The Silent Hill movie is controversial and largely unaccepted by fans of the Japanese computer game of the same name. The film really does not correspond to the game in many ways and is rather an independent product. So what is the point of the Silent Hill movie?
It is worth noting that the film is not at all as simple as it seems. Several realities coexist in it and the action takes place in two time periods.
What is the movie “Silent Hill” about?
The structure of the film is very complex, there are several lines, several time periods, but the plot is quite exciting. The girl arrives with her daughter in a special city, but along the way she gets into an emergency. Mom is unconscious, and Sharon disappears. The mother, along with the policeman, tries to find the girl, but in Silent Hill they meet a crazy woman who also lost her daughter. It turns out that Silent Hill is completely overrun by monsters, you have to constantly escape. In the film itself, the roles of monsters were played by real actors, but computer graphics were also used.
Christopher, the father, also leaves in search of his wife and daughter, but it already turns out in a different reality. A man walks along the same streets, but he can never meet his wife or daughter. Thus, they learn that there is a special community of believing fanatics, led by Christabel. She also learns the story of the girl that the fanatics tried to burn, as a result, the girl’s soul was divided into a dark and a light side. The light side has moved into her daughter, the dark side of Alice is able to assist in the search for her daughter, but in return she must destroy these fanatics. However, Christabel found the girl earlier and tries to set her on fire. Cybill becomes the first victim, Christobel, in turn, pierces Rose with a knife, but the woman loses consciousness. A woman with her daughter is in a hurry to return home, but she still cannot meet her husband.
This film is based on the game known in Japan, but there are some inconsistencies here. Silent Hill has a very deep meaning, for example, the authors were able to reveal several themes – hatred, love, faith, revenge and motherhood. In the picture, first of all, you can show love and hate. Also, the boundless love of the mother is especially shown here, she is not afraid of monsters, she overcomes any hatred.
The meaning of the movie “Silent Hill”
The reality in which Alessa exists is suppressed by her, as if it burns and devours the city with its inhabitants from the inside. The idea of pain and revenge is present in the film and is revealed through the main characters.
But the meaning of the movie “Silent Hill” is not only the power of hatred, the motive of love is just as strong. The mother’s endless love for her daughter is shown in the film. Rose is ready to do anything to get back and protect her daughter. She will not back down and will not succumb to nightmarish obstacles.
The power of faith, the power of a thoughtless cult, is also raised as a theme of the film. What is a person willing to do for the sake of his blind faith? Is it possible to kill a helpless girl with impunity? The director of the picture tells the audience: “no.” Any evil will be punished.
The city and its citizens, who allowed to offend the child, cause him suffering, are doomed to eternal torment. No wonder the city looks so much like hell. This is hell for all those who are in this place and will never be able to leave it. The ghost town won’t let anyone back out.
At that moment, when it seems that the so-called “good” has triumphed, the inhabitants were punished. And the mother and daughter are reunited and ready to go home to the father of the family, the finale of the film still remains open.
The meaning of the Silent Hill ending is that Rose and Sharon never returned home. It is not entirely clear what happened to the main characters. Perhaps, having got into an accident, they crashed and died. Or once in Silent Hill there can be no way back.
The viewer at some point realizes that he sees not the heroines in front of him, but rather their souls, who want to return home and reunite with Christopher. The worlds in the film double again. Christopher remains in the present reality, and Rose and Sharon, when they return home, cannot find their husband and father there. The characters are nearby, but cannot see each other. The only thing they have is a sense of closeness and undying hope.
One of the questions of the film: “What is evil and what is good?” If we answer this question, then we will understand that there is no goodness in its purest form in the film. But there is justice, there is faith in love.
Self-sacrifice and willingness to help are important qualities that Sybil showed in relation to people she did not know. Maternal care and willingness to fight for her child are traits for which viewers respect Rose.
The suffering and pain that Alessa endured returned to her tormentors, which means that even in a dark world there is justice.
“Silent Hill” ending explained
Let’s start with the interpretation and explanation of the plot. The clue lies in the fact that the real events with Rose occur only up to the moment of the accident. The meaning is that Rose and her daughter died, and ended up in Alessa’s personal purgatory, which she arranged in the city. All events that are accompanied by falling ash are Rose’s afterlife.
