Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett. Starring Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell, Deborah Kara Unger, Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington, Malcolm McDowell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Martin Donovan, Heather Marks.
As one long dream/nightmare sequence that features some memorably grotesque imagery, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, based on Konami’s popular series of survival horror video games, delivers what you might expect. On any other kind of storytelling level, this sequel to 2006’s Silent Hill is pretty abysmal, and a real chore to sit through.
Main problem: there’s no sense of what’s actually going on, as the film switches between the real world, imagination/hallucinations, and dreams, with nothing to distinguish them apart. There’s no reality, no logic, no rules, no coherency – it’s a series of set pieces dictated by the screenwriter’s imagination and little else. Using this style, story tension is impossible and scares are nil.
Example: our heroine is walking down a hallway with a private detective at a shopping center. Suddenly, it becomes a dungeon filled with monsters. She’s hallucinating, right? She escapes the dungeon, and ends up on the street outside the mall. But the detective is dead, presumably killed by imaginary monsters. You keep waiting for an explanation (she killed him? The monsters were something else in reality? The monsters really do exist?), which never comes.
I dunno, maybe this premise was set up in the games (which I haven’t played) or the first movie (which I can barely remember), but outside of a couple lines of dialogue about not being able to distinguish reality from hallucinations, it’s not even touched upon here. Whatever the story behind it, it was completely lost on me.
But I suppose if you’re going to see a film titled Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, you know what to expect going in. As far as the creepy monster stuff, the film delivers: there’s more of Pyramid Head, seen here cranking a demonic carousel; Missionary, who has four saw blades sticking out of her head; a group of faceless nurses who only move when they hear something; lots of other human-looking creatures without faces and/or limbs; and my favorite, the Mannequin Monster, a giant spider made up of mannequin limbs and doll heads. Yeah, cool.
For this kind of material, Silent Hill: Revelation features an unusually good cast, which includes the re-teaming of two of the featured actors from HBO’s Game of Thrones: Sean Bean (Edward Stark) and Kit Harrington (Jon Snow). Deborah Kara Unger, Malcolm McDowell, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Martin Donovan appear in smaller roles; Radha Mitchell, star of the 2006 film, briefly appears in a cameo.
But it’s young star Adelaide Clemens who makes the largest impression here. As Heather Mason, AKA Sharon da Silva, the daughter of Mitchell’s character in the earlier film, Clemens is onscreen during almost every scene, and gives a commanding, confident performance that belies her age; despite the quality of this particualr movie, she’s clearly headed for brighter things in the near future.
When Sharon’s father (Bean) goes missing, she teams up with Vincent (Harrington) and travels to Silent Hill – her dreams, or something, told her to go there – to find him. There, she meets the monsters, and some kind of cult that has to live with them. Or something. I’m not sure more plot discussion is necessary, or even possible. By me, at least.
Silent Hill: Revelation was written and directed by Michael J. Bassett (Solomon Kane), who has a good grasp of the grungy atmosphere and monster f/x but a no handle on the script; I’m all in favor of a director working from his own material, but Bassett completely loses control of this movie pretty early on. Still, fans might appreciate what he gets right.
Regarding the 3D: nothing special, which seems to be the consensus reaction toward every 3D feature these days. I’ve heard The Hobbit and Life of Pi might offer something special. We’ll see.