Of all the video game that have been adapted into films, perhaps the most successful was 2006’s Silent Hill, which might not have kept the same plot as the game—from memory it was a sort of hybrid of the first two games, but a very loose adaptation nonetheless—but had a strong sense of atmosphere and contained at least a few genuine scares. Considering the Silent Hill games keep being made, six years later we’ve received a sequel to the Silent Hill movie, Silent Hill: Revelation.
If you’ve forgotten the plot of the first film, you’re forgiven. Its main character, Rose (Radha Mitchell), wound up trapped in Silent Hill forever, so the protagonist of the sequel is her daughter, Heather (Adelaide Clemens), the person Rose was trying to rescue in the first movie. Heather and her adoptive father, Harry (Sean Bean) have been moving around a lot and living under false names in hopes that the people of Silent Hill won’t find them. They need Heather for some cultist ritual, or something—it doesn’t matter.
Eventually, father is kidnapped and despite constant, preemptive, protests to the contrary, Heather is going to head to Silent Hill in order to rescue him. Now, Silent Hill is an odd town, one which exists only in an alternate dimension and where everything is as creepy as possible. She has to wander through all sorts of deranged areas and people, all in an attempt to rescue her dad and maybe even put a stop to the people ruling the town for good, assuming that’s even a possibility (which it is, but only if the movie doesn’t make money; if it does, there will probably be another sequel regardless of how “final” the conclusion to this film is).
What this film does well—and what was also the strength of its predecessor—is have a strong, creepy atmosphere. Almost each scene in Silent Hill: Revelation is unsettling. Some of the imagery is powerful. This isn’t exactly a scary movie, but it is one that will attempt to make you feel just a little creeped out. For the most part, I think it succeeded in this.
It did so in spite of almost everything else it contains. Its plot is simplistic and more or less just a re-do of the first film. It doesn’t aim to explain anything more than has already been revealed about this place, and draws on many of the same things that the first Silent Hill established. It probably should have changed some things up, or at least delve deeper into this mythology. You have what feels like a dozen games to draw from, but we’ve seen pretty much everything in this film already.
It will make you cringe more often than it will make you jump, and it might also make you want to take a nap before it comes to its conclusion.
Its characters and dialogue are also lackluster at best. Much of the dialogue is cringe-worthy, and most of the characters are generic. It’s tough to judge actors when the script from which they’re reading is so dreadful. Horror movies aren’t exactly known for great dialogue, but this is some of the worst there is. None of it reveals anything about the characters, it’s so stupid that it makes the actors look awful … and I guess that makes it just about on-par with the video game series, doesn’t it? Zinger!
Silent Hill: Revelation is also set to a much quicker pace than its predecessor. The first Silent Hill was two hours in length, but it had an interesting story and wasn’t constantly throwing everything it had at the main character. This one, in contrast, has every scene set in Silent Hill attempt to scare. It doesn’t allow for a genuine plot or well-developed characters to exist because it’s too busy throwing scare after scare at us, and it’s not even terribly scary because we’re familiar with most of these elements.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, Pyramid Head makes an appearance. He’s fan service at this point, right? I had it explained to me—having never plaid the game and the first film not going into it—that his inclusion was originally supposed to represent the inner psyche of one of the game characters. Now he’s a franchise staple and needs, at minimum, a cameo. He initially looks as if that’s all he’s going to get here, but then he gets a full-on battle against the eventual main villain, whose true nature I won’t reveal.
It’s surprising the names of the actors they got to commit to this project, even if some of them are only here for a scene or two. Adelaide Clemens is the lead, making absolutely no impression despite having by far the most screen time. Sean Bean returns from the last film, and actually has a reason to be here this time—as a plot device. Carrie-Anne Moss and Malcom McDowell each get a scene or two. Radha Mitchell and Deborah Kara Unger also reprise their roles from the last film, but in a cameo setting.
Silent Hill: Revelation is very much like the first film in terms of its imagery, but it’s faster paced, has worse dialogue and characters, and is too familiar at this point to be truly frightening. It’s far too similar to its predecessor, but doesn’t explain any more about the mystery that is Silent Hill. It will make you cringe more often than it will make you jump, and it might also make you want to take a nap before it comes to its conclusion.
Conclusion: Silent Hill: Revelation is a boring sequel.
Recommendation: Even if you liked its predecessor, Silent Hill: Revelation isn’t worth watching.