Here she is looking for her daughter, because during her lifetime she had no children of her own. However, the girl’s soul belongs to Alessa. Therefore, in order to free her, you need to help her commit revenge. All further events are built precisely to achieve this goal.
Christoph’s story takes place in real life. Here he lost his wife and daughter. The movie “Silent Hill” does not give an explanation of what exactly happened to them, but the fact that they died is beyond doubt.
The story of Officer Bennet also happens to her after death. Cybill died in a motorcycle crash. Rose sees her transport as it leaves the cursed city. However, even after death, Cybill tries to help and find the child even in the afterlife.
In short, the ending unequivocally indicates that the souls of Rose and Sharon have returned home. This is the only explanation of the ending that every viewer can understand. Christoph feels them, but does not see them. However, the hidden meaning of the film “Silent Hill” requires a more detailed analysis. At the end, we are told the real history of the city.
Witches were burned in Silent Hill, which led to the birth of a religious cult. These are real fanatics who chose a girl born out of wedlock as their victim. It is likely that one of the ancestors of Alessa possessed magical abilities that manifested themselves after the rite of purification.
In fact, this girl burned the city with her hatred, but she could not get to her offenders. Then she flooded the city with nightmares, turning it into her crazy toy. The point here is that evil done always begets evil. Alessa only wanted to deal with the people who hurt her, but she couldn’t do it on her own. Sharon was always drawn to the city, but she did not understand why.
At the end of the film, the dark side of Alessa remained in Purgatory, and she herself completely became her Light Half and left the cursed city forever to find peace in the ghostly world. By the way, this is not the end of the story, because there is a second part of Silent Hill. The meaning of the continuation is by reference.
Silent Hill Movie Analysis
Let’s analyze the main symbolic moments of the film, and also see what references to the original game are present in this film masterpiece.
1) On the movement of the city and the prototypes
In the movie, the city of Silent Hill was moved to West Virginia (it’s near Washington), Toluca County (in fact, such a county does not exist). The name of the county is a reference to the name of the lake from the second part of the game, but West Virginia has nothing to do with the game and is connected with the following story: the fact is that, while making inquiries about the abandoned cities of America, screenwriter Roger Avery accidentally found out about the town of Centralia “in Pennsylvania, which became the prototype of the city’s history in the film (I wonder why it was impossible to once again please the fans and take the history of the city FROM THE SOURCE GAME as a base for writing the story of Silent Hill in the film!?).
The fact is that from 1981 to the present day, the population of the city has decreased from 1000 to 11 people as a result of an underground fire, flared up in 1962 (when coal caught fire in a mine located under the city), which has been lasting for more than 40 years and cannot be extinguished. The problem “came out” when, in the 70s and 80s, due to the aggravation of the scale of the underground fire, the entire city began to fill with smoke, and also began to appear ground subsidence, forming abysses hundreds of feet deep, which necessitated the relocation of the city’s residents to another locality. As the filmmakers themselves admit, they borrowed the history of the city from Centralia (which is why there are so many coincidences – an underground fire that started in the 60s, abysses, abandonment), but they indicated “Silent Hill” as the name, and changed Pennsylvania as the location to West Virginia solely for reasons of legality ( lasting for more than 40 years and not amenable to extinguishing.
The problem “came out” when, in the 70s and 80s, due to the aggravation of the scale of the underground fire, the entire city began to fill with smoke, and also began to appear ground subsidence, forming abysses hundreds of feet deep, which necessitated the relocation of the city’s residents to another locality. As the filmmakers themselves admit, they borrowed the history of the city from Centralia (which is why there are so many coincidences – an underground fire that started in the 60s, abysses, abandonment), but they indicated “Silent Hill” as the name, and changed Pennsylvania as the location to West Virginia solely for reasons of legality ( lasting for more than 40 years and not amenable to extinguishing. The problem “came out” when, in the 70s and 80s, due to the aggravation of the scale of the underground fire, the entire city began to fill with smoke, and also began to appear ground subsidence, forming abysses hundreds of feet deep, which necessitated the relocation of the city’s residents to another locality.
