Silent Hill (film)

Silent Hill (film)
Silent Hill

Promotional poster
Directed by Christophe Gans
Produced by Samuel Hadida
Don Carmody
Akira Yamaoka
Written by Roger Avary
Starring Radha Mitchell
Laurie Holden
Jodelle Ferland
Alice Krige
Sean Bean
Deborah Kara Unger
Music by Jeff Danna
Akira Yamaoka
Cinematography Dan Laustsen
Editing by Sébastien Prangère
Studio Davis Films
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) April 21, 2006
Running time 125 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million[1]
Box office $97,607,453[1]

Silent Hill is a 2006 horror film directed by Christophe Gans and written by Roger Avary. The story is an adaptation of the Silent Hill series of survival horror video games created by Konami. The film, particularly its emotional, religious and aesthetic content as well as its creature design, includes elements from Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2 and 3. The film also includes some music, such as "Wounded Warsong", from Silent Hill 4: The Room. A game in the series released after the film, Silent Hill Homecoming, incorporates some elements of the film.[2][3]

The film follows a mother, Rose, who takes her troubled adopted daughter, Sharon, to Silent Hill, the town the girl cries out for while sleepwalking. After being unconscious in a car crash outside the town, Rose awakens and is shocked to find Sharon missing and the town engulfed in an alternate reality of fog and falling ash. While searching for Sharon, she faces reality shifts and monsters while uncovering her daughter's connection to the town's past.



Rose (Radha Mitchell) and her husband, Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean), are concerned about their adopted daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who has been experiencing nightmares and sleepwalking while screaming the name of a town, "Silent Hill". Desperate for answers, Rose takes Sharon to Silent Hill. As they approach the town, she is pursued by police officer Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden). A child appears in the road, causing Rose to swerve and crash the car, knocking herself unconscious. When she awakens, Sharon is missing, and fog and falling ash blanket the town.

Rose wanders the empty streets of Silent Hill looking for her daughter and instead encounters monsters which appear after sirens wail. Rose meets a woman named Dahlia Gillespie (Deborah Kara Unger) who speaks of terrible things done to her own daughter, Alessa, by the townspeople and claims that Sharon is Alessa. Rose returns to her car and runs into Cybil, who arrests her. After they discover that the road leading out of town leads to a fracture, they pair up to search the town.

Meanwhile, Christopher also simultaneously scours the town, shown to be abandoned and without mist and falling ash, with the assistance of Officer Thomas Gucci (Kim Coates), who grew up in the town. Christopher discovers documents showing that the town was abandoned after a coal seam fire thirty years ago, along with a photograph of Dahlia's daughter who bears a strong resemblance to Sharon; told to stop investigating under threat of incarceration, he heads home.

Rose and Cybil meet a woman named Anna (Tanya Allen), who leads them to the town church for refuge. As they approach the building, Anna is killed by the monster Pyramid Head (Roberto Campanella). In the church, Rose and Cybil discover a cult, headed by a woman named Christabella (Alice Krige). Christabella tells Rose about a demon, who knows where Sharon is. After convincing Christabella to help them find the demon, who is feared by the townspeople, Rose and Cybil are taken to the town hospital. There, Christabella learns of the likeness between Sharon and Alessa, and condemns Rose and Cybil as witches. Cybil allows herself to be captured by the townspeople in order for Rose to escape and descend into the hospital basement. There, Rose encounters the burned Alessa in a hospital bed and a being in the form of a girl who strongly resembles Sharon.

In a flashback, Rose discovers that Silent Hill had a long history of witch burnings, stemming from the beliefs of the cult. Thirty years prior to Rose's arrival, Alessa was stigmatized for having been born out of wedlock by an unknown father; her schoolmates bullied her, while the adults made no effort to protect her. It is implied that Alessa was raped by the school's janitor during her time there. Dahlia agreed to Christabella's suggestion that she allow the cult to "restore the innocence" in her daughter. When not allowed to follow Alessa into the ritual, Dahlia realized that they intended to kill Alessa and ran to the police. Alessa was subjected to a ritual burning, but in the midst of the ritual, a fire accidentally burst out. When Dahlia returned with the police, Alessa was seriously burned, but alive. While in the hospital, Alessa's pain and rage caused her "dark" side to manifest in the form of a duplicate of herself, who refers to itself as the darkness inside Alessa[4] [5][6]. Alessa then pulled the townspeople into a world of "dark" dreams, corrupted by the injuries that were inflicted on her body.[7] Rose learns that Sharon is the manifestation of Alessa's remaining innocence and goodness. After the flashback, Rose is told that she must aid Alessa in her revenge by granting her entry into the church; she is also told that Christabella will soon find the real Sharon and attempt to burn her as well.

