Silent Hill: Revelation
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.