October 27, 2012

Review – Silent Hill: Revelation

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:24 pm

Review Silent Hill Revelation
With the abandoned streets filled with fog and the faceless nurses in place, the latest adaption of Silent Hill descends on theaters, primarily as a reminder of why so many videogame franchises adapt rather poorly to film.

Much like 2004’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Silent Hill: Revelation captures the settings and names of a videogame while struggling to carry the baggage of the original film, and attempting to weave its own story from that mixed bag of details.

Rather than taking the opportunity of the license to tell a unique story with the rich visual aesthetics Silent Hill offers, Revelation stitches the plot of the third Silent Hill videogame together with the story established by the first film adaption of the series.

Unlike the original 2006 film release, the attempt to cram all the details into a singular film leaves audiences with a muddled mess, where characters have little time to make any connection with each other or viewers while rushing through obligatory dialogue and sequences in order to check every box on the list.

I’m skeptical about whether I can even sum all the details up for you, but let’s give it a shot.

Review Silent Hill Revelation
Sean Bean reprises his role as Christopher Da Silva, and is on the run with his adopted daughter, whom despite being trapped with Da Silva’s wife, Rose, in the first film, was returned to him with the aid of a seal that allowed her to escape while Rose remained lost in the town.

The two are continually moving, on the run from the cult also trapped in Silent Hill but able to send agents outside for brief periods to hound them. In keeping with the videogame references, the fleeing Da Silva’s change their names to Harry and Heather Mason, and the leaders of the cult are quickly named as Claudia Wolf, her father Leonard Wolf, and Claudia’s son Vincent. As the film begins, Harry is even good enough to buy Heather the signature jacket worn by her character in Silent Hill 3 to help set the stage.

Review Silent Hill Revelation
Heather’s first day at her newest school is an eventful one, as she is pestered by the advances of Vincent while also pursued by a private detective hired by the cult to find her – only to get home to find her father kidnapped and the message “Come to Silent Hill” written in blood on the wall.

Of course, Vincent soon finds himself driving Heather to Silent Hill, with a short exchange of ridiculous details from a notebook that her father kept, which reads like a Silent Hill primer – from the history of the cult to design sketches of the monsters. But since this wasn’t silly enough, the two stop at a hotel long enough for Heather to find out that Vincent is a member of the cult, but no longer able to keep it a secret since he has now known Heather for nearly twenty-four hours and is convinced she is a good person.

At this point the town itself becomes as impatient as the audience, stirring the darkness to take Vincent away and leaving Heather to wake up and make the short walk down the street to Silent Hill.

Review Silent Hill Revelation
As Heather trips through Silent Hill, she stumbles into an area filled with female mannequins, soon discovering several of them alive and panicking while watching one frightened girl change into one before her eyes. A jangled mannequin monster soon awakens and chases her from the building, and the scenario remains the one instance where the film captures even a wisp of what makes Silent Hill the sort of place that gets under your skin.

The rest of the trip finds Heather making stops to see Leonard Wolf, played by Malcolm McDowell of all people, and saving Vincent before reaching the amusement park for a final confrontation with Alessa – the abomination responsible for the darkness of Silent Hill, and Heather’s other half / mother. The cult needs Heather to free themselves from the curse of Alessa that has trapped them there and to give birth to their God.

Heather and Alessa have a battle of wills while hugging and twirling around on a flaming merry-go-round before Heather is proclaimed the victor and confronts Claudia, which then somehow leads to an awkwardly edited fight sequence between Pyramid Head and the monstrous form of Claudia.

Review Silent Hill Revelation
Admittedly, the videogame that this film struggles to capture has a very complicated and ridiculous plot that these details stem from. But the advantage for a videogame is that the play of the experience provides time to absorb all the details, rather than quickly shifting a passive viewer from scene to scene. One could argue that the game grabs many of the essential pieces accurately, and that’s true. The problem is it captures the pieces sans the substance of the experience that builds during several more hours of playing through a videogame. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is often cringe-worthy, as actors struggle to spit out the lines meant to patch all the pieces together – which is unfortunate, because the film isn’t short on people accused of being solid actors.

By the time the film reaches a climax that has Pyramid Head throw down for some mortal kombat, I really just wanted the experience to be over.

And it shortly thereafter was, but not before the film drops references to Silent Hill: Origins and Downpour just for good measure.

Though I went into Revelation with low expectations, I naively assumed that the worst story would gain some mileage with powerful visuals, and while there are some memorable visual moments, there’s nothing you couldn’t be better served with by the original film.

As someone who can even justify the Resident Evil films by contending that we at least get to see Milla Jovovich do back flips while shooting coins into monsters, it’s beyond me to conjure a single reason to recommend paying for a visit to Silent Hill with this release.


  1. Soooo, not eevn worth the price as a popcorn weekend movie? 3D any good?

    Comment by EdEN — October 27, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  2. The ash in the streets looks good in 3D. And there’s one moment where a descending elevator looked cool. That’s the best I can come up with :/

    Comment by Jamie Love — October 27, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

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