4.22.2006

The Vomit Meows Like a Kitten in a Fish Tank...

That title retains all of the logic of the battle of non sequiturs known as Silent Hill, a new horror release that continues to prove that it's possible for inanity to reach a new peak. Of course I did say vomit, and that part does make a little sense, but I don't mean vomit in the "gross" connotation. Actually, if Silent Hill had been more gross, I'd probably be rating it a little higher, but I'll come back to that in a minute.

Vomit is essentially a substance that doesn't have any order to it; it is chaos in hot swill form, and its appearance is generally undesirable. Silent Hill actually happens to be good looking vomit, though, like the kind you get when you eat food that turns it pretty colors. The kind that makes you go "man, puking really sucks, but look at how the hues swirl together when I flush! At least there is that!" The problem is, even pretty vomit is still vomit, and puking still sucks.

You notice how I have not even attempted to describe the plot so far. Well, don't get your hopes up, because I'm not going to try too hard. It's not for lack of wanting to, it's simply because it would be like asking me to remove a giant wad of bubblegum from the coat of a wooly mammoth; it would be tedious and pointless, if not impossible. It doesn't help that the plot has about as much coherence as the twisted creatures walking through the town of the film's namesake, creatures who have the ability to look like walking uteruses trying to give birth to themselves. If that didn't make sense to you, then you will sort of know what it was like to watch this movie.

So here is my bravest attempt to describe what "basically" happens in Silent Hill. There is a little girl who has recently taken to frightening bouts of sleepwalking, and in the midst of these episodes talks about a place called *gasp* Silent Hill. Her adoptive mother decides to cement her Mother of the Year status by doing what any sane, rational parent would do: Pack up the kid and take her to this place. When she wrecks her car and gets knocked out for awhile, Super Mom wakes up to find her daughter missing, and from that point on the film takes us into a nebulous cloud of "what the fuck??". What's not helping this equation in the slightest is that the actress playing the little girl makes Keanu Reeves look like Lawrence Olivier in terms of acting ability, and that by the time she actually turns up missing, we're just relieved to not have her in the picture for the next 90 minutes. All manner of absurdity occurs that I am incapable of revealing at this point, but there were a few highlights:

- a full-body degloving of the film's most annoying character. Don't worry, you'll be able to pick her out relatively quickly, and you'll cheer when it happens.

- the visceral ripping apart of a religious fanatic, which is always a pleasure to see. (make a note that this is about as bloody as the film gets and neither of those things happen until well into the second half of the film).

- a slight, albeit unintentional, resurrection of the classic Michael Jackson video Thriller.

Perhaps the most egregious offense of Silent Hill, however, was its attempt to salvage the plot by pointless explanation after pointless explanation. If they had only realized from the beginning that we don't really CARE about all that, then they could have just focused on the whole "horror" thing. The filmmakers were so concerned that we understand every aspect of this movie that they stopped about three-quarters of the way through to sort of bring everyone up to speed with a film-stock "flashback", almost as a way of saying: "I know you've been sitting here waiting for the caffiene from that mostrous Coke you're drinking to kick in so you don't fall asleep, so we're just gonna tell you why the last hour and a half HASN'T been a gargantuan waste of your time, and we hope you won't be disappointed!"

Don't worry. You will be.

You know, this review is getting a little long, and I know I've said a lot. But I've also said absolutely nothing. That is the essence of Silent Hill. There is so much more that could have been said. I could have quoted choice bits from the underwheliming dialogue, and I haven't even gotten to the parts of the movie involving the father of the little girl and the gratuitous "twist ending" that basically tasted like a bile chaser to a poop cocktail, but that would just take too long.

Either way, I hope I've captured the essence of the latest addition to the "movies based on popular video games that make you wonder why they keep bothering with this genre" collection.

Don't climb this hill. Just. Don't.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks!

    I'm glad to have more reasons to have not seen this film. Maybe it would have been better if you had the same distractions I enjoyed when I was watching THE BENCHWARMERS yesterday. I was so sad that none of the younger folks in attendance could recognize the original Batmobile from the first TV series, among many other things. They would have enjoyed the movie a lot more if they didn't have to wonder why I was laughing so much more than they were.

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  2. You know, Allie - I sat through this movie with you and after reading this review, I feel like a hostage survivor who has just seen a fellow captive recount the whole harrowing experience on an unedited segment of Nightline. I can say without hyperbole that you have just captured in two minutes what took me two unretrievable hours to experience for myself and I'm only sorry that I didn't have your wisdom before going to see this picture (to call it either a "movie" or a "motion picture" would imply some sort of movement or direction, which were both notably absent on screen). Still, it almost makes up for it reading your brutally honest and colorful interpretation.

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  3. I was about to say, "wasn't this movie based on a video game? well there ya go." and then YOU said it. So, nevermind. You already made my point. :-)

    And now I know I'm definitely not seeing this one.

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  4. Another thing about this that=bad movie mojo: NOT SCREENED FOR CRITICS.
    :-)

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