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The protagonist played by Radha Mitchell confronts a woman who had a daughter 30 years ago that looks exactly like Mitchell's daughter.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is scheduled to release the DVD “Silent Hill” Tuesday, Aug. 22. Do yourself a favor and watch it.

It’s billed as a horror flick and basically it is, but it’s also more. The monsters, despite appearances, are not as horrible as the humans. Additionally, the action is moved forward by the women of the cast — in this release, if a man is on the screen the viewer can figure there’s not much going on.

The three protagonists can be viewed as universal themes. Rose (Radha Mitchell) plays the part of the motherhood ideal, Cybil (Laurie Holden) portrays justice and the preacher woman, and Claudia (Alice Krige), flawed humanity. They are brought together by Sharon (Jodelle Ferland) and Alessa (Jodelle Ferland).

Ferland, with the aid of make-up, does an excellent job of protraying the good and evil sides of the same girl who was burned (but not to death) as a witch by the church members and leaders in Silent Hill.

Silent Hill is actually based on video game of the same name — which, incidentally, moved a town in central Pennsylvania (Centralia), to West Virginia, to use as its backdrop.

I was about 16 or 17 years old and living in Baltimore when the town made the news. The town with the burning coal mine that couldn’t be extinguished and is still burning more than 40 years later made all the local television stations for a while as well as being used as a backdrop for some magazine horror stories using the town as a gate to hell.

I have never played the game, but talking to people, like my son-in-law, who have and who have seen the movie, they say the movie follows the video game more closely than movies usually follow books on which they are based.

For those with quesy stomachs or with younger kids, there are some violent scenes — the burning to death of a woman suspended over a fire, the skinning of a teenage girl, barbed wire suspending one church member above the floor, another being pulled apart by barbed wire, rotting corpses in various positions of death, pulled there in the rictus of death, throats being slashed, women and men being clubbed to unconsciousness — this movie earns its R rating.

Overlooking that, it demonstrates, for those that are looking, that the worst offender against mankind is man.

The twist at the end caught me totally by surprise also.

If you like a good drama and can stand blood and gore, buy it or rent it, I think you’ll have a good watch.

Cast: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige and Jodelle Ferland

Silent Hill

Rating (***1/2 out of *****)

Synopsis: (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) Based on the best-selling horror action game, “Silent Hill” stars Radha Mitchell (Man on Fire) as Rose, a desperate mother who takes her adopted daughter, Sharon, to the town of Silent Hill in an attempt to cure her of her ailment.

After a violent car crash, Sharon disappears and Rose begins her desperate search to get her back. She descends into a fog of smoldering ash and into the center of the twisted reality of a town’s terrible secret. Pursued by grotesquely deformed creatures and a townspeople stuck in permanent purgatory, Rose begins to uncover the truth behind the apocalyptic disaster that burned the town 30 years back.

Dare to step inside the horrific town of Silent Hill, where darkness preys on every soul and Hell’s creations await around every corner. But know that once you enter...there is no turning back.

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:

• “Silent Hill Origins” Making-of featurette

• “Casting Silent Hill” Making-of featurette

• “Building Silent Hill” Making-of featurette

• “Stars and Stunts” Making-of featurette

• “Creatures Unleashed” Making-of featurette

• “Creature Choreography” Making-of featurette

• Previews

Street Date: 8/22/2006

Rating: R

Run Time: 125 minutes