Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)
Directed by: Micheal J. Bassett
Written by: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Carrie-Anne Moss, Deborah Kara Unger, Kit Harington, Malcolm McDowell, Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
(15) Running time: 94 minutes
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Writer: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Sean Bean, Kit Harington
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
I have been reading a number of reviews for Michael J. Bassett’s sequel to Christophe Gans excellent video game adaptation, Silent Hill. I can honestly say that I am shocked and saddened at the hate and negative words going around for Silent Hill: Revelation. I don’t understand where it all stems from. Granted the film is far from perfect, but seeing one star and even half a star reviews is quite frankly sickening. Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I imagine many will probably disagree with my review, but I actually really enjoyed this film and am more than happy to say that Silent Hill: Revelation is actually pretty good.
The film follows on years after the events of the first film: Sean Bean returns as Harry, and he and his daughter Heather/Sharon (Clemens) are moving from town to town in the hope of escaping the horrific Order of Silent Hill. See, Sharon escaped thanks to her Mother, but Silent Hill need her back, and members of The Order are trying desperately to get her to come back by her own free will. The best way to do this is to kidnap Harry, and hope that Heather comes after him and returns to Silent Hill.
In a new town Heather and Harry have barely settled in when strange things begin to happen: Heather’s nightmares of Silent Hill intensify, a strange man dressed like a pervert is following her to school, Heather’s visions of a alternate Hell are getting stronger, and not only that, Heather has actually managed to befriend someone for the first time in her life. While introducing herself as the new girl at school, the new boy Vincent (Harington) takes a shine to her, but little does he know the dangers that surround this mysterious girl. Granted some of the dialogue in these early moments is a little staged and quite forced in places, and in all honesty the writing is probably the weakest element of the movie. However, Bassett hints at the horrors to come with a number of nightmares and scary visions from Heather, and we are treated to glimpses of the monsters of Silent Hill plenty of times before actually getting there. It is these moments which should keep those losing interest excited, for Bassett truly has some good stuff in store as the film continues forward.
There is nothing wrong with the pacing in the first half, and the story is explained fully (including the events of how we came to this point in a painfully stupid scene involving Harry, his wife and a mirror), and those who may need a recap will be happy to know that very little work is required from you, the viewer. Films are asking a lot from audiences these days, and I for one enjoy putting in some work in trying to figure things out, but every now and then it is nice to watch a film and just simply sit back and go with it. Granted the explanations are a little too much at times, and you will notice problems in the writing that shows Bassett is not quite there yet as a writer, but come on, big nasty monsters are coming, and tons of homage moments to the frightening games the film is based on.
Now, I have only (briefly)played one or two of the games, but I have a good idea of the visuals and sounds I would have expected to experience here, and Bassett is true to his word that he is a huge fan of the games. My wife, sat next to me and totally transfixed on the screen, is a little more intelligent when it comes to these games, and if she gave me a nudge or appeared to have been zapped with an electrical current while sat in her seat, then that was proof enough for me that something was going on in the film that she recognised from the games. We get to Silent Hill and within seconds the darkness comes and the siren wails, this is what we have come to see, and Bassett does not disappoint. After the first eerie entrance: quiet, calm with the mist and ash making terrific use of the 3D, we are literally plunged into Hell as Heather encounters one horrible monster or sequence after another. Bassett has perfectly created these later scenes to look like the games, sound like the games (even the distant background noises are perfect) and feel like the games. The rooms are claustrophobic, and the lighting is nauseating and not very clear. We experience what Heather is going through, and boy there are some great moments.
The Nurses stand-out as vicious and incredibly disturbing, other monsters come and go and while there are many that will conjure up thoughts of Clive Barkers Hellraiser, Bassett keeps the creatures distinctively right for the film. There is even a moment where one gunshot is not enough to kill a monster and, like in the games, multiple shots are required. Bassett clearly knows the franchise, and I would imagine fans of the games will probably find a lot more to enjoy here than those who haven’t played it. Bassett even throws in a terrific new monster made out of mannequins: the spider-like creature is wonderful and totally insane!
Special mention too to the superb creation of Pyramid Head who turns up in possibly the films stand-out scene. I won’t spoil it, but his big proper entrance is fantastic, shocking, disturbing and utterly horrific and I very nearly jumped up and cheered! A special mention also to Malcolm McDowell who turns up in a brilliant cameo role, and he out does himself by really hamming up his performance in the best way possible.
Silent Hill: Revelation was shot in 3D, and it shows. The opening credits showing the ash falling is quite possibly the best use of the format I have seen. While the rest of the film does not always use the 3D to its full extent, there are some great moments that hark back to the good old days of horror when 3D was first being used. Blood and weapons fly out of the screen often, and finally we have a film that should really be seen in 3D instead of 2D. The scenes once we get to Silent Hill really benefit from the format, and while I am still not convinced 3D will last, this film at least shows us the way forward in how it should be used in horror.
A rushed ending kind of spoils things, and if I am being totally honest, I would have liked to have spent more time in Silent Hill, but there is a hint of a sequel. However, with the negative reviews I worry that another film might not happen. Silent Hill: Revelation is a neat, easy to watch horror flick that, for me, pretty much ticked all the boxes, and going into this film with low expectations probably helped me enjoy it more. There are problems here, and the majority comes from the dodgy script and some bad acting (Carrie Anne-Moss is awful), but as a bit of horror fun, you can’t go to0 wrong with this. It is bloody, violent and while not particularly scary, it has dozens of nice horror touches that might creep out the more casual horror fan. My advice is ignore the negative reviews, go in with an open mind, expect the worst and you just might be pleasantly surprised by this effort.
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