It’s hard to know where to begin writing this review. I’m a massive Silent Hill fan, for me the first three games represent some of my fondest gaming memories, and most terrifying. I was also a big fan of the first film, it was creepy and nailed the atmosphere of the games spectacularly. That’s why it makes it so hard to dislike Revelation.
The plot is revolves around Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens), who, on her 18th birthday, realises that things might not be quite what she thought with her past and is forced to return to Silent Hill to find her father, played by Sean Bean. We, as an audience then see return to Silent Hill with Heather, wondering, just like her, what the hell is going on. The plot is straightforward enough but seems like it has no purpose other than to get Heather from one set piece to the next, so the next nightmarish creature created by the special effects guys can be unveiled. At the end of the film there’s an empty feeling, because to be honest, I really don’t know what went on. Evil ghost girl Alyssa returns, spouting something about being in hell, and all the crazy cultists want to kill her, but it all just seems forced and thrown together like it’s some 90’s TV movie.
Clemens puts in a decent performance, as does Bean, but it’s clear the two didn’t have much to go off script wise, and both struggle with their American accents at time, though it’s barely noticeable. There is some truly horrific dialogue in this movie that does nothing to help the B-Movie feel. There’s a cameo from Malcolm McDowell, putting in a turn as crazy grandfather turned monster, and he sounds like he’s having fun with it, it’s just a shame none of the other supporting cast seemed to.
What doesn’t help is the complete lack of tension present. In a film based on a game which sole focus is to keep the player gripping the controller with fear, it’s hard to work out how they couldn’t translate anything over to this film. Sure the monsters are creepy enough, the setting is creepy enough but there never seems any danger, even the once mighty Pyramid Head is left at the end to duke it out with the eyeball monster from Pan’s Labyrinth.
There’s two redeeming features here, one is the creature design, they’re handled brilliantly and look like something Guillermo Del Toro would be proud of. The second is the set design, just like the first Silent Hill, the cinematography is excellent, the feeling of Silent Hill is well and truly nailed.
It’s hard to recommend Silent Hill: Revelation to all but the most die hard Silent Hill fans, and even most of them, like myself, will likely come away disappointed. There’s a potential set up for a third film, and maybe a film concerning Sean Bean searching for his wife could turn out well, as long as whoever writes this has some amount of respect for the source material, though if Revelation is anything to go by, I won’t be holding my breath.