Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
October 26, 2012 (US Theatrical)
Michael J. Bassett
Michael J. Bassett
Adelaide Clemens as Heather/Alessa
Kit Harington as Vincent
Carrie-Anne Moss as Claudia Wolf
Sean Bean as Harry
Radha Mitchell as Rose Da Silva
Malcolm McDowell as Leonard
Martin Donovan as Douglas
Deborah Kara Unger as Dahlia
Roberto Campanella as Red Pyramid
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D brings us back to the hellish world of Alessa and her realm of rage and hate. CGI reigns in this revamp of the 2006 Silent Hill, and the same monsters rear their ugly heads.
Years ago, in 2006 in fact, a woman named Rose ventured into an abandoned town called Silent Hill to try and find her missing daughter Sharon. Once a vibrant town, Silent Hill became a death trap when an underground coal fire turned the air toxic and created a constant fog and rain of ash. At least that is the story people tell. In the 2006 film Silent Hill we learn that, in fact, the sins of prior occupants of Silent Hill created a hell on earth just under the surface of the physical reality we usually see, and, and the tortured souls trapped there want young Sharon as one of their own.
Only in a computer game could a story so convoluted come to fruition, and the Silent Hill series is one of the most popular game series ever. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D picks up the story about six years later, focused on young Sharon (Jodelle Ferland). Her mother was able to free her from Silent Hill the first time around, but unfortunately there was only enough room for one escapee, and mom remains trapped in this forsaken land. In spite of Sharon’s escape and apparent freedom the nightmares and visions she has seem to be drawing her back to that desolate place.
The first Silent Hill was a big fat CGI-laced computer-gamey romp with outrageous creatures and impossible escapes from the clutches of boss monsters with seemingly unlimited power. The film grossed more world wide than the estimated $50M price tag, but not much. Interesting, then, that a sequel should be created now. The horror movie-going public seems to be responding well to remakes (unfortunately), especially 3D remakes, so it seems like it was now or never. So now we have a big fat CGI-laced computer-gamey haunted attraction type of follow up.
The storyline for Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is a bit strange and hard to follow, but this is an onscreen adaptation of a game after all, and when it’s all said and done the general tale works okay in the context of the film’s predecessor. Just like in a good game, there needs to be a story to semi-explain the crazy things that happen on the screen, but not a huge story… just enough to provide some kind of point to the mayhem, and give the characters something to strive for. This film accomplishes that, well enough.
The CGI effects are interesting and fun to watch, but extremely over the top to the point of being somewhat cartoonish. The point seems to be that a living person is frolicking about in a dimension of Hell, so nobody is looking for realism, but at the end of the day what’s happening is so crazy and Technicolor that it’s a bit more like the nightmares of Roger Rabbit than a horror film. There is also not anything new here, compared to the first Silent Hill film. If anything, the monsters are less scary rather than more, and there are no bugs or other things to add any creep-factor. Just sewn-up faces, knife wielding nurses, and a conglomeration of mannequins running around like a spider. Not scary at all… not even as scary as the game villains that inspired this film. This all sounds very negative, but in spite of the shortcomings the effects are indeed fun to watch, and are a highlight of the film.
The other highlight is the creative use of various scary scenes and sets, from littered corridors and abandoned libraries to areas with hanging webs and people wrapped in plastic. The effect is that of exploring through a very well done haunted attraction, and the pacing of the film stays consistent with the “haunted house experience” from beginning to end. Our heroine moves from scene to scene, with the requisite monster jumping out and chasing her down to the next haunted scene. Rinse and repeat. There is no doubt that several of these scenes will make their way to local haunted houses in no time flat.
The acting performances are all pretty flat and uninspired – basically phoned in. Nobody was looking for a Best Actor credit when they signed up for this one, and it shows. I guess there is only so much performance depth that can be mustered when every scene is performed in front of a blue screen.
The first 2/3 of the film are fun – effects are interesting, haunted house scenes are creative, actors are not so bad that they detract… then comes the final 1/3. The film just kind of ends, really. There is a big reveal, there is a showdown between competing evil forces, there is even a mega boss… but in all cases, only kind of. The big dramatic ending and overcoming of some untold evil just never comes to pass. In the first Silent Hill the big reveal along with Alessa’s creative use of razor wire is worth the price of admission all by itself, but in this follow up we have no such luck. Many in the audience were thinking that they really kind of liked this film until the tacked-on ending came along and ruined the buzz. Very disappointing.
We have yet to see the budget numbers for Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, but it would be a safe bet that the filmmakers learned something from the lackluster performance of the first one. I’m sure the attempt was to keep the budget as low as possible, throw in enough cool effects for a great trailer, make sure it’s 3D and promote the heck out of it so that the first couple weekends puts the finances in the black – that seems to have been the strategy. For horror freaks who are down with that, have at it. I’m glad I saw Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, but I won’t be watching it again.