- This article is about the film character. For the video game character, see Alessa Gillespie.
|“|| When you're hurt and scared for so long, your fear and pain turn to hate, and the hate starts to change the world.
Alessa Gillespie is the daughter of Dahlia Gillespie, and is the driving force of the events of the Silent Hill film, controlling almost everything experienced by each of the characters. In Silent Hill, Alessa's child form is portrayed by Canadian actress Jodelle Ferland and her adult form is played by Lorry Ayers.
Alessa was born out of wedlock in the year 1965 to Dahlia Gillespie in Silent Hill, West Virginia, and was cast out by the townspeople, who believed she was "sin incarnate". The local religious cult, led by Alessa's aunt, Christabella, believed Alessa was a witch because of her illegitimate birth. The child was bullied on a daily basis by classmates whose parents told them Alessa was bad and deserved such treatment.
In November 1974, Alessa entered the bathroom at her school to avoid the teasing and name-calling of her peers, only to be sexually assaulted by the school janitor. Dahlia arrived at the school to take Alessa home, but Christabella detained her and convinced her that Alessa must be "purified".
Alessa was then taken to the sacrificial chamber located inside the Grand Hotel. There, she was separated from Dahlia and was shackled onto a large iron seal and laid over a pit of burning coals to be burned alive as a witch. Upon realizing what was going to happen, Dahlia quickly fled the scene to find help, but she was too late. During the ceremony, one of the chains holding the seal over the pit broke, and the pit was overturned, setting the church on fire and starting the Great Fire of Silent Hill. Alessa was found by her mother and police officers, including Officer Thomas Gucci. Gucci removed Alessa from her shackles, scarring his hands in the process, and brought her to the local hospital.
In the hospital, Alessa's pain and fear began to turn into hate and her hate "started to change the world". Alessa had caused the flowers next to her bed to wilt and severely burned a curious nurse who peeked into her burn tent. As Alessa's rage grew out of control, her soul was split in two, and Dark Alessa, the manifestation of the dark side of Alessa's soul, appeared. Alessa gave in to the dark side of her own soul and the Otherworld and the Fog World were created. All the people responsible for Alessa's suffering were then pulled into the alternate dimensions to be tortured and killed by the vengeful Alessa.
Alessa lies bedridden in the Otherworld for thirty years, unable to walk or speak, until Rose Da Silva agrees to help her to take her final revenge on the cultists. Rose then opens a portal into the dark world and Alessa rises into the cult's church, using mounds of telepathically controlled barbed wire to tear apart the remaining cultists, starting with Christabella.
Once her revenge is complete, Dark Alessa and Sharon lock eyes, causing a recombination of the split souls in Sharon's body. Sharon/Alessa and Rose then leave the church, but the two of them are still in the Fog World.
Silent Hill: Revelation
Revelation retcons the ending of Silent Hill, showing that Sharon remains only the good side of Alessa's soul, rather than having recombined with Alessa and Dark Alessa. Rose uses the Seal of Metatron to return Sharon to the real world, while Alessa's dark side remains in the Otherworld to continue killing cultists. Years later, Sharon goes by the name Heather Mason. Alessa is shown in a hallucination to Heather at her high school.
A second sect of cultists are shown hiding in the Otherworld, though it is never explained how they escaped Alessa's notice. The film vastly changes Alessa's backstory, claiming that the cultists had noticed Alessa had powers, and so knew Alessa would survive the fire, and were actually intending to perform a ritual to impregnate her with their god. Revelation also states that Alessa created Sharon by having her nurse kidnap a newborn from its parents, into which she placed her soul, a contradiction to the first film, in which Sharon is a supernaturally created doppelgänger of Alessa.
Alessa's dark side appears as a darkened teenage girl, who recombines with Heather, making a complete incarnation of Alessa. Once Heather unites with Dark Alessa, Pyramid Head, one of Alessa's monsters, rushes to Heather's aid when she is attacked by the monstrous form of the cult's new priestess. Heather then leaves town with her new boyfriend, Vincent Cooper, and hitches a ride with a trucker named Travis Grady.
- Main article: Dark Alessa
Dark Alessa is the manifestation of the dark side of Alessa's soul, created out of her need for revenge on the cultists who burned her alive. Dark Alessa watches over and protects Alessa's vulnerable physical body during the thirty years before Alessa's revenge is completed.
Sharon Da Silva
- Main article: Sharon Da Silva
Sharon Da Silva, also known as Heather Mason, is a doppelgänger of Alessa, and contains the remaining good part of her soul. Sharon is called into the town by Dark Alessa and after the events of the film, she becomes the body that the complete Alessa is reborn into.
