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April 16, 2013


Silent Hill: Revelation

by Franz Patrick

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)
★ / ★★★★

Years after Sharon is rescued by her mother from a town drenched in fog called Silent Hill, Sharon, whose pseudonym is Heather (Adelaide Clemens), and her father (Sean Bean) are on the run from the law and have moved to yet another town fully aware that it is only a matter of time until they are forced to find another place to live. Their situation is not helped by Heather’s terrifying nightmares and visions about Silent Hill forcing her to return so her body can be used to summon and destroy a demon named Alessa. When her father is taken, Heather comes to his rescue.

Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett, “Silent Hill: Revelation” might have been better off as a silent film because its strength lies on the bizarre and horrific images. As much as the performers try to emote, the script remains dead and robotic. The words communicated between two people do nothing but to move the plot forward as it screeches against its own inertia.

I enjoyed the visuals and the way the picture is almost divided into two halves. It is a good decision not to allow Heather to go to the place that summons her until about halfway through. This gives a chance for the first part to take place in the real world where Heather sees a normal environment change suddenly into a somewhat amusing carnivalesque wasteland. For example, she could be looking at a bunch of children celebrating a birthday party and eating cake at the mall one minute and ravenous tykes biting into human flesh the next. The lack of transition between the extreme images works because the shock value is amplified.

I also liked the level of detail that is put into the creatures. They demand to be looked at, from the monsters without a face to blind nurses that are sensitive to sounds. It is nice to see a mixture of CGI and genuine makeup work together. At its best, it is like a walking through a house of horrors where each room offers something different to be seen. We want to look closer at an object or creature that is not moving but the thought of them moving suddenly is always in the back of our minds.

However, despite the ace visuals, the material is too willing to revert to the usual scare tactics to get our hearts racing. A trick utilized that is most uninspiring is when a figure dashes across the foreground while our heroine is in the background. It lets us know that someone or something is there. Instead of allowing us to wonder whether the adjacent dark room or corner has hidden surprises, we simply wait for Heather to go to that area, be surprised, and start running away. There is no real anticipation on our part. (I’m not sure if this annoyed me more or the dream-within-a-dream sequence. Yawn.)

I hold a slight affection for “Silent Hill: Revelation” because I did not sit there feeling angry at all the things that could have been done better. It surprised me because I found myself asking questions about how certain items worked and the implications in the connections among the characters. Lastly, there is chemistry between Heather and Vincent (Kit Harington) even though a romance has no place in this film.

Despite the positive qualities that are never fully realized, I cannot and do not give recommendations just because an experience is tolerable or can be endured. Had the writer-director put more thought, life, and suspense into the screenplay, it might have felt less like a 90s video game and more like a horror picture.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. GaryLee828
    Apr 16 2013

    I could have told you this was garbage and I haven’t even seen it.

    When is the Harry review coming up?? Are you still writing it, or are there just a slew of entries ahead of it? Do you write a lot of entries and store them and send periodically – or do you send after you write each one?

    • Apr 16 2013

      Haha! Well, it wasn’t //that// bad (like I said on my review, I do have a slight affection for it). Plus, I saw it before “Game of Thrones” Season 3 premiered and I was desperate to see Jon Snow.

      The “Harry” review is coming up some time this weekend or early next week. I wrote one right after watching it, so it’s finished. :)

      I have 100+ unpublished reviews in storage! I try to go in order (post least recent first then work toward most recent) but sometimes I make exceptions (post more recent ones) like when I go to the movies or if someone requests that I publish a review of a certain movie (older ones available via streaming or DVD) as soon as possible.

      Thanks for being so eager! lol.

      Hint: We are going to argue. I’m 70% sure.

      • GaryLee828
        Apr 16 2013

        Well bump it up and let’s get it on, son! lol. I can understand it’s not a movie for everyone, but the writing and directing was excellent; the awkward pacing really felt genuine and creepy. And I liked that it wasn’t over-the-top and excessive, etc.

  2. Apr 23 2013

    I have seen only the first Silent Hill movie and even though it had some interesting visuals from the video game series, it felt like it was just randomly glued together, leaving most (if not all) of the poetics that the games had. There was one scene that actually stood out. A very brightly saturated image of daytime Silent Hill with ashes falling down. But otherwise it was a disappointment. One big plus was the use of the marvelous original game music by Akira Yamaoka.

    • Apr 23 2013

      It’s nice to hear from someone who has played the game and to learn which elements were incorporated in the movie (the first “Silent Hill”).

      Believe it or not, I prefer this over the 2006 outing… or what I remember from it.


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