Rose enters the church after Cybil has just been burned to death by the townspeople, and Sharon is about to suffer a similar fate. She confronts Christabella with her knowledge of the truth, attempting to convince the cult that they are in denial of their own fate. Christabella stabs Rose, causing her blood to drip onto the church floor. The blood serves as a portal, through which Alessa rises out of and proceeds to kill Christabella and the townspeople with tendrils of barbed wire, leaving Dahlia, Rose, and Sharon the only survivors.

Rose and Sharon return home; though they are in the same room as Christopher, who has also returned home, they cannot see each other. Rose and Sharon are still trapped within the spiritual realm of Silent Hill.


  • Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva, the desperate mother who seeks a cure for her daughter Sharon's nightmarish sleepwalking by taking her to the town of Silent Hill. Director Christophe Gans said that casting the lead for the film is "a matter of feeling. If you play Silent Hill you know that each character has a very special poetic quality. They are both twisted and sophisticated. We tried to keep that in mind when we did the casting on this film."
  • Sean Bean as Christopher Da Silva, the father of Sharon and husband of Rose who opposes his wife's decision to find answers in Silent Hill. Bean's role in the film was originally kept to the beginning and the end of the movie, but due to studio pressure for a male lead, his role was expanded into a subplot.[8]
  • Laurie Holden as Cybil Bennett, the motorcycle police officer from the city of Brahams who becomes suspicious of Rose and follows her into Silent Hill. Gans cast Holden after seeing her in The Majestic. Gans states, "in [The Majestic], she was beautifully feminine and I cast her so I could show her other side, make her strong and sleek.
  • Deborah Kara Unger as Dahlia Gillespie, the mother of Alessa who walks the foggy dimension of Silent Hill after giving her daughter up for sacrifice.
  • Kim Coates as Officer Thomas Gucci, an essentially kind-hearted police officer jaded and hardened by his experiences at Silent Hill.
  • Tanya Allen as Anna
  • Alice Krige as Christabella, the leader of the cult of Silent Hill. To prepare for her role, Krige read the book The End of Days by Erna Paris, a book about tyranny during the Spanish Inquisition.[9]
  • Jodelle Ferland as Sharon Da Silva, the adopted, troubled daughter of Rose and Christopher, and Alessa Gillespie, the tormented daughter of Dahlia who was burned to death by the cult of Silent Hill. Gans saw Ferland as "the ideal actress" after viewing the television show Kingdom Hospital and her screen test for Terry Gilliam's film Tideland.[10] Lorry Ayers portrays Alessa's older, scarred self.
  • Colin Williams as Archivist
  • Ron Gabriel as Old Mechanic
  • Eve Crawford as Sister Margaret
  • Derek Ritschel as Young Police Officer
  • Amanda Hiebert as Gas Attendant
  • Nicky Guadagni as Distressed Woman
  • Maxine Dumont as Christabella's Aide
  • Christopher Britton as Adam
  • Roberto Campanella as Pyramid Head, a humanoid monster wearing a triangle-shaped helmet who first appeared in Silent Hill 2. He also portrays Colin the Janitor, a school janitor implied to have raped Alessa, appearing as a monster tied up by barbed wire.



