Silent Hill Revelation

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"You created this nightmare... "

March 20th, 2013

Being a fan of the first Silent Hill movie I was looking forward to catching the sequel. Due to the uninspired TV spots and negative reactions I decided to wait for the DVD release in the hope that I would enjoy it more in a home environment. Much like many of the elements of the actual games they were based on I was left more than a little confused.

When it comes to the silent hill game franchise I can't say I was more than a casual player. I played the first 3 games only completing part 2 (one of my favourite survival horror experiences).I enjoyed the atmosphere and character designs but never really understood what the actual story was (the multiple endings really helped with the confusion).

When the first film came out I was more than a little ecstatic as it perfectly captured the tone of the games and presented a coherent narrative that I could follow. For me Silent Hill is the best video game to screen adaptation ever (I'm still waiting for something better to come along) it used the best elements of the game and fused it with something that could fit a movie medium.

With Silent Hill being a surprise hit (that amazes me as I know very few people who have actually seen it) a sequel was greenlighted (I'm told that's how you say it ) almost immediately only it took 6 years to actually get made.

Silent Hill Revelation follows Heather Mason and her father Chris who move from town to town under assumed aliases. Hiding from a group known as the Cult of Valtiel who wish to take them back to the town of Silent Hill. After a series of events they return to Silent Hill for lots of running and verbal exposition before the movie ends with an anti climatic battle.

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I expected this film to be of poor quality but the first 20 minutes suggested a potential that it never capitalised on. The opening sequence surprised me as I hadn't realised that this was an adaptation of Silent Hill 3. Cleverly interwoven into the narrative of the first movie (A surprising cameo ties both films together) it appeared that this time the film was trying to please both fans of the movie and the game series. It's when we actually get to the town of Silent Hill that things unravel quickly.

It's here that character development ends. Heather runs from location to location meeting the odd resident. Each person gives bite sized chunks of back-story only to then die or disappear (Why was Malcolm McDowell in this?) and Heather continues to run on. At the movies climax all is solved with a hug and the film just ends.

It feels as if the film was relying more on being a visual spectacle which is odd considering the rather reduced budgetary limitations. I have to commend the use of practical effects over the use of CGI (which when used is laughably bad at times (mannequin spider)) but they are hardly spectacular examples of the craft. They are also hindered by the fact that the new creature designs are lazy and come off more as rejected Cenobites from the direct to DVD Hellraiser sequels.

The main issue I ran across was the distinct shift in tone between both movies. The first film worked for me as it presented a dreamlike arena for the characters to interact with. Atmosphere played into events with creepy nightmarish imagery. Revelation uses the same look but presents it in a way that misses what made the first work. Serving up a traditional horror experience with jump scares and loud noises (there was one effective sequence utilising the nurses from the first movie).

At this point the movie is down on plot, visuals and scares with only the acting left to support it. Unfortunately most of the cast are going through the motions reading their lines verbatim. I get the feeling its more from not really caring or understanding the context behind what they are verbalising. Prior to the Silent Hill setting things are pretty good, not outstanding (excluding Sean Beans awful American accent) but passable. Line delivery is so off I was wondering if they shot every scene in 1 take or they intentionally chose the worst readings so everyone matched.

I don't want to be too negative as it's at least watchable (just not that interesting) so I searched hard to find something to compliment. The music is well fitting and gives a more effective link to the games and its intended ominous atmosphere. That said the tracks that work are from the first Silent Hill movie, it may have been more of a cheap ploy to save money but it actually benefits the film.

The movie also lays the groundwork for potential follow up sequels in a mishmash ending. The first relates back to a huge looming question set up in the first movie. I'm actually glad they sidestepped this throughout this movies runtime as there were more than enough convoluted plot points to shift through. The only downside is that I very much doubt it will ever be followed up on due to the negative reaction to this movie and the requirement of Sean Bean in a larger role.

The other set ups or nods to the game were completely lost on me and left me bemused. After a quick search online I found them to be references to Silent Hill Origins and Downpour. It would have been nice if they were handled with a bit more clarity or thrown in earlier in the movie so I wasn't left with that WTF feeling.

Silent Hill revelation is barely passable as a form of entertainment but I have to be thankful that I didn't waste money on watching it in the cinema. I can't recommend picking it up on DVD either as it's not even fun laughing at the production as its downright shameful. I say wait until it can be found at a bargain price.

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Movie Details

Movie Poster Here
Director:Michael J. Bassett
Screenplay: Michael J. Bassett
Starring:Adelaide Clemens
Kit Harington
Sean Bean