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FEARNET Movie Review: 'Silent Hill: Revelation 3D'

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There have been no less than nine different video games to bear the name of Silent Hill since the first chapter arrived in 1999, and by this point it's safe to say that the Konami franchise has built up a pretty strong fan base for their endless horror series -- but only one movie so far. By comparison, Capcom's Resident Evil, which debuted three years earlier now boasts 23 game releases and seven movie adaptations, if you're including the animated ones, but that franchise offers numerous beautiful women who kill zombies, whereas Silent Hill just has ... the world's creepiest town. The first movie arrived via Christoph Gans in 2006, and while it's a bit longer than any video-game-based horror flick has any right (or need) to be, it still holds up as a rather impressive visual display on unpleasant eeriness.

So how's the sequel?

Not very good, unfortunately, and I say that as a fan of the first Silent Hill movie, the video game source material, and writer/director Michael J. Bassett (whose low-budget horror flicks Deathwatch and Wilderness led to a damn good rendition of Solomon Kane). What we have here is your standard (very standard) horror sequel that seems to have been cobbled together, torn to shreds, and then spackled back together, and what we're left with is a very tedious hour of non-stop exposition of absolute nonsense, followed by a visually slick, slightly creepy, and powerfully bloody Act III. (Guess where they pulled all the trailer scenes from.)

The plot, to be fair, tries to follow not only in the footsteps of the first Silent Hill movie, but also the third Silent Hill game, which puts the screenwriter in a major bind, and it more than shows in the final product. The Silent Hill 2 story, for example, is not a complicated affair (the girl who survived the first flick is coerced into returning to the haunted town of Silent Hill after lunatics kidnap her father), so there's no logical reason for the movie to focus on so much yammering between characters we just met who are A) trying to remind us of what happened in Part 1, which doesn't matter, and B) trying to explain to our heroine everything that just happened in the last scene and why it matters to the "story."

I'm all for building a legitimate mythology for a horror franchise, but Silent Hill (the movie) ended with such a manic display of amusing nonsense, there's simply no reason to trudge through all the wackiness all over again. The returning actors seem to agree: Radha Mitchell has precisely one scene; same with Deborah Kara Unger; Sean Bean has maybe four whole dialogue scenes. The majority of Silent Hill Revelation is dedicated to 18-year-old Heather (Adelaide Clemens) as she discovers the secrets of her creepy youth and her (eventual) decision to visit Silent Hill, but by the time the movie gets there, we only have time for a few set-pieces featuring all our familiar freaks, and then it's a big finale full of portentous nonsense dialogue about demons this and dimensional trapezoids that.

By the time an unrecognizable Carrie-Anne Moss and a broadly unhinged Malcolm McDowell show up for two scenes apiece, you'll have completely given up on Silent Hill Revelation making any sense whatsoever.

Fans of the first film will appreciate that once we do get to Silent Hill, the look, the sound, and the crazy carnage manage to elevate the sequel beyond a total loss, but really, if all you're looking for are a few cool scenes with the freaky faceless nurses and the massive, hatchet-wielding "Pyramid Head," you're probably better off sticking with the Silent Hill games over the Silent Hill movies. At least in the games you can press "skip" when confronted with nine goofball dialogue scenes in a row.

 

Read FEARnet's Partner Reviews for Silent Hill Revelations

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