As the filmmakers themselves admit, they borrowed the history of the city from Centralia (which is why there are so many coincidences – an underground fire that started in the 60s, abysses, abandonment), but they indicated “Silent Hill” as the name, and changed Pennsylvania as the location to West Virginia solely for reasons of legality ( when, in the 70s and 80s, due to the aggravation of the scale of the underground fire, the entire city began to fill with smoke, and subsidence began to appear, forming abysses hundreds of feet deep, which made it necessary to relocate the inhabitants of the city to another area. As the filmmakers themselves admit, they borrowed the history of the city from Centralia (which is why there are so many coincidences – an underground fire that started in the 60s, abysses, abandonment), but they indicated “Silent Hill” as the name, and changed Pennsylvania as the location to West Virginia solely for reasons of legality ( when, in the 70s and 80s, due to the aggravation of the scale of the underground fire, the entire city began to fill with smoke, and subsidence began to appear, forming abysses hundreds of feet deep, which made it necessary to relocate the inhabitants of the city to another area.
As the filmmakers themselves admit, they borrowed the history of the city from Centralia (which is why there are so many coincidences – an underground fire that started in the 60s, abysses, abandonment), but they indicated “Silent Hill” as the name, and changed Pennsylvania as the location to West Virginia solely for reasons of legality (“While we had no intention of keeping the “Centralia” name, we used the town and its history as the basis for our ‘real world’ Silent Hill, changing the state to West Virginia for legal reasons” – admits Hans)
2) About fog, snow, abysses and a siren
In the film, the creators offer us a rather original explanation of fog, snow, abysses and a siren, which is strikingly different from the concept of the original game.
- the “snow” falling in the foggy world is the ashes from the fire (remember the scene when Rose takes the “snowflake” in her hand and says that it is ashes)
- impenetrable fog – a reflection in the foggy world of smoke covering the city after an underground fire. Let me remind you that now everywhere in the city there is poisonous smoke, why Christopher and Gucci wear masks, and cult members in the foggy world also wear special clothes. As you know, the idea with smoke was borrowed from the history of the city of Centralia.
- the siren is actually emitted by an alarm at the top of the church, which is designed to warn members of the sect about the imminent arrival of Darkness. This is clearly evidenced by the scene when we first see the church – the pipes emitting the sound of a siren are located directly under the cult “cross”.
- Because the image of the city in the game was largely based on Centralia, then the idea and essence of the “chasms” on the roads intersect with the history of the city of Centralia, where settlements in the ground also occurred as a result of an almost 40-year underground fire. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that these abysses IN THE FILM are present only in the “foggy world” and disappear after Alessa was avenged, which allows us to put forward a version that in the concept of the film the abysses are an element of the “other world” – a reflection of ideas Alessa about what collapses could have occurred in the city as a result of a 40-year underground fire.
As we can see, the creators, having borrowed certain game elements, give them slightly different interpretations in the film. Pretty interesting…
3) On the meaning of bars, wires and fire
In the “other world” presented in the film, we encounter such elements of this reality as lava, bars and barbed wire. Despite the fact that it seems plausible that these elements of the other world were simply borrowed from the original game and do not carry any clear connotations, the fans of the film have the following interpretation: lava and fire – burn, and the presence such things in the “other world” are connected with the fate of Alessa; bars and barbed wire, in turn, are symbols of the girl’s lack of freedom (thanx 2 V-Raptor).
4) Sign on a billboard
Near DaSilva’s house, you can see a billboard in the form of a book with a quote from the Bible: “Do you not know that we will judge angels? Do you not know that the saint will judge the world?” ( “Do you know that we will judge the angels? Do you know that the saints will judge the world?” ). In the context of the film, this quote takes on a special meaning if we remember that religious fanatics really judged the “angels” – the innocent girl Alessa, christening her a witch.
5) Sharon’s pictures
The moment when Sharon begins to redraw her pictures, making them dark and scary, can be regarded as a manifestation of Alessa’s hidden memories in her. In all the pictures, we see how some dark figures are holding a little girl – this symbolizes the members of the sect who grabbed Alessa to burn the “witch”.
6) White Noise
It is noteworthy that Christopher cannot see Rose, who is in the “foggy world”, but she can call her husband even from there – however, in this case, Christopher will hear his wife’s voice very indistinctly, accompanied by terrible interference (as James hears the voice deceased wife on the radio in SH2). This is a reference to the theory of “white noise”, according to which the dead can communicate with the living through radio and video equipment.
Please note that when Rose calls her husband after entering the foggy world in the middle of the film – Christopher hears Rose’s voice indistinctly and with noise, and at the end of the film, when Rose tries to call her husband from the foggy world (when she returns home) – her voice is no longer at all heard over the noise. This may indicate that the “other world” is gradually absorbing the heroine, cutting off her contacts with the outside world.
