[BD Review] ‘Silent Hill: Revelation 3D’ Is Confounding And Boring

Before we get into this you guys should know that I am not at all the intended audience for Silent Hill: Revelation. I love horror of course, and I appreciated the gore (of which there’s plenty) and makeup designs in the film. I understand that this world has significance to some of you and I can sort of see why, it’s a pretty original aesthetic. So while I can’t grade this film on how well it matches up to the games, the mythology or whatever it is you need out of a Silent Hill movie, I can grade it as a standalone film. And there it does not succeed.

Even if we assume that Silent Hill: Revelation is a complete success in terms of world creation (which I doubt, it’s surprisingly small in scope with much of it taking place in a warehouse/prison type environment), it’s still a mess of a movie. And not an enjoyable one. In fact, I wonder if the film would have been better off being even more insular – keeping outsiders completely at bay. At least then I could wonder if there was something I missed that kept me from being invested in the characters. Instead, this sequel politely opens up its doors to newcomers with an easy-to-follow plot and “characters” whose histories are thoroughly explained. And that’s where the film’s reach exceeds its grasp and it truly reveals itself – it’s not an actual movie.

From the painful expository breakfast table banter between Heather (Adelaide Clemens) and Harry (Sean Bean) to the cardboard cutout cliches of her classmates at school, everything that’s supposed to take place in the real world rings even more maddeningly false than the shenanigans at Silent Hill itself. The dialogue is so unbelievably stilted I couldn’t help but wonder if this was actually a first draft. Perhaps writer/director Michael J. Bassett felt that he needed to cut to the chase and get to the action (which he tries to shoehorn in as early as possible with a couple of substandard waking nightmare sequences that make the 2010 Nightmare On Elm Street look like a Bunuel film by comparison), but there’s really no excuse for these inhuman exchanges. These aren’t characters, they’re ciphers. And their inability to behave or speak like humans is perhaps the film’s most consistent element. We’re literally in a film where a father gives a daughter a white vest for her birthday because “he saw her looking at it in a mall.” I can only guess this vest is an identifiable part of her wardrobe in the game.

The film is in a dead heat to get to the actual town of “Silent Hill” but keeps tripping over itself to get there. An unnecessary private detective character and at least three scenes between Adelaide and her new friend Vincent (Kit Harrington) that begin and end on the exact same notes as their predecessors clutter the proceedings. It got to the point where I was dying for them to get to “Silent Hill.” A burning desire that I later regretted.

Once Heather and Vincent get to the town things get boring. Quick. I found myself longing for the film’s clumsy version of reality because there, at least, I had something to hang onto. Aside from some cool ash-ridden vistas that look pretty great in 3D, this film’s version of “Silent Hill” seems to be comprised entirely of the aforementioned dank warehouse/prison and a smallish fairground just outside. Here Revelation becomes so visually monochromatic it’s hard not to fall asleep. And this is where I’m guessing being a fan of the games might actually help you out, because if you can fill in the blanks in logic that this film has chosen to omit you might just have a satisfactory experience. No such luck for me though. Malcolm McDowell shows up for a bit as Leonard, hamming it up as Malcom McDowell is apt to do these days, and it’s a scene that manages to be both so confusing and so predictable that I was actually kind of impressed by its goofiness.

Things continue until the inevitable and anticlimactic end (which basically features a cenobite, odd in a movie whose other creatures are so distinctive). The denouement provides another impossibly inhuman exchange that, in any other movie, would be treated as a life-shattering event. Here, this potentially profound loss is met with a shrug. Which is pretty much how I felt on the way out of this film. I wasn’t angry with it for wasting my time, just perplexed that this collection of creative choices actually exists as a film. I really hope it makes some of you happy.

Score: 4/10

Official Score

  • doomas10

    Shame. I personally think the first film is a classic and does not get the credit it deserves. I am actually excited for this although the so far reviews have been underwhelming particularly aiming to its small and visible budget and score on screen. Still will go and see it though.

  • EvanDickson

    You might like it! I can see it definitely appealing to fans.

  • djblack1313

    i REALLY liked it a lot. it’s not as good as the first movie but it’s a worthy sequel. i gave it a 4 out of 5 stars.

  • DeadEndMike

    Evan, spot on review.

  • Canucklehead

    I am shocked and dismayed. Sarcasm Off

  • http://www.facebook.com/buffyangel808 Ethan Steers

    I agree with doomas10. The first one is SO good and does not get the credit it deserves. I don’t hold much stock in this one, though. The reason the first one worked was because of Christophe Gans’ incredibly talented flair for blending special effects with the real world. He made it look like art.

  • cryocore

    This is one of those times where I believe the review to be 100% accurate but that only makes me more excited to see this film. The disjointed and bizarre narrative construction of the games is why I love them so much. Its also the reason why they translate so poorly to film for those not familiar with the games. I am currently in my Silient Hill franchise replay (on SH2 atm) and I love it just as much as I always have.

    Its a shame that SH will by its very nature not be universally liked by genre fans. Its one of those times where being true to the source means that you’ll likely be limiting your audience, and your appeal.

  • Meshugganaut

    I seen it last night and I thought it was complete crap. I’m a fan of the game series and this sequel is a fine example of style over substance. The first film was okay in terms of game/film adaption. It wasn’t a great film, but it tried at least to be faithful to the game. This sequel however is nothing more than brilliant looking set-pieces and it tries to rely on those to carry the film and story. The acting and dialogue is terrible along with the obvious plot and character “revelations”. It’s so predictable and cheesy and it knows it, but doesn’t care. Visually it is fantastic, but that’s all that it is. Even using the same game score to make it atmospheric throughout the film, it still falls flat on its face. As I said already… All style and no substance what so ever. The first film is a masterpiece compared to this sequel. For anyone who is a fan of the games and is going to see this movie, keep your expectations low. You’ll be better off, trust me.

    • Kroork

      I woul say I agree. The movie LOOKED amazing. But I didn’t feel like anything actually happened. And what did happen was wicked easy ! And don’t get me started on te climax. Beyond lame and does not even compare to the massacre at the end of the first
      Movie. Like I said, it looked amazing.

  • djblack1313

    you guys have to keep in mind Bassett had only (i believe) $25 million while Gans had $50 million to play with. cut the movie some slack. i’m not saying anyone’s opinions aren’t valid, i just think it needed to be brought up that the budgetary restraints on this movie outweigh the first. big time.

    • Matt

      Budget didn’t matter in this case. The script was awful. Characters came and went with no real purpsoe served. Hell, McDowell and Moss had maybe a total of 5 minutes screen time and they were supposed to be pivotal characters. It wasn’t the budget, it was the script and execution.

  • xAshleyMariex

    I went to go see this today and was really disapointed, you’re definitly right about it being boring.
    The dialoge was terrible, it was trying to hard to be the video game, and it was very predictable at times.

  • pyrepunk

    Some of yalls reviews have been a let down lately I thought this film was great and probably because I am a big fan of the game series but these films are for the fans in my opinion and I love how I get to see big pop up ads for movies that you give terrible reviews for on your site lol

  • DesignDeath

    This movie was fucking fantastic what is wrong with some of you?

  • Alexjoker

    I disagree I’m a big fan of the game and i think the movie is awesome of course theres things that could be better but movies can’t always be perfect

  • Baron

    4? Four? ha ha.
    Then, go to see Resident Evil

  • Evil-Dick

    I loved it! Great atmosphere,though uneven.Still it was a fun experience.I will take this before the next 20 saw sequels.