Alessa strongly represents the Christian god, by virtue of controlling everything that occurs during the events of the film. She is shown to have created the alternate reality, to decide the fates of the film's characters, and to be the judge of everyone who comes into her world. This symbolism is further shown through Alessa's relationship to Sharon and Dark Alessa, who, together with Alessa, create an inverted version of the Holy Trinity. Alessa is the creator of both Dark Alessa (a representation of the Holy Ghost) and Sharon (representative of the Christ child), and she exists in both of them, while still living as a separate entity, the same as the Christian god. Dark Alessa speaks of a symbolic mother/daughter connection between Alessa and Sharon, referring to Sharon as Alessa's "child", although it is physically impossible for Sharon to be Alessa's literal daughter. This symbolism is likely intentional, given the director's statements about the vast amount of Christian symbolism in the film, as well as symbolic aspects of the film that strongly point to Sharon representing the Christ child, Dark Alessa the Holy Ghost, and Rose the Virgin Mary.
Relation to the Wolfs
According to the canon of Silent Hill, Christabella is Alessa's biological aunt. In Revelation, Claudia Wolf states that she is Christabella's sister, making Vincent Alessa's cousin and Leonard Wolf her grandfather. It is possible that Claudia has been hiding the truth of her relation to Alessa out of shame, but it is likely another retcon, given the romantic relationship between Vincent and Heather/Sharon, who would be cousins if Christabella was truly the aunt of Alessa and sister to Claudia.
- In the film credits, Jodelle Ferland is only credited as Alessa Gillespie and Sharon Da Silva. However, she is given a third credit as Dark Alessa on the film's official website and in all other official materials. The original script gives a hint at why this is, as Dark Alessa is consistently referred to as "Alessa" and "Young Alessa" throughout the script.
- Director Christophe Gans originally thought it best if he hired triplets to play Alessa, Sharon, and Dark Alessa, but he later chose Jodelle Ferland for all three roles after seeing her on the show Kingdom Hospital.
- Production designer Carol Spier stated that the woman in the painting found in the church is designed to look like an ancestor of Christabella and Dahlia, meaning that Alessa's family has a history of "witches". This may point to Alessa's powers being hereditary.
- It is implied that it may have been Alessa's powers that broke the chain on the seal she was being burned alive on. The original script goes even further in suggesting this, showing three chains breaking at once.
- Jodelle Ferland stated on her Facebook fan page that she did not play the young version of Alessa seen after the burning. The actress for that role is unknown.
- Though the film itself does not comment on Alessa having telepathic powers before she was burned, a scene was shot and later cut which depicted Alessa causing a group of butterflies to move in an unnatural pattern in front of her classmates, and the 2004 version of the script mentions that Alessa was born with psychic powers.
- All of the clocks in both the Fog World and the Otherworld are frozen at 3:26, likely meaning that this is the exact moment Alessa split her soul and created the Otherworld.
- For unknown reasons, Alessa's screenworn outfit is labeled as "Good Alessa". This may have been an attempt to separate the outfits of Alessa and Dark Alessa after production was completed.
- Alessa's biological father has yet to be revealed.
- Alessa is an avid drawer, with dark and fiery images drawn all over her school books. Similarly, both Sharon and Dark Alessa also enjoy drawing.
- Christophe Gans has likened Alessa to a schizophrenic.
- Several references are made to Alessa's film incarnation in the Universal Studios haunted house, Halloween Horror Nights, including the seal Alessa was burned on, a chalkboard with the word "Witch" written across it repeatedly, and Alessa's barbed wire-entangled hospital bed. Alessa herself is seen in another Universal Studios haunted house, standing in the Otherworld.
- Alessa's age at the time of the burning is retconned from nine to 11 in Revelation. This would make Alessa 41 at the time of the first film's events, as compared to 39. This would also change her year of birth from 1965 to 1963.
- Whether Alessa's adult form exists at all in the canon of Revelation is debatable. Revelation's original script shows that Alessa's burned form transformed into Dark Alessa, and the final film makes no mention of there being a third form of Alessa, strongly implying that Dark Alessa alone controls the alternate reality.
- In commentary for Silent Hill, director Christophe Gans has stated that the Otherworld and Fog World literally exist in Alessa's mind, in that they were created by her and are extensions of her personality. Revelation contradicts this, claiming that the alternate reality already existed, and Alessa simply took advantage of it.
