After a near-miss car accident sees them separated, distraught mother Rose (Mitchell) is left hunting for her daughter Sharon (Ferland) in the deserted town of Silent Hill. It's far from a welcoming place, though, and Rose soon finds some disturbing things lurking in the darkness...
It's hardly breaking news that video game adaptations fail to do right by either their source material or the audiences who pay to see them. So it's reassuring that in adapting Silent Hill, Brotherhood of the Wolf director Christophe Gans has at least managed to address half of the problem.
Duplicating everything from the town's fog-shrouded streets and dilapidated shop-fronts to the grinding, rusted nightmare of its 'dark world', Silent Hill renders the look and feel of the game with perfect clarity. Familiar locations are present and correct, the grotesque creatures replicated with horrific attention to detail and even the game's familiar, unsettling score returns to gnaw steadily at the nerve endings.
But it's this unwavering fidelity to the source material that is also the film's biggest problem. The mad-as-a-broom-handle story survives largely intact and while screenwriter Roger Avary has injected some much-needed sense into a baffling mythology, the drama shows too little evidence of real adaptation. Still playing much like a game, the story sees clue 'A' point to location 'B' where monster 'C' is waiting to ambush our heroine. Which is all very well when you're sitting at home, controller in hand, but isn't anywhere near as satisfying or scary as a cinematic experience.
A step in the right direction for console-to-screen transitions and a twisted masterpiece of set design. Ultimately, though, it's a little too much like watching someone else play the game.