Directed by Michael J. Bassett
I can still recall the first time I saw Silent Hill in the theater. The tone of the movie had me smiling from start to finish. A killer soundtrack, amazing atmosphere and original monsters kept me coming back for repeat viewings over the years. News of a sequel sort of crept up on me, but my love of the original film kept me optimistic. Interviews at New York Comic Con and a director professing his love for the original and the video games made me even more excited. Then there was the screening… and the laughing… and the moaning… and my thought that I would really like to leave the theater had I not promised to write a review when the embargo date arrived… AND THAT DAY IS TODAY!!
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D begins some time after the first film. You’ll recall Rose returned home with Sharon/Alessa but still had not escaped the mist of Silent Hill. She eventually finds a way to push Sharon through to the living world, where she and her father are pursued by relatives of the Church of Burning Witches. Apparently they have franchises. Sharon/Alessa, now Heather/Alessa, along with her father, Chris, now Harry, are forced to move from town to town, changing their identity to avoid capture by those creepy pale people in suits while Heather is tormented by the siren song of her demonic half. When dad is finally captured, Heather must unravel the clues of her past to save him, but all roads to salvation run straight through… NEW JERSEY!! Fucking scared now, aren’t ya?! I’m kidding of course. It’s Silent Hill.
There are so many disappointing things in this film. Things that just went completely wrong. I hardly know where to start. The first moments play out like a soap opera taking a hard left into supernatural territories. “Rose, my love… I want to love you, but I better not touch… I want to hold you, but my senses tell me to stop…” Wait… those are the lyrics to “Poison” by Alice Cooper. Oddly, they are very close to the actual dialogue from the movie. Characters spell out entire sections of plot while Heather steals melodramatic moments with the mysterious Vincent (Harington). Honestly, I’ve seen most of these actors be brilliant so I can only assume the cast was shown copious episodes of “Baywatch” and told, “DO THIS… ONLY HARDER!” It’s rather painful, but the worst is yet to come.
Heather begins to gather clues to unlocking Silent Hill; they are often physical bits that may be right from the games, but to someone uninitiated they’ll seem a bit lame. Her goal is to save her father from crazed religious extremists led by the elf chick from Hellboy 2 (see below), but that message is muddied among the needless scenes spent searching for the answers to asinine clues, a visit to Malcolm McDowell, who for whatever reason is wearing a far too revealing see-through top, and many trips through Silent Hill’s more demonic parts, which are now dressed to look like some overly drippy Halloween spook house, complete with live actors stuffed in between stacks of body parts so they can scream as you pass by. At every turn there’s the bunny from the game Silent Hill 3. He is just there to enhance our hatred for the horrific set designs. Other locales will remind you of the ceremonial chamber from Big Trouble in Little China. So… much… neon.
The monsters of Silent Hill should be the saving grace of this movie, but we’ve seen Pyramid Head before so that impact is lost. We’ve seen the ridiculous, porny, homicidal Japanese video game nurses do their twitchy, slashy dance. “THEIR VISION IS BASED ON MOVEMENT!!” No really… their vision is based on movement. New additions include a mess of a mannequin monster, the only creature entirely done with CGI (and frightfully so), a lobotomy creature that had been insanely hyped to us in interviews but I swear was on the screen for under two minutes, and a female cenobite that has slightly less fear-inducing power than CD Head. We also get a grown-up Evil Alessa bearing some of the worst makeup I’ve ever seen in a major theatrical release. I imagine an executive said it should look like Alessa had been breathing the ashen air and so she has this odd blackness on her lips and around her nose. The lips are clearly lipstick, and the nose darkening makes her look like a vengeful, thin panda.
The only thing that could have possibly prevented this film from going so wrong is if fans went back in time to start offing producers Terminator style. While we were told from all points the filmmakers loved the original film and games, there is no evidence they understood what made that movie as beautiful as it was and the games so profoundly creepy. What we are left with plays like a straight-to-DVD mess on a shoestring budget with a super tight time frame created by old men looking to cash in on a property they saw as untapped. “We’ll bring back Pyramid Head and those slutty, stabby nurses!! They need to be reintroduced to a new generation of horror fans!”
There is not one moment of genuine horror in this film – and worse, those moments of 3D that should have been amazing to watch (i.e., the peeling façade of our world giving way to Hell) fall flat. The only revelation to be found here is that this iteration of Silent Hill represents an incredible waste of talented people on such unbelievable drek. Avoid this film at all costs, and if you are still curious in a year, you can fish it out of the five-dollar bin at Walmart.
1/2 out of 5