7) Religion and school
Directly above the door of the school, you can notice a sign with the inscription “All foes of the righteous will be condemned” , which indicates that children were taught from childhood to condemn all opponents of religion. In addition, in the school you can find paintings “Country” , “Equality” and “God” , which are connected with religious themes and promote the supremacy of God over all things.
8) Infernal games
On the asphalt in the school yard, you can see a “field” drawn with chalk for the game – squares, on which, in accordance with the rules of the children’s game (called “classics”), you must jump, throwing a pebble on the corresponding square and in the end so get to the end of the field. And on the last square, nothing but “Hell” is written. Symbolically…
9) About the meaning of the corpse in the toilet
The corpse tied in the toilet with barbed wire is the body of the janitor Colin, whom Alessa hated and became a victim of her hatred. Apparently, he was bound so cruelly that he “could not let go of his hands” in the future, and a piece of a tablet from the hotel would be shoved into his mouth (note that when Rose takes out a piece of the tablet, and we then see the “monster” of the cleaner – it becomes clear that the object in the mouth was needed so that he could not stick his disgusting twitching tongue out).
Near the corpse on the wall is the inscription “DARE YOU DARE YOU DOUBLE DARE YOU” (it can be translated as “dare, dare, dare you again?”, but for the purposes of literature, it was IMHO most successfully translated in the Russian version as “Try sunxia!” ) and an arrow pointing to the corpse’s mouth. In addition to referring to the janitor (who, after such a massacre, will obviously not dare to go near anyone again), it is also a clue for Rose, who must dare and put her hand in the mouth of a corpse in order to find a clue about the whereabouts of her daughter. At the same time, the moment is reminiscent of SH2, where the main character also had to overcome disgust, getting objects from all sorts of strange holes (dark cracks in the walls, dirty toilets, etc.).
10) Change of drawings
The scene is symbolic when the world changes to a nightmare, and at that time Alessa draws scary images over the “normal” pictures in Sharon’s album… Thus, the change in pictures is accompanied by a change in the world around the girl – quite symbolic.
According to Anna, the painting covering the door to room 111 of the hotel depicts the first burning (“111” = first burning, logical). According to the comments of Christoph Gans, the first witch burned in Silent Hill was Jennifer Carroll, incl. to some extent this is a reference to SH2 and SH3…
12) The symbol of the cult
In the film, the symbol of the religious organization is no longer Halo of the Sun from the game, but a symbol in the form of a circle, from which four crosses emanate in different directions – this is a symbol of the faith of the cult, which was depicted by the ancestors of the cultists on all buildings built in the city ( which indicates the influence of the cult). The design of this sign was obviously based on the shape of the cross as the most common religious symbol, and the meaning of the sign, due to the fact that it represents crosses directed to all 4 cardinal directions, can be interpreted as the all-round power of religion.
13) Painting in the cult’s abode
In the church of the cult, there is another painting depicting the scene of the burning of the witch and the inscription “DOMINE DEUS OMNIPOTENS IN CUIUS MANU OMNIS VICTORIA CONSISTIT” , which means “The Lord God Almighty, in whose hands is all victory” .
This is a quotation from a Latin prayer from an 11th century manuscript (thanks to Master Mind for the information), which in its full form was as follows.
Latin original : Domine Deus Omnipotens , Rex regum et Dominus dominantium, in cuius manu omnis victoria consistitet omne bellum conteritur, concede mihi ut tua manus cor meum corroboret ut in virtute tua in manibus viribusque meis bene pugnare viriliterque agere valeam ut inimici mei in conspectu meo cadent et corruant sicut corruit Golias ante faciem pueri tui David, et sicut populus Pharaonis coram in mare rubro, et sicut Philistini coram populo Israel cecidi1 sunt, et Amalech coram Moysi et Chananei coram Iesu corruerunt, sic cadant inimici mei sub pedibus meis, et per viam unam conveniant adversum me et per septem fugiant a me; et conteret Deus arma eorum et confringet framea eorum, et liquescent in conspectu meo sicut cera a facie ignis ut sciant omnes populi terrae quia invocatum est nomen Domini nostri Iesu Christi super me et magnificetur nomen tuum Domine, in adversariis meis, Domine Deus Israel (source : http://www.preces-latinae.
