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Sharon Da Silva wakes up every night screaming about "silent hill". Pursued by a police officer suspicious of her motives and swerving to avoid another child her adoptive mother crashes the car knocking herself unconscious. When Rose Da Silva awakens to find her adopted child is missing, she searches the fog and ash blanketed town for her beloved daughter. Written by
Horror? Try psychological triller and you might be closer to understanding why is it that I found Silent Hill such an amazing piece of work.
With that in mind, the reason why Silent Hill worked for me was because it had a story to tell. Granted some of us are already familiar with the storyline and are frustrated with the pace of the film. Others may gripe at how much of a disappointment the movie was because of the lack of certain monsters, the lack of development in the characters they liked best, the lack of answers to puzzling questions, the fact that the storyline was too convoluted and confusing et cetera et cetera.
Yet, the heart of the film lies mainly on one simple idea - Silent Hill is first and foremost, a physical manifestation of a child's mind that is shattered, tainted and shackled by an abuse so terrible that one is unable to articulate it into words. (Ever wondered why Silent Hill is called "Silent" Hill in the first place? If you think along the lines of language being an ineffective medium in the expression of "truth", *cha-ching*! You're right!)
In this light, I cannot understand why so many people had a problem with the pacing of the movie because in the first place, such apparent "meandering" is necessary to the entire film. And why not? The inability for any one character to get to the heart of the problem is prevalent during the entire narrative framework of the film *No one* character dared to talk about it and those who sought the truth are met with an air of secrecy. The "truth" therefore, is oppressed by a *complete breakdown of words* and all that is left is to "show" and let the people "experience" what had happened themselves. (Such is the path that Rose must take because she "chose" to seek out the truth surrounding her daughter's psychological problem and since language fails in Silent Hill can the "truth" cannot be communicated through "words" it must be "shown".)
The same rule applies to Christopher. He tried to uncover the "truth" but was thwarted by people who are reluctant to talk about the town. Everyone who had prior knowledge of the town was unable or unwilling to describe what happened because they 1) are suppressing their guilt 2) are afraid of opening up a can of worms that is best left forgotten. Even Rose and Cybil are faced with a group of people who were so adamant into seeing things in their point of view that they have "blinded" themselves to the atrocity of what has taken place in Silent Hill. (Notice how most of the monsters i.e. Nurses, Pyramid Head, Janitor, are in a state of blindness? Coincidence? I think not.)
And still at the heart of all THAT, a child's horrifying story is desperately waiting to be told. The meanderings are not meant to be a flaw in the plot, in my opinion, but an attempt to show how the outside world tried to suppress and confine the deepest desire of a little girl
the desire for "truth" to be known. Therefore the "truth" cannot be
"told" because words will ultimately fail in Silent Hill. It must be "shown". That was why Rose had to go through all the various stages of her journey to seek out the "truth". That was why it was crucial the narrative had to be mapped out thus and it reached its summit in the dramatic finale where the fanatics were reluctant to accept the "spoken truth" but was forced to accept it nevertheless through a physical manifestation of "truth" - the manifestation of their past deeds.
Hence in my opinion, this film isn't about monsters, busty characters, bloodshed, storyline or whatever it is that one normally looks out for in a film of this genre. This film is about a little girl's story that is struggling to surface in a world dominated by a viciousness she could not comprehend but fall victim to nevertheless. Think about it. To be thoroughly abused in a world that you never fit in and cannot comprehend. And later to want to seek vengeance for the wrongs that had been done to you but are unable to articulate it into words because there is no one out there who understands or listens to you. The intense hatred due to the complete lack of control that one is forced into, the desire to achieve "satisfaction" at any cost and the obsession with "vengence" - now that's a scary thought for a little girl of 10 to have, wouldn't you say?
So was it good? Heck yeah. And I'm going for another round of this when my next paycheque comes in.
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