Actor's and creator's comments
|“||If we want to explain what happened with Alessa, we are dealing with the theme of doppelgangers. For every fan that has read the synopsis of the first game's story in the strategy guide of Silent Hill 3, they all know that we are dealing with doppelgangers--and it's a very cross-cultural concept, both Japan and Europe have this myth. But in Japan, it means that every character has aspects of a God and aspects of a devil inside them. It's a very shocking concept if we attempt to transpose that into a North American, traditionally Christian perspective. The line between good and evil is much more clearly in North America, especially today. And here we are dealing with a character who has the capacity to split, and when you realize that Alessa is no longer one character, but many, it explains the story of the town. It's interesting because the town itself mirrors this fractured psychology--different dimensions, different doubles of the same person.||”|
|“|| Perhaps the common link between all the stories of the Silent Hill world is the concept that this is a place where both reality and personality can be split. I like the fact that this is where many dimensions intersect, and where you can exist on many planes. This fracturing between realities is reflected as a fracturing within a character. Characters can become multiple, like Mary and Maria in Silent Hill 2, and Alessa in SH1. Because this is such an abstract concept, this was the most challenging aspect of trying to adapt the game. The first game tells the amazing story of an adult woman who also exists as two little girls, good and bad doubles representing who she was when she was hurt.
We are forced to realize in Silent Hill that we can be our own devil, our own God. This very Asian perception is so completely different to the Anglo/Christian concept of God and the Devil as separate beings.
|“||In her pain she's been split into several Alessas. There's the real Alessa, suffering, there's the evil Alessa, her dark side, who's just visited her, and there's a good Alessa, who's made safe in the real world in the shape of Sharon, the little girl adopted by Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell. I think that's the explanation for how she becomes a multi-faceted character, with different faces and different ages. It's something that's in the game, which intrigues players: why Alessa exists in different guises, at different ages... Both evil guises, and guises that are... "human".||”|
|“||And then there's Alessa, who is the daughter of Dahlia and everyone really thinks she's a bad person, and they call her a witch. But yeah, so no one likes her, they're really mean to her. And Dark Alessa is sort of the bad of Alessa and that's why she's all scary and strange.||”|
|“||Then I play Alessa who is the daughter of Dahlia (Deborah Kara Unger) and everyone thinks Alessa is a witch. I also play Dark Alessa who is the bad part of Alessa – she's the one who I get to wear the scary makeup for.||”|
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJTHl8YrZ_s Silent Hill interview with Christophe Gans and Akira Yamaoka
For a complete list of images of Alessa in the Silent Hill film, please visit the Alessa (film) images category.
Silent Hill: Revelation
|Rose Da Silva - Christopher Da Silva - Cybil Bennett - Dahlia Gillespie - Thomas Gucci - Anna - Christabella - Sharon Da Silva - Alessa Gillespie - Dark Alessa|
|Sister Margaret - Eleanor - Colin - Lisa Garland - Order Soldier - Jennifer Carroll|
|Pyramid Head - Creeper - Armless Man - Colin - Nurse - Grey Child|
|Bowling Alley - Brahms - Brookhaven Hospital - Church - Da Silva House - Gans County - Grand Hotel - Midwich Elementary School - Nathan Drugs - Sacrificial Chamber - Silent Hill, West Virginia - Toluca County Archives - Toluca County Mining Museum - Toluca County Orphanage - Toluca Lake - Smitty's|
|The Brethren - Monster - Flashlight - Manifestation - Otherworld - Fog World - Real World - Siren - Great Knife - Welcome Sign - Brethren Symbol|
|Heather Mason - Christopher Da Silva - Vincent Cooper - Claudia Wolf - Leonard Wolf - Dark Alessa - Douglas Cartland - Alessa Gillespie|
|Rose Da Silva - Dahlia Gillespie - Suki - Travis Grady - Order Soldier - Detective Santini - Mannequin Girl|
|Armless Man - Delusion - Leonard Wolf - Lobotomy - Mannequin Monster - Memory of Alessa - Missionary - Nurse - Pyramid Head - Valtiel|
|All Hallows High School - Brookhaven Asylum - Central Square Shopping Center - Jacks Inn - Sanctuary - Silent Hill, West Virginia - Lakeside Amusement Park|
|The Brethren - Halo of the Sun - Monster - Manifestation - Otherworld - Fog World - Real World - Robbie the Rabbit - Seal of Metatron - Siren - The Order - Great Knife - Welcome Sign|