Jenny had some post-meeting happy hour shenanigans to get up to last night, & so I tucked myself in & held on for the ride. I was going to go to the gym, but this daylight savings has really robbed me of my motivation. Instead, I made some kind of cheesy pasta, drank some wine, & settled in to watch Silent Hill on FearNet, the free movie OnDemand thing. I'd been meaning to try it out, & here is the verdict: there are ads in the corner & the bottom of the screen, but nothing too distracting. There was a commercial for one of the Saw movies, in the form of a special feature. In other words, well worth the admission price of "free." So, with the lights turned off & a glass of red clutched in my claws, I abandoned all hope & entered.
As for the movie itself, I really liked it, & I have a number of thoughts on the whole thing. First off, as entertainment, it succeeded; I didn't want Jenny to come home in the middle & interrupt thing. The atmosphere is pretty pervaisive, & well contrasted: the spooky, haunted town of Silent Hill is broken up by the creepy, abandoned town of Silent Hill. In one, the sky rains ash, the streets crawl with fog, & the main character searches for her daughter amidst air raid sirens, crazy townsfolk, & monsters. In the other, the streets are empty, but not menacingly; the sun is out, the local police help the husband search for his missing wife. The over-lapping space is used pretty well a few times, but isn't overly pushed-- like a lot of the movie, it isn't exactly subtle but isn't hammered into you, either. The "real" Silent Hill (by which I mean the haunted, hellish one-- telling that that is the one I chose as real, right? More on that later) is scary enough, but when the klaxons blare & darkness falls-- falls, as in suddenly, all at once-- the paint peels, the wood rots, the metal rusts, & the monsters come out. Oh, the shadow babies! Pyramid Head! A dance crew as blind fiendish nurses! All our friends.
Looking a little deeper, the movie is pretty solid, from a feminist point of view. The theme is motherhood, but not in some gross way; no, like, legitimately. The mother is searching for her missing daughter, that is the plot, & the movie isn't shy about it. The protagonists are both female (the mother & a cop), which lets you play off contrasts again-- the mother isn't a mewling wreck, but she isn't John Wayne tough; you can compare her to the cop who is trained & capable but still pretty rattled from being dumped into a nightmare. The villains are female as well, the villains & the antagonists, both (you decide who is who). In fact, the only men in the movie are: the husband, who takes the place of the passive exposition character-- he is breaking into libraries, he is verbally confronting characters; the town cop, who acts helpful but wavers in your mind as maybe...too helpful?; & then Pyramid Head, a monster. The monsters are mixed bag, which is interesting in light of Silent Hill mythology-- there is so much psychosexual stuff going on in those games. So yeah; the women are fully possessed with agency. There are three moments that I had to really think about (minor spoilers): in one, Pyramid Head rips the clothes off a women, & then rips her skin off. That was tough-&-go, since in the second game Pyramid Head is genuinely horrific. In short, in Silent Hill 2 all of the monsters are female-- evil nurses, mannequins, whatever-- all except Pyramid Head, who goes around raping the female monsters. It ends up being some deeply disturbed psychosexual (I keep using that word, but that is what it is!) breakdown of the main character. Still, for a second I was like-- is that monster going to rape that girl? In another, the tough cop stupidly martyrs herself-- she stays behind to get beat up? For basically no reason? Why didn't she just get in the elevator with the other woman? Martyrdom is the worst. Then I thought about other similar movies-- the tough guy-- the tough, male guy-- often does stay behind in a stupid display of masochism, so the main character can advance alone. The third is a big of vaginal horror-- someone is torn apart by tentacles of barbed wire, held spread eagle & then torn from the middle-- which is pretty horrific, but like, probably not offensive. Just horrific.
Otherwise, I thought the movie was pretty interesting from a personal psychological point of view. There are a few things-- hallucinatory worlds, much?-- that really get me in these kinds of films. The fantasy hell thing definately twists something inside of me. Coupled with some of the elements of powerlessness, it had some sincerely stressful moments. The part where the girl was handcuffed? Drove me berserk. The thing that I really find the most curious is when the movie stopped being scary. For me, once the logic of the world starts to become apparent-- the sirens precede nightfall, the monsters are those who dealt badly with the girl, the people of the town are witchburners, etc-- I start getting all warlock. The opening sequence in the chainlink fences, with the shadow babies, that is the worst part; by the third klaxxon call, I was urging the protagonist not to go into the church. The other bit is, as above, which one I instinctively decided was "real"-- not the safe, mundane world, but the darker, nightmare world.