Written by J. Weagle
Welcome to Silent Hill.
At this point I’m starting to be convinced that it is impossible to make a good movie out of the beloved early Playstation video game series Silent Hill. I thought 2006’s Silent Hill did a decent job in the beginning at capturing the tone but that film eventually fell apart giving in to horror tropes and a nonsensical plot. Unlike that first film this follow up falls flat on its face right out of the gate and the problems only continue to get worse as the film progresses.
I’m a fan of the video game series, at least the first couple of entries and like everyone else who is a fan of those games it’s usually the story that makes them stand out. What always separated them from other survival horror games was their ability to constrain themselves and not overload the player with jump scares and grotesque monsters around every corner, but to allow the player to soak in the fantastic environments instead. Revelations does the complete opposite of that and because of it becomes very unfaithful to what the games strive to be. However the movie thinks differently, you could tell that the filmmakers thought, ‘lets toss in as much fan service as possible, that way no one can complain.’
The film is a direct sequel to the original film with some returning characters. The film follows Heather Mason and her father (Sean Bean) who are on the run, trying to keep one step ahead of something that she doesn’t fully understand and that her father will not explain. It’s now her eighteenth birthday and she is becoming tormented by horrific nightmares of a strange place and some ugly looking creatures. Eventually her father disappears with a message telling her to go to Silent Hill, Heather will soon discover that she is not who she thinks she is and her nightmares might just be real.
In theory this plot is enough of a setup to get our characters into the infamous town, but the issues start right away. There is little to no chemistry between anyone, and I get the feeling that for the most part they were all phoning this one in. The build up happens extremely quickly so there is no time to get to understand or feel anything for Heather or her school friends as within minutes we are thrown into a world of ash, decaying buildings and bad looking CGI monsters.
The effects overall are just awful and extremely overdone. I will admit that some do look better than others, but I couldn’t help but ask why all of them show up. Basically every memorable enemy from the games makes an appearance, just long enough to say “hey gamers, I’m here as well” and then disappear into the meaningless story. The environments do look cool and are very faithful to the source material, but again it almost feels like the writers cherry picked their favourite areas from the games and made sure they were in the movie. Once the movie gets going the plot becomes thiner and thiner, taking Heather from one level (or set piece) to the other, each introducing new foes for her to avoid.
Silent Hill: Revelations fails in just about every way possible. It’s not fun to watch, as the scares are almost nonexistent. The special effects are at an unacceptable level of bad making certain creatures look as though they don’t even fit into the world. The acting shifts between just plain boring and so over the top it is laughable. The only real positives I can give Revelations is that the town itself looks great, and the music as always is fantastic.
I wasn’t expecting much going into this film and for good reason, video game adaptations usually suck. It’s a shame however because maybe the potential for a good Silent Hill film is there and with the right team behind it, it could work in a sort of Hellraiser-ish way. If you’re a huge Silent Hill fan maybe you’ll find something here in seeing some of these creatures on the screen, but if you are looking for a quality movie, look elsewhere.