Gans attempted for five years to obtain the film rights to Silent Hill from Konami. He sent a video interview to them explaining his plans for adapting Silent Hill and how important the games are to him.[11] They were so impressed, he was rewarded with the film rights. Konami Japan and Team Silent, the development team responsible for the Silent Hill game series, became directly involved with the production of the film from the pre-production stage all the way to the post-production stage. In 2004, Gans and Roger Avary began writing the script, which would be the first film in a series of Silent Hill films.[12]

Silent Hill's screenwriter, Roger Avary, used the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania as an inspiration for the town of Silent Hill;[13] he said that as a boy, his father, who was a mining engineer, used to tell him stories about Centralia, where coal deposits from the local mine caught fire and released toxic gases into the town, as well as creating sinkholes when the abandoned mineshafts and coal seams began to collapse. This forced the town to evacuate forever. Avary was fascinated since childhood by the idea that fires underneath the town would be burning for such a long time.[10] When the script was finished, a studio memo was sent to Gans and Avary that voiced concerns about the lack of a male presence in the film, since the original story contained a nearly all female cast. Gans and Avary added Christopher's character (named after Gans) and subplot and the script was approved.[8]


The film was greenlit on September 19, 2003, and was filmed in both Brantford and Hamilton[14] as well as on soundstages in Toronto in 2005 and on location in Alma College.[15] The film is considered a France-Canada-Japan co-production.[citation needed] Later, American studio Sony bought the distribution rights for $14 million for the United States and Latin America to be released under its TriStar genre film subsidiary.[16]

In order to maintain the feel of the games, Gans had the sound designer of the original Silent Hill, Akira Yamaoka, flown to the set several times.[17] Additionally, Gans had a forty inch television brought onto the set, to which he attached a PlayStation 2; Gans then played the original Silent Hill on the system so that the actors and cinematographers could see how Gans wanted to emulate various camera angles and movements.[17]


The movie was filmed in the Super 35 film format, except the scenes with the darkness, which were filmed in high-definition video,[18] because of its ability to cleanly capture light and digitally manipulate it in post production. The film contains around 107 different sets[19] specifically used to represent the different versions of the town. The bipedal creatures in the film were played by professional actors or dancers covered in latex and makeup. After filming, over 619 visual effects shots were used in the film,[20] with the most prominent uses being the fog that drenches the town, the transitions to darkness, and the insects that surround Pyramid Head. Some of the creatures were also touched up in post-production, with CGI effects such as the burning on the Grey Children, the changes in the dimensions of the Armless creature's legs, the disease that the Janitor spreads, and the barbed wire during Alessa's revenge.

Budgetary concerns caused a few scenes in the film to be rewritten. The meeting of Anna in the film had been envisioned differently. It originally featured Anna being attacked by an injured armless creature, where she is saved by Cybil and Rose. Due to budget concerns, the scene was simplified and rewritten.[8] As well, Gans stated that his original vision of the film's finale revolved around six Red Pyramids appearing inside the church, each carrying a different weapon, and slaughtering the cult members in reference to Dante's Inferno.[8] When budgetary constraints prevented this ending from being filmed, he created the new ending that revolved around the barbed wire slaying of the cult by Alessa, which was inspired by the erotic anime Legend of the Overfiend.[8]

Director Christophe Gans describes the concept of the town's connection to the child Alessa and the cult, "It's a town of people trapped in dark dreams, and she inflicts onto the town what those people did to her body. That is, to me, the meaning of the darkness. The appearance of the town is corrupted in the way that her own flesh was wounded."[21] "It's interesting because the town itself mirrors this fractured psychology—different dimensions, different doubles of the same person."

In speaking about the creatures in Silent Hill, Gans states, "these monsters are [damned], with the poetic direction of the term: they are a little like the Japanese phantoms, i.e. residues of forgotten feelings as strong as hatred or [guilt]."[10] "The monsters in the game are not really monsters, but rather a mockery of human beings. The real monsters are the people, the cultists who tortured Alessa. When I approached the film, I knew that it was impossible to represent the monsters as simply beasts that jump on you."[21]


The film score consists almost entirely of music from Akira Yamaoka's soundtracks to the original four games in the series.[22] The only other piece of music used in the film is Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". Yamaoka's scores were arranged by film composer Jeff Danna (Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Boondock Saints), with some tracks appearing in almost identical form to their in-game counterparts, while others were recreated entirely.


The film was released to theaters on April 2, 2006 in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland. France, Belgium, Hungary, and Greece also saw April releases. The film was later released in 19 other countries in 2006 which include Russia, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, and Mexico.

