- For the town of Silent Hill in the game canon, see Silent Hill, Maine.
Silent Hill, West Virginia is the film's version of the town. It is a ghost town, having been abandoned after a fire started in the underlying coal mines on November 1st, 1974.
Silent Hill is located along the shore of Toluca Lake, which is located to the north-east of the town, and is surrounded by forest regions. Pleasant River appears to be located to the west of the town (rather than the east, as seen in Downpour), although it is unknown if Pleasant River is a town or simply a river in this universe. Either way, the majority of Silent Hill is to the south of this river. The north of the town is likely the entrance, where a welcome sign greets those who enter the town.
The life of the town is centered around the business district, located in center of the town. Residential districts are located on both sides, the east and west, of the business district. Simmons Street connects the north entrance to the business district.
The town map has a number of streets and roads highlighted, which resembles the Brethren's symbol. In the center of the business district is a main church. To the north-east of the church is Midwich Elementary School, and to the west of Midwich is Brookhaven Hospital, located a few blocks away. To the northwest of the church is the Grand Hotel.
- For a complete timeline of Silent Hill, see Timeline (film)
Silent Hill's past isn't touched upon much prior to the events of 1974, though it is known that the town was founded by a group of witch hunters. The Brahams Herald suggests that the Grand Hotel has seen its share of hauntings and supernatural occurrences, though the cause is never explained. The town is destroyed in a sudden fire that burns into the coal mines beneath the town, leading to its evacuation and abandonment. The events of the film are largely based on the aftermath of the fire and what caused it.
The film's version of Silent Hill shows three different dimensions, each based on the one before it. Two of the dimensions are created and controlled by Alessa Gillespie, who uses them as a means to punish the people she entraps there. After Alessa is burned alive by the townspeople, she splits her soul, creating Dark Alessa as well as the Fog World and the Otherworld. The shifting of the Fog World into the Otherworld is symbolic of what was done to Alessa's body. The alternate dimensions are the "darkest dream" of Alessa, and they represent her suffering.
Until the end of the film, neither the Fog World nor the Otherworld can enter the main church of the cultists due to Alessa's belief that they must be shown "the truth" before she can kill them. Rose Da Silva releases Alessa's tainted essence into the church, allowing the Otherworld to overtake it in the final climax scene.
This dimension is the real world as we know it and shows Silent Hill in its natural state. Christopher Da Silva and Thomas Gucci traverse this world, searching for Chris's missing wife and daughter. The town is run-down and dirty in this state, with the sun shining down on the abandoned buildings.
A past version of the Real World shows Silent Hill as it looked to Alessa Gillespie when she was a child. At that time, the town is a regular small American town, though it's largely controlled by a fanatical cult.
The most seen dimension in the film is the Fog World. In this dimension, the sun never shines through the thick, gray fog that smothers the entire town. Ash rains down from the sky and everything is covered in a layer of ash and dust. The Fog World appears to have been built off of Alessa's memories of the town she grew up in, and contains exact similarities to the Real World version of the town, including perfect replicas of abandoned buildings and cars. The Armless Man is seen in the Fog World, despite the cultists generally considering it to be "safe", though those that stray too far from church are required to wear mining uniforms for protection.
The Otherworld overtakes the town every few hours, affecting only those already trapped in the Fog World. Birds in the alternate dimension often alert the cultists of the rising of the Darkness, who then set off air raid sirens to warn any cult members caught outside of the church. When the Otherworld takes over, the town goes through a dramatic shift. Blood drips from the walls, wood melts away to reveal rusted metal, corpses and monsters appear from every area, and the whole town goes completely black. Eternal fires burn beneath the town, with vents in the floors allowing steam to rise into the air.
The Otherworld symbolizes the hatred and pain of Alessa, and the twisted creatures that appear there also represent her and things she saw during her life. A permanent version of the Otherworld exists in Brookhaven Hospital, where the adult Alessa lies in a hospital bed, and her doppelgänger, Dark Alessa, watches over her.
- Four sets had to be built for most of the locations seen in the film to show the current state of the town, the past state of the town, the Fog World, and the Otherworld.
- Silent Hill, West Virginia is based on the real town Centralia, Pennsylvania, while the game's version in Maine is unrelated to Centralia.
- Parts of two small towns in Canada, Brantford, Ontario, and Hamilton, Ontario were taken over to film the outdoor scenes.
- The fact that the cultists in the movie carry a canary in a cage to detect when the Otherworld is coming is a reference to mining. In reality, miners often took a pair of canaries with them into the mines to detect leaking gas such as carbon monoxide, which has no smell or taste, and henceforth humans cannot detect it. With their heightened sensitivity and fragile breathing structure, the birds would react by showing signs of distress, prompting the miners to leave quickly. The canary in the movie, as well as the birds that fly from the roofs of buildings before the "darkness" arrives, supports the fact that animals can either smell or sense something humans cannot.
|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 - Jennifer Carroll|
|Pyramid Head - Creeper - Armless Man - Colin - Nurse - Grey Child|
|Brahms - Brookhaven Hospital - Church - Da Silva House - Gans County - Grand Hotel - Midwich Elementary School - Nathan Drugs - Pete's Bowl-O-Rama - Sacrificial Chamber - Silent Hill, West Virginia - Smitty's - Toluca County Archives - Toluca County Mining Museum - Toluca County Orphanage - Toluca Lake|
|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|