Silent Hill: Revelation
The horror genre has been in a dire state for a number of years now. The genuinely creepy days of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Alien, Hellraiser or even The Thing are long gone. The arrival of Saw in 2001 (though in itself relatively tame) heralded a slew of films looking only to disgust you rather than disturb you. Films such as Hostel, however poor they were, still had self-respect. You can see that they have an artistic vision, that the actors want to be there, however crappy the end result. None of this is present in Silent Hill: Revelation, a cynical, cold, ugly mess of a movie that takes pains to ensure you are the least entertained you could possibly be.
Adelaide Clemens (famous for nothing, and even less after this role) plays 17 year old Heather who has been on the run with her father Harry (Sean Bean), who we last saw in Silent Hill losing his wife and adopted daughter to the fog of the abandoned town. After Heather is followed by a man in a trench coat on her first day at a new school, she comes home to find that her father has been dragged off, with an ominous message on the wall: “Come to Silent Hill”. Followed by another student Vincent (Kit Harrington, the damp cloth who plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones to you and me) she ends up back in the nightmarish town to fight a mysterious cult and save her father.
The film follows on from the first Silent Hill film, released some 6 six years ago, itself an adaptation of the popular Silent Hill survival horror computer games developed and published by Konami. The film was creepy, didn’t get too caught up in exposition and had a decent level of gore without it becoming silly.
Silent hill: Revelation decides to do the complete opposite. After a completely pointless opening (the jump scare from a pink bunny rabbit is particularly sans point) that turns out to be just a stupid dream, the film introduces her father, Sean Bean, who is immediately stabbed in the throat. This too is a dream (are you keeping up?) and that sound you hear is your brain slamming the door as it leaves your skull in a huff. When we finally get back to what we assume is reality, it doesn’t get much better. Sean Bean splutters his lines in an uneven accent and clearly does not want to be there. There’s a disturbingly romantic moment between him and his daughter, but thankfully that’s the last we see of their relationship.
Most of the scenes are trying to play as deathly serious and tense, but come off clunky and camp instead. One such scene features a cameo from the protagonist of the previous film, Radha Mitchell, who appears in a mirror, drops off a young girl to Sean Bean, and gets out again before someone recognises her. Sean Bean immediately rushes over to the girl and shoves her head out of frame so that we can’t see how bad her acting is. It isn’t clear for another 20 minutes that this entire exchange is a flashback.
The film also spends some time trying to establish a convincing relationship between Heather and the mysterious Vincent. We are supposed to buy that Vincent has fallen in love with Heather in the space of an afternoon as they frolic amongst the lazy screenplay. It is shocking that the boring dialogue and exposition passed even a single edit. Defying the laws of physics, it gets even worse when a mysterious medallion enters the plot, requiring monotone explanations that no one asked for. If you don’t like the idea of a magic medallion, don’t worry: after setting up how important it is to the plot, the medallion disappears entirely after it’s shoved inside Malcolm McDowell (what is he even doing in this movie?)
Amongst all the confused plot and catastrophic acting there are also the graphics and sound to contend with. Silent Hill: Revelation goes far beyond the normal jump scare. The sound of nails scratching glass assault you at every turn at such an unnecessary volume that it causes migraines. The 3D, too, attempts to claw your eyes out with how B-grade it is. Quite a number of limbs are chopped off in this film, all of which fly in slow motion out towards the audience. There’s something about the depth of the 3D that makes it feel completely detached from reality, making it often laughable.
One scene is particularly egregious from start to finish. Featuring a girl that appears out of the blue to accompany Heather, she lasts the whole of 60 seconds before she is dragged off by some kind of piss poor mannequin monster. It’s shiny, stupid and looks completely fake. The girl seems to have been shoved in simply so they had someone to kill off. No wonder Heather never appears scared in this film – she’s trying not to laugh.
The worst part about this film, (apart from Carrie-Anne Moss turning up to say hi) is that the ending threatens a sequel. There is nothing redeeming here, nothing so-bad-it’s-good. It spends far too much effort on needless and rambling exposition and the attempted scares are laughable. The first Silent Hill was decent. What went wrong here? The answer is everything. Sean Bean has done what he’s been threatening for years and finally double-crossed his own career.