I honestly can’t believe Silent Hill Revelation (I just now learned that it’s not actually called Revelations, apparently there’s just the one) even exists. It has been six years since the original movie and while there was always talk of a sequel, I figured it was a lost cause. The first one didn’t do great and nobody really liked it (for the record I totally did) so it seemed unlikely but hey, it was cool we even got one. But holy shit we got another one! It exists, I know because I’ve seen it! And they didn’t reboot the franchise like many expected - they made a goddamn sequel!
That’s the part that blows my mind the most. They sequelized a six-year old movie that I don’t think a lot of people have seen. I’m a massive fan of the games so to me that’s awesome, but if you’re not familiar with the games and haven’t seen the first movie (and I’m going to assume both of those are true for the majority of the audience) then you are going to be fucking baffled.
This movie tells the plot of Silent Hill 3, which was the continuation of the story from the first Silent Hill. We have our main girl Heather who is moving from town to town with her father, believing that they are running from the cops after he stabbed a guy who attacked them. But soon she will find out that they’re not running from the cops, but from supernatural shit! The town of Silent Hill wants Heather back for reasons that I don’t dare get into here. There’s a lot of story to tell (the games are not exactly straight-forward) and they don’t have the length of the game to tell it.
That actually leads into two of my biggest gripes with the movie. The first is that I really think it needed to be longer. It’s only about 90 minutes long and they have a LOT of story to get through so as a result, it’s all very rushed through and it makes almost every scene incredibly exposition heavy. There’s no room for characters to breathe, they are always talking about what’s happening in the story and what people are doing, etc. It’s definitely a tell not show kind of movie. I think the story is interesting because again, I really love the game (and my wife who has not played it also said the story was intriguing) so it doesn’t completely hurt the movie, but I would have liked a bit more time to spend with the characters themselves.
The performances are ok. Again it’s not easy to sell a lot of the stuff these guys have to say so I respect they are able to say things like “the seal of metatron” and make it believable. Also did Sean Bean’s character have an accent in the first movie? I really don’t remember that. They do bring just about everyone back from the first movie for quick cameos, though the scene between Sean and his missing wife is so stilted and melodramatic that it completely falls flat.
Anyway, the real question everyone has it how is the Silent Hill-ness of it all? I have to say, pretty solid. The sets look fantastic, capturing the feel of the game really, really well. We don’t spend a lot of time in the actual town but the fog and ash is still as perfect as it was in the first movie. Well done guys, damn fine job with the overall look of the movie.
I was a little disappointed in the creatures themselves. Pyramid Head is of course here even though it doesn’t really make sense for him to be. He doesn’t have much to do, and his final scene is probably the silliest thing in this movie. Kinda wish they didn’t do that. The twitchy sex nurses are of course back and just as fucked as ever. The problem is that we already saw these creatures in the first movie. They do introduce a mannequin spider, that scene is pretty cool. But the first movie had that barbed wire toilet guy, and nothing is out fucking uped that guy. I do love though that aside from the mannequin spider, all the creatures are simply people in costumes, moving all fucked up. There are also just a few too many jump scares for a franchise that is not so much about jump scares. The games have always been about fucked up imagery, things you don’t want to be seeing and experiencing but you’re stuck and have no choice. This movie has some of that, and what’s there works well, but the first movie pulled that off more effectively.
If you’re a fan of the game there are lots of little references only you will understand. Character names, the map in the asylum, and especially the ending, are all best appreciated by people who know the games. Plus you get some of the terrific music pieces from the games themselves, which translate over to the movie real well.
I s’pose I should mention the 3D. First of all I don’t like that the marketing keeps using the whole “3D ride through hell” thing cuz My Bloody Valentine owns that I’m afraid. The 3D is ok. The falling ash is easily the best effect, the rest is just “knives all up in yo’ face bitch!” Seriously, 90% of the 3D is just blades coming out at you. I was hoping they would embrace the gimmick just a little bit more than they did.
While I love just how insanely loyal these movies are to the storylines in the games, it does sometimes work against them, such as the exposition heavy story I mentioned earlier. But they just capture the look and feel of the games so well that I have to give them immense credit. For that reason, I did enjoy this movie. It’s absolutely flawed, but I had fun with it, and appreciate the fact it even got made. And I mean a spider mannequin does feel up a naked chick, and that’s something I’ve never seen before.
I’ve also been informed by some asshole on the Internet that because I liked this movie I’m not a true Silent Hill fan. Which sucks, cuz I thought I really liked this franchise. But apparently I don’t. Ah well, lesson learned I guess!