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Silent Hill

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
Silent Hill
from Film Forum, 04/27/06

In Silent Hill, this week's shock-treatment horror film, Radha Mitchell (Melinda and Melinda, Man on Fire) plays a mother searching for her little girl (Jodelle Ferland). When the clues lead her to a ghost town, she encounters demonic monsters and horrific revelations.

Christians are more likely to be disturbed by Silent Hill than others, because they'll find that director Christopher Gans has included some grossly distorted portrayals of Christian faith, villainizing the church as a malevolent and manipulative force. And all audiences should be warned that the film is based on a video game that includes graphic scenes of gang rape and violence.

Did I mention that the movie is No. 1 at the box office?

Tom Neven (Plugged In) "More disturbing than this film … is the thought that legions of young people have long been absorbing Silent Hill's sick worldview as they try to master the various levels of four different games. Before the film's arrival, various fan sites on the Internet began buzzing with speculation about it, with some worried that … Gans would not stay true to the dark spirit of the game. One complained that a brutal rape scene involving a bound, gagged and blindfolded woman was to be excluded from the production. … I can credit the filmmakers with that small bit of restraint while simultaneously condemning them for their gangrenous portrayal of religious faith."

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says, "Gans' journey through hell abounds with nightmarish visions worthy of Dante. But in exploring themes of faith, fanaticism and motherhood, the film, which starts out eerily intriguing, eventually descends into confusion and gore. Its perplexing ending will leave you, like the haunted hamlet, in a fog."

Mainstream critics are making plenty of noise about their dislike for Silent Hill.