Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Silent Hill the movie - its uncanny influence

I was writing my essay when I suddenly thought about another film I could of wrote about, however I don't feel it packs as much in as the film I have chosen. I will however, do a brief review of this film and how it relates to the uncanny...

The film is set in a Sunny part of America where a seemingly happy family live together, however become aware of their adopted daughter Sharon's strange behaviour. She begins to draw sickening, unsightly images which she isnt aware of creating. These pictures in themselves give off some feeling of uncanniness, as we are familiar with children drawing pretty colourfull, peacefull, playfull scribbles. The pictures that Sharon creates speak of “Silent Hill”, a haunted town which is cautioned off due to its unstable condition. Rose, Sharon's adoptive Mother decides to travel to Silent Hill out of curiosity to her daughters behaviour, where they encounter a Police officer who becomes suspicious of the pairs travels. They are chased all the way to Silent Hill where they have a crash and as we come to understand “die” then become part of a reality in the balance of life and death unable to cross over to paradise.

From here on the uncanny vibe expands as we come to find the landscape has changed, the atmosphere has grown dark and it seems to snow ash in what should be a nice summers day. To further the feeling of uncomfortable realisation, Rose realises she is on her own. Sharon has run off somewhere so Rose decides to walk into the deserted town of Silent Hill to find her daughter. The town itself is bare of life, somewhat shimmering with anticipation for the unknown, you find yourself wanting answers yet running away at the same time. On occasion Rose would catch a glimpse of her daughter running in the distance which under the circumstances provokes a feeling of playful evilness.

This playfullness which shows the sinister side to innocence is something which I bear close to my project, as its one of the darkest of visual prompts in my opinion to shock and disturb an onlooker. Things that are so bright and beautifull yet as sharp as a razorblade and able to harm cause the most distress.

The film furthers on with this situation as the main plot of the story, to find Rose's daughter Sharon. We soon come to realise there is something very wrong with the town of Silent Hill as we encounter beings of a human build which bear some demonic form – twisted, deformed, mutated and burned.

Each of these characters portray a different play on the human form which purposefully makes the audience feel uncomfortable about their anatomy. The familiar form of what most of us possess is strangled into a hideous beast, appearing lifeless and desperate, making way for excruciating unease.

On the other side of the fence, the story jumps back into reality where Rose's Husband Christopher goes on a search with the Police to Silent Hill to find his Wife and Daughter. The fact that he knows they should be there, or he feels their presence captivates a surreal element to the film. The location is bright and far more cheerful, however with what we know this calmed abandoned town makes the audience feel cold.

Rose encounters a lady named Dahlia Gillespie, who tells of how she has also lost her Daughter Alessa by the wrong doing of the townspeople. We later come to find Alessa was held hostage by the townspeople as they believed she was a curse to Silent Hill, which is where an evil force took over her and helped her take out her anger in revenge. Dahlia is convinced that Sharon is her daughter, Alessa, by a photograph that Rose shows her. The interesting twist is that Sharon is an adopted child, so could be some relation to the evil that lurks in Silent Hill.

Rose discovers the Policewoman named Cybal who was involved in the crash who becomes her friend in a desperate attempt to find Sharon and leave. They come to find that they cant escape Silent Hill as the road ends and drops into a neverending cliff. Later in the movie they come across a group which is a small group of people who take salvation in the church to keep away from the evil outside. Blinded by preaches from their leader Christabella, the people are no more than scurrying rats afraid of their own shadow. The control this lady has over them is uncanny to the story, as they are controlled outside just as they are inside safety. It is also somewhat uncanny due to how these are the only people Rose and Cybal have come across yet they bear an air of unease and appear unstable.

Later in the film we discover how these people try to kill Rose and Cybal in learning of their quest, thinking too that Sharon is the evil that plauges their town. There are scenes where the zombie like monsters create moments of intense displeasure, also dipping into the uncanny valley due to their CG nature. There is nothing within them that is living but it appears to be the familiar humanoid shape. This is especially the case in the scene where Rose encounters Alessa with a deformed nurse. Again this is based on the uncanny effect of how you would expect a nurse to be of good health to be able to treat you yet if they appear dead, your life is suddenly in danger with no one of medical knowledge.

After helping Alessa destroy the church, people and their leader, Rose finds Sharon and is free to leave Silent Hill. It is at the end of the film however where we experience the most uncanny of all, the enviroments which we became familiar with at the start of the film are deserted. Everything has an eerie mist to it and doesn't feel right. It is then when Rose realises she has not escaped and that she is trapped within two worlds. We see the scene cutt over to the same room that they are in where Christopher is sitting. They are unable to see each other, yet know they should be there. How very uncanny!

Take care folks

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