Silent Hill: Revelation Review (Sans 3D)

silent-hill-revelationSilent Hill is still, in my view, the best movie based on a video-game. It combined the trade-mark horror elements of the game series into its own original story, used practical effects and CG in a nice blend of both subtle and disgusting horror. It told a strong story and left you with a feeling that you had really witnessed something great. You can probably understand why my expectations were rather high for the film’s sequel Revelation.

Sadly, Revelation really falls short within its first 15 minutes of its predecessor. Whereas the first movie’s opening was subtly disturbing and heart-pounding (with a little girl sleepwalking on the edge of a cliff), Revelation immediately goes for the jump scares and creepy amusement park atmosphere to foreshadow later events. Foreshadowing happens in both instances, but its Revelation’s complete lack of subtlety that kills the scene.

Then there’s the character drama. It’s not too bad but feels a bit forced and cheesy. The film tries so hard to sell the teenage romance between Heather and Vincent that it just comes off as your token romance sub-plot in a horror movie, completely unnecessary. Vincent is a sympathetic and Heather is good, but these two just lack chemistry. Sean Bean is about the only one who comes off genuine for the first half of the film and he’s taken away during the film’s prologue which is just sad.

Then again, Silent Hill did set the bar rather high, so it was perhaps expected that the movie would fall short rather than excel. Especially considering how ambiguous the ending of the first movie was, making a straight sequel to it was a bit of stretch the begin with. The good thing about Revelation is that it actually gets better the further the story goes.

There is some unnecessary elaboration of plot-points from the first movie, especially since they all pretty much happen in the middle of the film. This again is where the first movie played it smart by having all the plot revelations at the end (I guess this movie just really wanted to live up to its title). However, once Heather makes it back to Silent Hill is the point where the movie gets really good. The stakes are basically flipped from the first movie with Heather out to save her father from the cult, but she encounters some interesting new horrors as well as some old favourites.

The town of Silent Hill still looks as eery as ever and I really like how the movie keeps up consistency with its predecessor with the visual look and by using music from the games. However, this movie suffers from an overt explosion of CG and I would have liked to have seen more practical effects like those used in the first movie. However, where this movie finally breaks the bank is the finale. SPOILER: The showdown between Claudia and Pyramid Head is about the most awesome thing in the film and makes up for the slow start.

So, Silent Hill: Revelation isn’t really the best video-game movie sequel, but it has enough entertainment value to keep it from feeling like a total waste. It doesn’t really live up to the first movie but when watched in combination with it will actually feel worth while.

Score: 3½ out of 5

Score breakdown:

  • +1 The Monster Duel
  • +½ Deborah Kara Unger
  • +½ The Silent Hill Music
  • +½ The Puppet Monster
  • +½ The Sexy Death Nurses Return
  • ~ Sean Bean is back… but he barely gets to do anything… again.
  • +½ Malcolm McDowel adds some class to the film…
  • -½ …but is clearly just milked for one scene.
  • -½ Obvious sucking up to fans of Silent Hill 3.
  • -½ The lame villain and the lame confrontation scene with Alessa.