Silent Hill: Revelation is Really Stinky!
By Kristin Battestella
When we settled in for a marathon of both Silent Hill films, we debated some of the plot holes and designs from the first film, sure, but nonetheless, Silent Hill is an enjoyable and scary little movie. Unfortunately, the 2012 sequel Silent Hill: Revelation is a retconned mess of running thru the motions and bad 3D escapades.
18-year-old Sharon (Adelaide Clemens) and her father Chris Da Silva (Sean Bean) have been on the run under assorted assumed names since Sharon escaped from Silent Hill as a young girl – although her mother Rose (Rahda Mitchell) remains trapped in the alternate reality. The Order of Valtiel pursues Sharon in her latest incarnation as Heather Mason, along with her fellow new in town boyfriend Vincent (Kit Harington). The Order soon abducts her father, forcing Sharon to return to Silent Hill where she must unite the Seal of Metatron and do battle with Priestess Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss).
Yeah, I confess I gave up on trying to do a decent plot summary. Understandably, Silent Hill’s Oscar winning writer Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) was unavailable to pen a sequel thanks to his vehicular manslaughter conviction. However, new writer and director Michael J. Bassett (Deathwatch) wastes all the intriguing possibilities of Silent Hill and instead creates a weird, unnecessary, near remake in his rewriting of the original film’s history. Silent Hill: Revelation is neither a sequel to the first film nor a sensical adaptation of the video game franchise, and I’m seriously thinking that writers and directors should no longer be one and the same – we have some George Lucas midi-clorians single moms here! And let’s not forget the all new, entirely different from the first film cult, oh yes. Revelation would have its zealots using mystical relics to summon gods instead of burning witches at the stake. Pieces from the first Silent Hill are awkwardly kept or reintroduce thru clips, flashbacks, and new scenes, but these elements feel like a trailer to something completely different. It’s as if Silent Hill: Revelation is meant for teens that would happen to take in this scary movie at the cinema, for this audience isn’t expected to know or care about the first film. What the hell kind of sequel is that? The task of fulfilling both the previous film and the video game series is already near impossible, but the bad dialogue and very poor script here are not happening for either purpose. Considering how the first Silent Hill concluded, I’m not sure how this story could possibly be its successor. The maturity quotient of a mother searching for her child as in the first film has become a completely moot point in this picture about a teenager. It’s totally obvious that everything possible was done to make Revelation a fast paced teenquel, regardless of what either the film or game precursors needed. Can’t we have movies about adults instead of kids for a change? Even if you dislike the first Silent Hill, I think everyone would have preferred seeing a step up of its atmosphere, continued horror maturity, and scary video game graphics possibilities before…this.
I freely admit my bias for the newly Bafta nominated Sean Bean, and he was the only thing that kept me tuned in here. How he can do such magic like Accused and then this drivel is beyond me! A sequel to Silent Hill with Bean starring as a father researching the alternate dimension of Silent Hill and pursuing his lost in the town’s abyss wife ala the second video game seems like a far, far more interesting movie than the piss poor Revelation take on the Silent Hill 3 game. Here, Bean ends up chained beneath a squatting Atlas-esque demon god statue for most of the film after his daughter does the stupid thing he expressly says not to do and sets all the crappy in motion. I’m glad that he’s playing unique or fatherly characters and he still looks great, but I’ll be damn Bean has made a few ten minute appearances in some serious clunkers recently and his accent is all over the place here. Fellow Game of Thrones House Stark Kit Harington is also one walking cliché after another. This Vincent has an obvious inside cult connection, yet he’s willing to die for a girl he’s only known for two days- although she has to save the boy who’s supposed to be helping her. Silent Hill: Revelation actually doesn’t collapse into an excuse for make outs and sex scenes, thankfully. However, this boy toy ridiculousness would be bad enough, except for the fact that our couple is related!
Unfortunately, stellar performers like Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), and brief appearances by the returning Rahda Mitchell and Deborah Kara Unger are absolutely wasted. I don’t think any one of them has more than 5 minutes of screen time before being replaced by a lame monster or inexplicably disappearing altogether. Why was this massive accumulation of talent, the scary game design, and monster action quest for adults potential wasted for a retcon for teenagers? Even if one let’s go of the erroneous approach, Revelation is not that good of a teen horror film. The relatively tame gore and imagery and one ridiculous count of nudity warrant an R rating? Hardly, and I must say Adelaide Clemens (Love My Way) is decidedly unimpressive. Granted, she keeps her clothes on and is neither a sexy bimbo or bad ass bitch. However, she’s also like every other girl or boy unknown lead taking over in these newer horror films – indistinguishable from the pack. The mish mash of source pieces from the first film and the video games only create a more muddled mess of character motivations, and the players can’t stand out. The viewer is supposed to care about an evil cult in an alternate dimension, yet these utmost evil people need to hire Martin Donovan (Weeds) as their PI? This weird mix of characters from the first Silent Hill and the video games just does not work.
Now, about those graphics. Where the first film may have positively or negatively divided audiences due to its video game-esque design, Revelation looks like every other horror movie made this decade. Actually, it sort of resembles a high end haunted house tour – from a demented circus and merry go round and a cannibal burger joint to a people turned mannequins shop run by some sort of body parts spider, a slice and dice asylum, and finally a monster Ultimate Fighting Championship. These scenes are pointless and disjointed, merely going thru the motions of each set piece in order to fill up the expected 90 minutes. Every death, blood splatter, elevator, and overturned piece of furniture is utilized for a 3D angle. Despite the latest design and 3D effects work, Silent Hill: Revelation doesn’t look good on blu-ray and the multi dimensional attempts are obvious, ridiculous fakery. This is my precise problem with 3D film-making. Maybe Avatar had groundbreaking graphics and state of the art animation, sure. Unfortunately, in the rush for everyone to copy the formula, this new 3D has quickly returned to the exact same desperate fling things at the camera 3D of old. Too many times during Revelation I was reminded of Jaws 3 or Friday the 13th Part 3 – not good company!
Perhaps it is unfair to compare and Silent Hill wasn’t a perfect movie, but it had good scares and was most definitely watchable. Silent Hill: Revelation, on the other had, is not. I don’t normally fiddle with the remote during a show, but we kept checking the running time and hoping it was padded with credits! While fans of the cast can enjoy their individual clips, Silent Hill: Revelation unfulfills on its predecessor and the gaming franchise – to say the least.