Mark Julian Reviews SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D
In a genre full of mediocrity, it's generally agreed that Silent Hill is the best movie to date that's based on a video game. Six years later does Silent Hill: Revelation match the eerie mysteriousness of its predecessor or does it succumb to the video game curse? Read on for my spoiler-free review.
I watched the first Silent Hill movie as a refresher before heading off to see Silent Hill: Revelation. After all these years, it surprisingly still holds up well. But the original writer Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) and director Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of The Wolf) are not attached to the sequel. Instead, Michael J. Basset (Solomon Kane) has taken on both writing and directing duties and the lack of creative consistency is definitely felt. Absent is the sense of mystery possessed by the first film. Instead, we are beaten over the head with repeat summaries of the events of the first film which take up an unnecessarily large amount of the film's meager 1 hr 34min runtime. Once Revelation is absolutely sure that the audience is clear on the events of the first film, the film goes one misstep further with an incredibly convenient yet still vague explanation as to how Sharon/Alessa played by newcomer Adelaide Clemens managed to escape from Silent Hill. After the straightforward info dump the actual movie finally begins however at this point we're simply presented with mindless scare-action that isn't actually all that scary. Where the first film utilized the action as a means to unfold a complex story the sequel utilizes the story as an excuse to move from one scare to the next.
Rahda Mitchell and Deborah Kara Unger who play two of the lead characters in the first film are criminally underused in minor cameos which actually perform the same task of providing the aforementioned summaries of the first film. Kit Harrington and Clemens are really trying but the nonsensical plot wastes their efforts. Carrie Anne Moss is also vastly underutilized in her role as leader of the mysterious order hellbent on capturing Clemens' character. Yet, for the very definition of underutilization we have to look at Malcom McDowell's character in the film. In the film for a total of about 5 minutes he too only serves the purpose of clumsily info dumping necessary plot fodder to move the story along. With a cast including Moss, McDowell, Bean and Harrington it's baffling that they're given so little to do. The film's actual dialogue is ok, having only a few cringe-worthy moments, overall it's still serviceable. The failure of this film lies within the story itself, it's about as creative as a square-shaped wheel. The decision making that occurs in this film actually produced out-loud laughter at certain points. The worst decision by far however, is the fact that the big questions left from the first film, the hook ending of the mother and child still being trapped in an alternate dimension was solved in a quick 3 minute flashback told by Mitchell. That's just inexcusable and the film was destined for failure from that point onward.
The SFX are not as gritty and visceral as the first film. Everything in Silent Hill has a plastic, computer generated aesthetic which makes it hard for true immersion. The 3D adds nothing to the film whatsoever; aside from snowflakes and falling soot, there's only a handful of true 3d shots.
The film ends on another hook ending of sorts, with Sean Beans character intent on searching through Silent Hill to find his still missing wife who was supposedly still trapped in the alternate dimension but didn't actually show up during any of the present tense action. However, it's extremely unlikely that we'll ever see a threequel as the lackluster entry from Revelation has surely killed off this potential franchise.
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