Written by Roger Avary and directed by Christophe Gans, this adaptation of the hugely popular Silent Hill game starts out a suffocating fog of creepiness wrapped around a memorably malevolent child spirit, but squanders its meticulously established atmosphere on a lengthy climactic sequence that owes a significant debt of inspiration to Clive Barker's HELLRAISER movies. Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) is desperate to cure her daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), of nightmares and somnambulism, guided only by the words "Silent Hill," which the child wails in her sleep. When Rose discovers that there's a real Silent Hill, a ghost town in West Virginia — where she and her husband, Chris (Sean Bean), adopted Sharon — she decides to bring the girl face to face with her demons. And what demons they are! Where Rose expected nothing more than a deserted small town, she instead discovers a suffocating hell on earth where mine fires burn incessantly below the ground, fluffy ash falls like snow, and a pestilent darkness periodically transforms the landscape and unleashes hoards of deformed, bloodthirsty atrocities. Knocked unconscious while fleeing persistent police officer Cybil Bennett (Laurie Holden) — and trying not to hit the small girl who appears suddenly on the dark, fog-shrouded road — Rose awakes in her car to find Sharon gone, the engine dead and her cell phone transmitting nothing but static. As she wanders the deserted streets of Silent Hill, a seething evil begins to reveal itself, and Rose gradually uncovers the town's dark secrets, rooted in the cult of witch hunters who unleashed a bitter evil 30 years earlier during a vicious "purification" ritual. Meanwhile, Chris and the local police chief (Kim Coates) join forces to search a Silent Hill that looks simultaneously like and unlike the one where Rose and Officer Bennett are trapped by menacing apparitions and hostile, degenerate cultists in thrall to a merciless creed rooted in the biblical admonition "though shalt not suffer a witch to live." "Silent Hill" is gaming anomaly, both because character and backstory are as important as action and because it's built around women — two fiercely protective mothers, Rose and a mysterious madwoman named Dahlia (Deborah Kara Unger), tough but empathetic Officer Bennett, fanatical cult leader Cristabella (Alice Krige) and little girl(s) lost Sharon and Alessa, her doppelganger. SILENT HILL runs out of story a good half hour before it runs out of spooky images, but it comes to a quietly chilling conclusion far more haunting than any bloody mayhem.