Mum's the Word on 'Silent Hill'
Sisters are doing if for themselves in this video game-inspired horror flick
April 19 2006
LOS ANGELES -- In "Silent Hill," Radha Mitchell plays the mother of a girl whose sleep is disturbed by buried memories of a town called Silent Hill, something Mitchell could relate to when shooting the video game-inspired horror flick.
"You'd be working all day on 'Silent Hill,' and then you'd go home and be dreaming about it" says the Australian star. "It's like this never-ending nightmare. But it was a great vent for it all because you could use that during the day in the performance. Those emotions don't fly off you."
The Christophe Gans-directed film centers on Rose DaSilva (Mitchell), a mom whose adopted daughter Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) sleep walks and mentions Silent Hill in her dreams. Resisting advice to medicate her child, Rose takes her to investigate the town, only to lose Sharon in an alternate reality where fog rules and a darkness infects everything in its path.
There, Rose finds an ally in Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden), a cop character whom gamers already know well.
"Cybil kicks ass and kills monsters, which is great because there's a lot of them around," explains Mitchell. "She's also a very protective character, and she's done heroic deeds in the past. When my character first meets with her, we're very doubtful of each other and quite antagonistic. As the story progresses, they work together and become a team."
Besides the overall eerieness and demonic creatures, Silent Hill presents another curious anomaly: there are only women around. In fact, the men in the film, such as Rose's husband Christopher (Sean Bean), are kept separated in the "real" world dimension.
"Pretty much when you're in Silent Hill, all the characters are female. Motherhood is a huge issue in the story," explains Mitchell. "My girl is lost ... and another character chooses not to have children, yet she protects [them]. Another character has her own attachment to the little girl ... and another just wants to kill her. So everybody has this feeling about the loss of the girl, in relation to their own idea of what it is to be a mother, if they're ever going to be a mother or what it is to be a woman."
Perhaps this rubbed off on Mitchell, who found herself feeling maternal towards Ferland, who not only plays Sharon, but her creepy counterparts Alessa and Dark Alessa.
"It's disturbing because she's such a good actress," says Mitchell. "She had to draw all these evil pictures as her character, these evil scribbles. So we would just sit around and draw really pretty pictures as sort of an antidote to what we were doing every day."
The actress also became fond of the horrific creatures populating the film, one of which combines aspects of childbirth and a gestating baby.
"My favorite creature was the one with no arms and this big, gaping gash in its stomach that spits out black goop at people," she says. "It was just so bizarre, kind of like a fetus that was walking along at you on these kind of long, gazelle legs. It was just completely out there."
"Silent Hill" creeps into theaters nationwide on Friday, April 21.