Suffering from problems with the running time, trite dialogue and scenes of little consequence stuck together by incoherence and ambiguity Silent Hill was far from a masterpiece. It did, however, have a number of good ideas and the potential to build on them with this sequel.
Silent Hill: Revelation fixes the running time by making it half an hour shorter, there is less pointless running about, and thankfully there is less ambiguity in the narrative. The ending is still vague and smug but there are bigger problems ahead.
The dialogue is far worse in this film than its predecessor and this leads to moments that are downright confusing and unnecessarily complicated. Responding to overwhelming terror the dialogue becomes idiotic, overly expositional and completely unnatural. It’s horrendous, like a bad translation.
Silent Hill is a town still burning decades after an accident where the townsfolk tried to cleanse a witch. That witch, Alessa, took her revenge on the town forcing everyone to live an alternative reality nightmare each day. Heather (Adelaide Clemens) is revisiting Silent Hill to save her father but also to cleanse Silent Hill of its witch problem, thereby forcing the necessary good triumphs over evil conclusion. Sadly the focus is too vague, narratives too problematic and convoluted to be coherent. It tries too hard to be complex but the film attempts to fill plot holes with nothing but sand.
What is meant to be a nightmare come to life for our heroes becomes a nightmare for the audience. Pushing a paper thin narrative through with cheap jump scares defaces horror films as a genre. At no point is the film scary because there is a complete lack of suspense. Everything is broken down, weightless. Along comes a spider, a plastic doll entity that creeps around at one point, there is no explanation, nor is it ever seen again. It’s completely pointless.
There is also a strange lack of continuity. Silent Hill has had a massive makeover since last time; it seems that the desolation has now been constructed of horrotown clichés – metal grids, wire fences, prison bars and so on. That’s not the only thing that’s changed. The Silent Hill nurses are supposed to have bandaged faces, and were all the more terrifying because of it. Now they’ve amalgamated the nurses with a couple of other terrors in the Silent Hill universe, seemingly change for the sake of it. There are rules that should be followed, respected. Also, a little thing to notice is the Silent Hill sign is on the opposite side of the road from the first. You can tell it isn’t the same road. Obviously nitpicking but again there should be a respect for continuity.
It’s a shame as the first had good ideas that could have been built on even if it learned from the game’s success. Instead it’s translated it badly in every way. Mistakes from the first film are emphasised and nothing works in this film. Not even Malcolm McDowell’s random scene. Expendable characters are brought in to save the main, there is no drive to it so formulaic is this outing.
Saying bad things about films isn’t a good feeling. Filmmaking is hard. But in this case instead of building on a foundation the filmmakers have decided to smash it down to rebuild it with clichés, bad acting, worse dialogue, over-the-top set pieces and a painful finale.
To add insult to injury it was shot not only in 3D but for 3D only and the Blu-ray makes you see how the budget was affected. There has to be someone out there who can make a successful video-game adaptation because faith is being lost year after year and Silent Hill: Revelation does nothing for the many unwavering believers.