It’s pretty common knowledge that most video game based movies have been less than stellar movies while also being horribly unfaithful adaptations to their source material. Being a fan of all things Silent Hill, I was really afraid how one of my favorite obsessions might get butchered. Fortunately enough that wasn’t the case this time, upon exiting the theatre my face wasn’t big enough to fit the smile I wanted to express.
Silent Hill Revelation is a sequel to Silent Hill (2006) and is primarily based on the video game Silent Hill 3, but also incorporates little bits from other Silent Hill games like Silent Hill Origins, Silent Hill Downpour, Silent Hill Homecoming and everyone’s favorite Silent Hill 2. What makes Silent Hill Revelation such a good video game adaptation is the fact that the director and writer (Michael J. Bassett) knew exactly which parts to remain faithful to and which parts to change or add to make the Silent Hill Revelation not only a faithful and true Silent Hill movie but also a great sequel to the previous movie.
In Silent Hill Revelations, Heather (Adelaide Clemens) suffers from terrible nightmares which keep calling her to visit the terrible town of Silent Hill. Her father Harry (Sean Bean) keeps the truth about Heathers past away from her as they keep running away, hoping that eventually somehow she will be able to lead a normal life. Unfortunately, they aren’t able to keep running and hiding forever. As Heathers nightmares grow stronger, more gruesome events start happening and she eventually has to face her past.
One of the biggest changes that had me worried was that of Vincent (Kit Harington), as he is now an 18 year old boy and a schoolmate of Heathers who apparently wants to be more than friends. Fortunately enough all is not as it seems with the now younger Vincent who has his own troubled past cross paths with the main plot.
As I kept nodding to myself throughout the entire movie, it was obvious that the director had not only played the entire Silent Hill franchise, but was also a fan as well. The attention to detail was incredible, from the nightmarish creatures to the locations themselves, all of which were iconic Silent Hill locales like the school, hospital and the amusement park. Unfortunately since the monster make-up (and general gory bits as well) were so well done, the inclusion of CG effects seem really out of place at times.
Apart from a couple of really unnecessary slow-mo scenes and a relatively unremarkable 3D experience, there really wasn’t much to complain about. The 3D had a couple of pop-outs at the start of the movie, but later on became quite unnoticeable. At this point its kinda hard to say if I actually became used to it enough to not notice it anymore or if it actually wasn’t even there. There is however one interesting scene shot from first person perspective later on which hasn’t been seen in other movies so far (not exactly like this at least) which might have been greatly enhanced by 3D, but its over before you blink. So yeah I’d say if possible, you should go and see the 2D version.
One thing to note is that the Silent Hill games get their special flavor by having a grainy/blurry filter purposefully placed on top by clever design which in turn makes it slightly harder to actually see monsters in great detail which makes it a bit more mysterious and disturbing. The movies (obviously) don’t resort to such a trick, as that would be a rather questionable design choice for a 2012 movie. The movie has quiet a sharp picture making the creatures, in a way (at least for me) less scary. It was more like a dark thriller instead of a horror flick to me, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least you get to see how good and detailed the monsters populating Silent Hill really are, and it would be a shame if their hard work was to be hidden under a grainy layer.
The plot itself is really heavy, and the movie goes ahead and explains nearly all of it by the end just like the first Silent Hill movie did, which isn’t really true to Silent Hill but what can you do, you can’t really make a movie about one person running through empty corridors and collecting mysterious paper pieces and diaries for 2 hours. This in turn results in the movies weakest aspect, instead of figuring out and revealing the plot yourself, they flat out tell you who is who, what they are doing and why they are doing it. A more longer movie might have been able to avoid this, but alas, we only get 90 minutes of a story told through numerous 10-hour games with multiple endings, so it’s obvious corners had to be cut.
As seen on the posters, covers and trailers, the iconic fan service Pyramid Head obviously returns, this time with a much clearer purpose in mind, which makes for a truly badass showdown at the end. Accompanying the entire experience is the signature Silent Hill soundtrack composed by none other than Akira Yamaoka which the fans will greatly appreciate.
But this is where we come to the biggest question, what about people who aren’t familiar to Silent Hill, will they enjoy it? The answer is unfortunately, probably not. Much like all things Silent Hill, Revelation will indeed seem like a bunch of random and brutally disturbing stuff taking place, making it seem more like a cheap SAW knock off with a basic demon cult plot we’ve seen numerous times before. Regardless, I’m extremely happy that the fans are getting a movie that actually resembles the game quite a bit, while also offering something new so that even they might have an interesting time watching it.