Let’s go back to Silent Hill.
Silent Hill Revelation is the direct sequel to the first film Silent Hill that while flawed, did manage to do some interesting things. The sequel was universally hated by critics and audiences alike, so a third outing seems highly unlikely.
Part of the problem with this film is that despite being a direct sequel it seems to think we need to have all of the information retold to us. We follow Heather (she changes her name, but for simplicity I’m just going to call her Heather) who escaped from Silent Hill, and now her father Harry needs to protect her from the cult looking for her. This sounds all fine and good, right? The cult eventually kidnaps Harry to lure Heather back (because she must return of her own volition) and with the help of Vincent (played by Jon Snow) she makes her way to the city.
How long should that above paragraph take in a film? What is your opinion? It takes about an hour here. For a film about a specific location, they sure take their time getting us there. I enjoy the lore of Silent Hill (I love the games), so I don’t mind soaking up more information, but so much of it seems circular here. Cult bad, Silent Hill bad. This is repeated in different ways so many times it becomes bit tiring.
For a series that relied on deep pathos in trauma and guilt it is a shame to see the film abandon that aspect and rely on jump scares. We get to see a lot of stitched faces and creepy monsters, but none of it means anything. It is just a fucked-up image designed to jolt adrenaline, not a manifestation of some crime or guilt, and that is a shame.
Weirdly, this movie has the right set-up with a lengthy introduction, but it doesn’t use it well. Getting to know these people and then having the horror mean something would have been preferred to what boils down to just a haunted house (well, amusement park). The notions of celestial horror are simply absent here.
The acting ranges from surprisingly phoned in (from Sean Bean) to okay, but the writing is universally stilted. The dialogue feels too much like a videogame in that people just announce how they feel instead of having a discussion.
The whole movie wants to exist in the world of Silent Hill but fails to capture the appropriate atmosphere. While some images are cool, nothing fully jives here. A large part of this is due to budget restraints and trying to cram a 20+ hour game into 90 minutes simply won’t fully work.
However, I didn’t hate it. Granted, a large part of my enjoyment of this movie might be that this was the first film we watched after doing all five Twilight films, so my view might be a little out of whack. Anyway, this is a serviceable horror film, much like the first. Yeah, it is kind of cheesy and overly complicated for not as much payoff as you would want, but the town is interesting, and the lore drew me in.
While this certainly isn’t a spectacular film, I don’t think it should be considered one of the worst ever. Oddly, it is probably better than half of the videogame adaptations out there. I’m also the type to give adaptations a long leash as far as changes go, which does put me in the minority (I think). With Silent Hill being dead outside of fucking slot machines (good job, Konami) this is the last time we’ll see the town on the big screen. While it isn’t a great sendoff, it was nice to be in the foggy streets one more time.
I think fans of the series will find this film okay—at best. People who aren’t already followers of the series will find it a subpar horror film. The user average on IMDB is a flat 5/10, and I think that is an accurate representation of the quality. Wait for streaming.