Translation into Russian : Lord God Almighty, king of kings, ruler of rulers, in whose hands is all victory, and the war is destroyed, give me strength and empower my heart so that I can fight and do bold deeds so that my enemies fall before my eyes mine, let them fall as Goliath fell before your servant David, as Pharaoh’s people fell in the Red Sea before Moses <…>, and that all my enemies fall at my feet. All who are against me, let them be scattered and let their weapons be destroyed and their swords broken by the will of the Lord. Let them melt before my eyes, as wax melts before the face of fire, so that all the people of the earth know that I call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. May your name, the Lord God of Israel, be glorified over my rivals.
In general, this prayer fully reflects the ideology of the members of the religious organization, especially Christabella. They fight the enemies of their faith on behalf of God, and all those who are against must fall a terrible death – melt like wax before a cleansing flame (in other words – be burned).
The meaning of the prayer read by Christabella and the cult members is that all should be judged according to their deeds, and those whose names are not in the book of life should be thrown into Hell. It is symbolic that when Christabella and the members of the cult begin to pray, their faith really has an effect in the “other world” – at the moment of prayers we even see a bright illumination, reminiscent of divine light – the meaning of this lies in the fact that faith can really become power.
But also note that immediately after the scene of the cult members’ grim prayers, we see a scene in which young children in an orphanage innocently pray to the Lord before going to bed (the director seems to draw an analogy between cult members under the guidance of Christabella and children under the supervision of Sister Margaret ) – it is noteworthy that the children read exactly the same prayer that Laura reads backwards in the Rebirth ending of SH2…
15) References to the game
Let’s briefly list some moments of the film that are clear references to the original game:
- The scene of Sharon and Rose’s trip to Silent Hill is very reminiscent of a similar scene from the first part of the game (by the way, Sharon also has an album with her), as well as the accident scene. It is symbolic that the song “Letter from Lost Days” is played in the trip scene, which also played in the scene of Heather and Douglas Cartland’s trip to Silent Hill in SH3.
- When Sybil approaches the car and tries to talk to Sharon, she replies “Don’t talk to strangers” (you can’t talk to strangers) – this is a scriptwriter’s reference to the third part of the game, where Heather answers the detective trying to talk to her “My daddy always told me not to talk to strangers” (my daddy always told me not to talk to strangers)
- The scene when Rose wakes up in an empty car starts to follow the silhouette of her daughter and enters a nightmarish alley where she is attacked by monster children, exactly reproduces a similar scene from the first part of the game.
- The moment where Rose finds Alessa’s desk at school, on which a curse is cut out – another reference to SH1, where classmates carved curses on the hated Alessa Gillespie’s desk (although in the original game there was not “WITCH” , but “Go Home. Thief. Drop Dead” ).
- The scene with the girl crying in the school toilet was already in the first part of the game
- The idea of the corpse in the toilet stall was borrowed from SH1, where Harry also found the body of a dead person in the stall, tied with barbed wire.
- The religious paintings hanging in the school are reminiscent of the religious paintings in the SH3 church, illustrating the myth of the cult.
- The scene when the characters are attacked by the Pyramid – but they fail to kill him and the creature only leaves by itself when the world returns to “foggy” actually reproduces the moment from SH2 – however, there the Pyramid went under water.
- In the “other world” we often meet fans – a favorite detail of the developers, designed to symbolize rebirth, is reproduced in full.
- Walking around a burnt-out hotel… we’ve heard that somewhere before.
- The moment where Rose finds a hidden door behind a religious painting is reminiscent of a similar moment in SH3 where Heather finds a door behind an angel painting.
- The moment when Christabella calls Alessa a “demon” is reminiscent of SH1, where Dahlia called Alessa a “demon in the form of a child” to confuse and mislead the protagonist, Harry Mason.
- Brookhaven Hospital is a hospital from the second part of the game (and the third at the same time). True, there he was a psychiatric hospital and clearly had fewer floors.
- The scene in the hospital, where the heroine gets from the foggy world directly to the “nightmare” one by means of an elevator, was taken from the game, where there are similar scenes (SH1 – hospital, SH3 – shopping center).
- The scene where Christabella stabs Rose’s body in a religious argument refers to the third part of the game, where Claudia kills Vincent under similar circumstances.