Critical reception

Advance screenings of Silent Hill were not given to critics by the distributor, and so no reviews could be printed until after the movie's release.[23] Metacritic's average critic's score is 30 out of 100.[24] Rotten Tomatoes reports a 29% rating on the review aggregator, based on 89 reviews.[25][26]

James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film a mildly positive review, awarding it two and a half stars (out of four). Berardinelli said "the film is overlong, with too many unnecessary scenes" and that "a lot of the movie seems like pointless running around", but added that the film "looks great" and that "it packs in a few scary moments and offers a nicely ambiguous conclusion."[27] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one and a half stars (out of four), calling it "an incredibly good-looking film", but said that he "did not understand the story" and criticized how "all through the movie, characters are pausing in order to offer arcane back-stories and historical perspectives and metaphysical insights and occult orientations."[28]

Don R. Lewis of Film Threat praised the film's visuals but said "this entire film is downright confusing and not in an intriguing way", calling it "the best-looking bad film I've ever seen."[29] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a score of D+, saying that "a few of the images are startling" but "Silent Hill is mostly paralyzing in its vagueness."[30]

Dennis Harvey of Variety said that "above-average interest is generated for a time by [the] elaborate visual package", but "in the end, Silent Hill degenerates into an overblown replay of all those Twilight Zone and Stephen King stories in which outsiders stumble upon a time-warped location from which there's no escape."[31] Nathan Lee of the New York Times said, "It begins as a quest, develops into a ghost-town mystery, devolves into a preposterous cautionary tale about witchcraft and religious fundamentalism, and wraps up like the outrageously overwrought fantasy of a movie nerd obsessed with horror who has been given obscene amounts of money to adapt a video game."[32]

The film opened in 2,932 theaters and earned $20 million domestically on its opening weekend and opened at number one at the US box office. As of January 3, 2007 the film has grossed $46 million domestically and $97 million total worldwide.[1] At the DVD domestic sales, the film sold 1,316,169 units in 4 weeks, bringing a profit of $22,149,584[33] , and making the total gross of the film jump to $119,757,037 worldwide.

According to The New York Daily News, the film's poster of a mouthless girl was the subject of some vandalism in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere, with many malefactors drawing cartoon mouths (smiling, screaming, sporting vampire fangs, etc.) or placing stickers where her mouth would be.[34]

Silent Hill is in the top 10 video game film adaptations listing on Box Office Mojo (from 1980 to present). Silent Hill is at #9, behind Resident Evil: Extinction, which grossed domestically $50 million.[35]

Home media

On August 22, 2006, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and TriStar Pictures released the DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD versions of the film in North America. The DVD and Blu-ray were released in both Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 and Pan and Scan versions and both included a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.[36] The releases also included a number of special features, such as film previews and a six part making-of Silent Hill documentary. The film was also released on UMD for Sony's PlayStation Portable on August 22, 2006. There are no special features but the disc includes a 1.78 widescreen format, Dolby Digital 2.0, and subtitles. An HD DVD was released in Germany by Concorde Home Entertainment on August 22, 2007. It contains the film encoded in the VC-1 video codec and also has the main audio track in DTS-HD. It retains the film aspect ratio of 2.35:1.


In December 2006, Christophe Gans confirmed that a sequel was "officially ordered and well on the way."[8] Gans later pulled out and production was delayed for various reasons though Roger Avary initially signed on to write the script.[37][8][38][39][40][41][42][43]

According to producer Don Carmody, the sequel will be more accessible to the movie-going public, commenting,

"Silent Hill is not a blockbuster game like Resident Evil or the other games out there. It's a connaisseurs' game. It has its own, rabid fan base. They're not cheap, these things. You have to appeal not only to the gamers, you have to appeal to a wider audience."

