Thursday, 31 October 2013

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

I enjoyed the movie version of Silent Hill. I have fond memories of playing the game many years ago and the movie recreated a lot of imagery that I'll always remember with fondness (fondness = paralysing fear as I played the game at night with the lights out and then started to panic whenever I heard a siren signalling the approach of "the darkness"). So when I started to hear the negative reaction towards this sequel I still held onto hope. Some people had, after all, hated the first movie.

Alas, the majority were right on this occasion. Silent Hill: Revelation is rubbish. It's a lot of cool imagery from the games created thanks to some varying CGI with nothing substantial to call an actual plot. Of course, the plot of the first movie wasn't exactly anything to write home about, but it did enough to get by while the atmosphere was heaped on in thick, thick spoonfuls.

Adelaide Clemens plays a young woman who lives a transient, anonymous life. This is all done because her dad (Sean Bean) has warned her that Silent Hill wants to claim her. He's right. But changing address and keeping a low profile isn't enough to stop Silent Hill reaching out and trying to get what it wants. The darkness starts to fall, bringing strange visions with it.

Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett (who, of course, had the mythology of the games - adapted into a movie idea by Laurent Hadida - to work from), this film just doesn't work as a film. There are individual moments that manage to impress, such as a sequence involving the famous, creepy, nurse characters, but these are few and far between. Any twists and turns can be predicted well ahead of time, the CGI varies wildly between great and godawful and there are exactly zero characters that viewers will care about.

Clemens is okay in the lead role, she's just stuck with bad material, and Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell don't have much time onscreen as her parents, but everyone else is wasted, with Martin Donovan almost managing to be the exception. When a film with so much potential manages to squander the talents of Deborah Kara Unger, Carrie-Anne Moss AND Malcolm McDowell then it deserves any critical lashing that it receives (and this did receive a fair bit already). As for Kit Harington, his role is such a bag of cliches and signposted moments that he's not really required to give any kind of performance, he just has to hit his marks and spout horrible dialogue. Okay, okay, he has to give SOME kind of performance, of course, but it's impossible to judge thanks to the treatment of his character, which seems to have been written by a particularly low-level Auto-scripting program.

There's enough here, on the surface, to almost make the movie worth a watch. It's below average, but some of the visuals are enjoyable and I, for one, like getting to revisit parts of Silent Hill. Your best option, however, is to simply rewatch the first movie. Or, if you're a gamer, replay the videogames.


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