[Review] – Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

5 Nov

Title: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
Year: 2012
Director: Michael J. Bassett
Writer: Michael J. Bassett
Starring: Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harrington, Deborah Kara Unger, Martin Donovan, Malcolm McDowell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sean Bean
MPAA Rating: R, violence and disturbing images, some language and brief nudity
Runtime: 94 min
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 5%
Metacritic: 14

Back in 2006 Silent Hill came out, based on the video game series by Konami. That film had a rather large $50 million budget considering its genre but eventually became a considerable success, debuting at number one at the box office, raking in nearly $100 million worldwide with an extra $20 million or so having come in since thanks to home media. That film, I will agree, looked damn nice, but whatever visual merits it had were bogged down tremendously by the horrible plot and dialogue (and it was actually written by Roger Avary who won an Oscar for Pulp Fiction).

Now, half a dozen years later, we’re actually getting an unnecessary second one, with a smaller budget ($20 million) and, you guessed it, the added fee to your ticket for it being in 3D. This time Michael J. Bassett came on board to write and direct. Sean Bean and Deborah Kara Unger came back from the first one, and were joined by new faces Kit Harrington, Adelaide Clemens, Martin Donovan, Malcolm McDowell and Carrie-Anne Moss. Some of those guys are actually pretty good actors, the film, however, is certainly one of the worst we’ll see all year.

The first film was bad but this one is just unbearable in so many ways, it has these tremendously thinly-written characters thrown into a stupidly incomprehensible plot and just a handful of attempts to really scare you (all of which, by the way, fail tremendously). It’s just so, so bad, the only good thing I can think regarding this film is the fact that at least we surely won’t get a third one (though that’s just hoping based on the reviews and box office, since the end clearly sets up a sequel). It’s just a super boring movie, really, and the people who love the video games (which, from what I hear, are pretty great indeed) will definitely be left infuriated by the treatment it receives with this movie.

Its predecessor also had horrible dialogue but at least that one had directorial vision, it knew how to create a great atmosphere but this is terrible. It follows up the stuff from the first film, in which Radha Mitchell‘s character ended up being trapped in Silent Hill. This one follows her daughter, Sharon, who’s now a teenager, played by Ms. Clemens, who lives with her father, played by Mr. Bean, under assumed identities, always trying to stay one step ahead of the evil cult that wants to catch them. Eventually her dad is captured and she goes into this altered reality, this evil world that won’t let her go and everything about it lacks cohesion and is a bore. Imagine you’re Sharon and this movie’s the cult, that’s how much you should try and avoid it.

I haven’t played the games but I imagine they’re the kind that you get sequences in between the action stuff that you have to do in which the characters interact to advance the story line for you to get to the next point of the game. Three things about that: on the one hand the film behaves pretty much exactly the same, using its actors just as people they can move from one part to the next and have horrible stuff happen to them and have blood and body parts swung at you thanks to the added dimension; secondly, I would bet actual money that the dialogue used in those scenes in the video games is better than the one on display here; thirdly, even if it wasn’t, you have the option to skip those scenes when playing the game and you’ll wish you had the same alternative here.

The whole thing just lost me, the narrative seemed to be incomplete sort of and was just lacking any real sense of development whatsoever. It’s a mess really, one that has a few really good actors that deserve much better than this and who aren’t even allowed to make that much of an impression on us in what little screen time they have to deliver this convoluted mess of a movie.

Visually it has a couple of good things. Not nearly as much as the first one which I thought looked pretty great, but at least it has a few things that it tries to go out there and achieve, even though it was just copying its predecessor with increasingly diminishing returns. But even that should have been amped up, it should have embraced its ridiculousness and tried to play out like David Cronenberg monster film with hints of the David Lynch dream-like scenarios. At the very least this one is 94 minutes long, while one of the most disappointing things about the first one was that it dragged on forever.

Well, that’s it basically, I’ve already spent too long talking about Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. Suffice it to say that it’s an undeniably crappy film that you should avoid at all costs, one that tries to unpack a lot of information that it doesn’t know how to explain and that feels absolutely stiff and disjointed. I know video game movies have a bad rep, and for good reason, but even under those low standards this one fails miserably, and that’s really saying something.

Grade: D-

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