‘Hill’ far from frightening

We’re on the cusp of the summer movie season, and the studios can taste it. Just look at the way they’re marketing some of the films coming out in the next few weeks. The trailer for “Silent Hill,” the newest release from director Christophe Gans (“Brotherhood of the Wolf”), makes the movie look like one of the scariest since “The Exorcist.” Let’s just say the movie doesn’t exactly live up to its marketing ploy.

The film centers on a young family, the patriarch being Christopher DaSilva (the always reliable Sean Bean) and his much younger wife Rose (Radha Mitchell, “Finding Neverland”). The cute family is complete with their adopted teen daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland in her mainstream cinematic debut). Sharon has a sleepwalking problem, as we find out early on, and when she sleepwalks she screams, “Silent Hill.”

This leads Rose to take Sharon on an excursion to find out more about the mysterious Silent Hill. The movie is marketed as a horror film, but in reality it is far from frightening. At various points throughout the movie, the audience was laughing as if they were watching a comedy – mainly due to some sub-par graphics.

While a respectable job is done on the movie’s monsters, they resemble Gollum without the detail and the limbs. Their scariness is only mediocre at best, but is abruptly ruined about halfway through the movie after a group of them appear to break into a “Thriller”-esque dance sequence. Needless to say, it had the theater in stitches. Listening to the snickers that drifted throughout the theater during the movie, it seemed more appropriate to market this film as a comedy/drama, not a horror movie.

The most interesting and spooky part of the film seems virtually ignored. At times throughout the movie, Christopher and Rose are in the same location but on different planes of reality. They don’t see the other person there, but they are in the same place. The director uses this multiple times, but never explores it beyond a superficial level.

If you haven’t played the video games this film is based on, don’t waste your time and money going to see the movie. However, if you’re a fan of the video game or a brave fan of bad horror, you might find this movie entertaining in this last weekend before finals.

“Silent Hill” is currently in theaters nationwide.

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