SILENT HILL REVELATIONS (REVIEW)
Dir. Michael Bassett
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
In 1999 Konami released a game called Silent Hill on the Playstation. Ever since the franchise has captured an audience and caused many electric bills to go up due to leaving lights on at night. In 2006 Christopher Ganz, after taking him 5 years to get the rights, finally got his dream job of directing the movie adaptation. To many sceptical eyes after recent videogame-to-movie flops including RESIDENT EVIL and LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, it braced our screens to huge applause as not only one of the best adaptations ever, but as a bloody good horror film that boasted a good story with some scary as hell characters. After the success and open ending is was only a matter of time before number 2 came along and we waited… and waited… and waited…
And 6 years later, Revelations is here. Continuing on 6 years after the original, Rose (Radha Mitchell) was able to transport Sharon to her father Chris. Running from town to town and changing identity as they go. Now Heather (Adelaide Clemens) and Harry (Sean Bean), Heathers dreams start enticing her back to Silent Hill, wanted by “The Order” to defeat the demon Alessa (who caused carnage at the end of the original. Fair to say, it is the scares and world of Silent Hill that now do the talking.
Remaining faithful to the game series with characters and monsters, the nurses and Pyramid Head make welcome returns as well as some new monsters. A spider doll creature that turns people into mannequins then rips of their heads, the “missionary” creature from the game series returns and a "Nemesis" like tyrant wreaks havoc later on. An interesting collective of “The Order”, led by Claudia (Carrie-Anne Moss) have now taken over from the refuge church that was destroyed by Alessa but they are no less Evil in their intentions weaving into plot lines of both films, in their attempts to raise a ‘God’.
Michael Bassett has done a superb job in mimicking the visual style which Gans had mastered with the original and seamlessly continues the story and myths. What SILENT HILL does that many adaptations fail is that it sticks so loyally to the franchise and while some storylines may not be suitable, or too absurd for film, they are never ignored and are portrayed or referenced to in a far more realistic manner (as realistic as you can get for a town that harbours killer monsters for lost souls).
But despite heavy turns from Bean and Clemens, every other seems two dimensional. Especially the “Evil” mother, Claudia who is not a patch on her sister Christabella who pops up occasionally to share her words of wisdom and disappears as before there is any real connection made. And as for her redeeming son Vincent (Kit Harington) he turns from good to bad to good quicker than Michael Myers can slash a throat. It’s a shame that with such a complimenting story that a little more time could have been spent building up the ‘Extras’ and with cameo parts and added flashbacks to part 1, it just feels a little let down to see the extra effort wasn’t put into creating a new continuum.
We also couldn’t help but feel ‘oh-no-not-another-dream-sequence’ throughout the first 20 minutes thinking that more emphasis should have led to the real Silent Hill; giving away much of what was to come.
There is one thing that we can guarantee, this is a fearful addition to the series and with body parts, monsters and some rather disturbing set pieces matched brilliantly by the score (but with far less ‘Sirens’ than we’d hoped for) this is certain to garner cult status in the not too distant future but it will not garner the mainstream audience the first film earned.
Needless to say, SILENT HILL REVELATIONS is a passable next chapter in the film franchise and with 3 possible paths for a sequel, this is less of an exit to Silent Hill, more of a welcoming gift that will haunt you for a while longer. This may be the end of Alessa/Sharron/Heather’s nightmare, but it ain’t over yet.