To date, the only video game-based movie I've enjoyed was the first Resident Evil movie. I had high hopes for Silent Hill -- filled with creepy atmosphere and strange monsters -- but it turned out to be another disappointment.

Rose (Radha Mitchell) is worried about her young daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who has been sleepwalking and saying the words "Silent Hill." Using logic only found in horror movies, Rose decides the best way to help her daughter is to drive her to Silent Hill, an abandoned town with a mysterious past.

After a run-in with motorcycle police officer Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden), Rose and Sharon reach Silent Hill, swerve, and are knocked out. When Rose awakens Sharon is gone, so Rose (and later Officer Bennett) go exploring the town to find Sharon. This consists of running after a little girl who looks like Sharon, and fighting or fleeing monsters.

Silent Hill has a subplot where Rose's husband Chris (Sean Bean) learns about the town's history, but the movie is all about monsters and puzzles. I've never played the Silent Hill videogames, but after seeing the movie I feel like I have. The characters find clues, meet other characters who provide handy exposition, and run away from monsters ranging from burning zombie babies to a pyramid-headed creature with massive swords.

Silent Hill would have been better if it didn't feel so artificial. The color scheme of Silent Hill alternates between pale and snowy and rust-red and hellish, but that gets repetitive fast. Rose continually shouts out for her daughter, even when she knows about the town's monsters and spends a lot of time avoiding them. The transitions (usually marked by a loud siren) feel like new levels in a video game, and a plot point involving religious zealots becomes merely another form of monster. Characters are one-dimensional, while some of the creatures are freaky they become repetitive after a while. DVD extras are pretty standard "making-of" features. Silent Hill has a few decent moments but it is ultimately a superficial movie, satisfying only people who want to see the video game brought to life.

Overall grade: D
Reviewed by James Lynch

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