Carmody also stated the film will be set 'years later' with the main character 'much older'.[44]

In November 2010, it was confirmed that Michael J. Bassett will direct the sequel, titled Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. It will center on Heather Mason (a character taken from Silent Hill 3) when she starts having nightmares that lead her to Silent Hill and the mystery of her father's disappearance.[45][46] Bassett revealed he has written his own screenplay, apparently replacing Roger Avary. He added that he would bring back as many of the core creative team as he can from the first film to keep its look and feel but add "more darkness and fear into the mix as well".[47][48] Filming began in March 2011.[49]


  1. ^ a b c "Silent Hill (2006)". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ Haynes, Jeff (2008-05-15). "Silent Hill Homecoming Hands-on". IGN. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  3. ^ Sterling, Jim (2008-08-20). "New Silent Hill: Rubbish Pyramid Head confirmed (also, November release)". Does it Suck? ( Retrieved 2008-10-27. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Bloody Disgusting Interviews Jodelle Ferland". 
  5. ^ "Christophe Gans Production Diary". 
  6. ^ "Jodelle Ferland Radio Interview". 
  7. ^ "Silent Hill Movie Interview: The Director's Cut". 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Prin, Kevin (2006-12-22). "INTERVIEW: CHRISTOPHE GANS (SILENT HILL) PARTIE 1 (French)". DVDRama. 
  9. ^ "Silent Hill – Production Notes". Sony Pictures. 
  10. ^ a b c Ferry, IIan (2006-04-02). "Master Class Silent Hill (French)". Ecranlarge. 
  11. ^ Douglas, Edward (2006-04-20). "Exclusive: Director Christophe Gans". ComingSoon. 
  12. ^ Gans, Christophe (2006-03-10). "Silent Hill – Notes from the director Christophe Gans – "On Preserving and Contributing to the Mythology of the Games, On Interpreting Silent Hill's Monsters"". Sony Pictures. 
  13. ^ "The Real Silent Hill". UGO. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  14. ^ "Internet Movie Database – List of Films shot in Hamilton, Ontario".,+Ontario,+Canada. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b Interview with Akira Yamaoka
  18. ^ Wilson, Stacy (2005-07-17). ""Silent Hill" Interview with director Christophe Gans". About. 
  19. ^ Thorpe, Valarie (2005-07-17). "Really Scary Visits the Set of Silent Hill". Really Scary. 
  20. ^ Bielik, Alain (2006-04-21). "Silent Hill: Nothing Quiet About These Horrifying VFX". VFXWorld. 
  21. ^ a b Bettenhausen, Shane (2006-02-23). "Silent Hill Movie Interview: The Director's Cut". 1UP. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ :: :: Reviews:: Silent Hill (xhtml)
  24. ^ Silent Hill (2006): Reviews
  25. ^ Silent Hill – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes
  26. ^ Silent Hill – Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes
  27. ^ Review by ReelViews
  28. ^ Review by Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times, April 21, 2006
  29. ^ Review by Don R. Lewis Film Threat, April 24, 2006
  30. ^ Review by Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly, April 25, 2006
  31. ^ Review by Dennis Harvey Variety, April 21, 2006
  32. ^ Review by Nathan Lee New York Times, April, 2006
  33. ^ "Silent Hill DVD Sales". The Numbers. 
  34. ^ Dziemianowicz, Joe (2006-04-12). "Read my lips, a film poster inspires self-expression". New York Daily News. 
  35. ^ Box Office Mojo Video Game Adaptations List
  36. ^ Woodward, Tom (2006-06-19). "Silent Hill (US R1 DVD)". DVDActive. 
  37. ^ "Silent Hill 2 News". Shock Til You Drop. 2007-04-22. 
  38. ^ Ryan Rotten (2007-07-18). "EXCL: Avary Skips Trip to Silent Hill 2". Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  39. ^ "Avary and Hadida Returning to Silent Hill". ComingSoon. 
  40. ^ "Silent Hill Sequel Official". 
  41. ^ Roger Avary jailed for tweeting
  42. ^ Alyse Wax. "'Resident Evil: Afterlife' Set Visit: Producer Don Carmody". 
  43. ^ Nick Chester. "Silent Hill 2 film ‘stalled,’ screenplay not finished". 
  44. ^ James Orry. "Silent Hill film sequel to be more accessible". 
  45. ^ "AFM '10: Silent Hill 2 Director Found". 
  46. ^ "Silent Hill Sequel Underway". 
  47. ^ "Michael J Bassett Talks Silent Hill 2". 
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Sean Bean Back For Silent Hill Sequel". Empire. 

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