces his presence before he can be even spotted.
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted. When Pyramid Head attacks our heroes in a small room, Cybil shoots him. Rose clutches her ears.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Cybil. Rather than get into the elevator with Rose, she stays behind to ostensibly hold off the cultists...except there's very little the cultists could do to stop the elevator once the door was closed. It seems that the time they used burning her before Rose ended up saving Sharon, but there was no way Cybil would have known that at the time.
  • Toilet Horror: A memorable scene takes place in a bathroom in which janitor monster resides.
  • Trailers Always Lie: In one part of the previews for the movie it showed Alessa saying in a demonic voice "I am the reaper." She does say it, just in her regular speaking voice.
  • Treacherous Spirit Chase: Rose is spurred further into the obviously treacherous town by fleeting sightings of Alessa, who looks identical to her missing daughter Sharon.
  • Undignified Death: While horrifying to the audience, this is Alessa's apparent intention in killing Christabella by raping her to death with barbed wire after she begged God to "keep her pure".
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: "Did you see that Alessa was a good little girl?" "They should have known better than to hurt her so badly."
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Of the two outsiders, Cybil, the no nonsense cop, ultimately is roasted alive by the cult.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Pyramid Head is only wearing his short apron.
  • Walking Wasteland: Colin the Janitor. He tries to walk... but every thing he touches rots away
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Cybil eventually runs of bullets, but she and Rose are the only people aware of it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Pyramid Head shows up during the school scenes and is last seen skinning Anna and is never mentioned again. He was meant to reappear during the climax, but was cut due to budgetary limitations.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The cultists. The entire plot of the film is set off by their past decision to burn Alessa, and after discovering Sharon, they tie her to a ladder and attempt to burn her alive as well.
  • You Can See That, Right?: While Silent Hill is in its dark alternate world form, Rose and the police officer Cybil Bennett are pursued by Pyramid Head, who tries to break into the room they're hiding in. Eventually the town returns to normal and the pair leave the room. Cybil says to Rose "You saw that, right? That was real?"