Film Review: Silent Hill: Revelation 3DSilent Hill is not a place you want to go, and that applies for moviegoers as well as this videogame adaptation's characters.
If the terms “Order of Valtiel,” “Halo of the Sun” and “Seal of Metatron” don’t mean anything to you, then you are definitely not the target audience of the film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.
Arriving six years—a cinematic eternity—after the first adaptation of the popular videogame series, this installment seems all too aware that only the most rabid gamers will possibly remember anything of the 2006 original, so writer-director Michael J. Bassett helpfully provides numerous scenes in which the characters deliver reams of exposition so that the rest of us can try to figure exactly what the hell is going on. It’s a losing proposition.
Suffice it to say that the little girl in the original is now 18 and has assumed a new identity as Heather (Adelaide Clemens, distractingly looking exactly like Michelle Williams), living on the run with her father Harry (Sean Bean) from the evil forces of the town of Silent Hill who have claimed her mother (Radha Mitchell). Living with endless nightmares, both waking and dreaming, she comes home one day to find her father gone and the message “Come to Silent Hill” written in blood on the wall, forcing her and new high-school friend Vincent (Kit Harington) to journey to the ash-drenched hellscape to rescue him.
Cue an endless series of nightmarish images adapted from the game, featuring a plethora of creatures engaging in gory, R-rated mayhem, ranging from homicidal nurses to a spider-like figure who turns people into mannequins to a pyramid-headed guy wielding a blade that seems entirely too heavy for him. Oh, and cameos by the likes of the slumming Carrie-Anne Moss and, most entertainingly, Malcolm McDowell, the latter no doubt ruefully recalling that he once worked with the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Lindsay Anderson.
Director Bassett (Solomon Kane) clearly knows his way around the fantasy genre, and the imagery, much of it lifted from the games, is visually arresting, especially the 3D-enhanced swirling ash that seems to literally envelop the viewer. At other times, he indulges too heavily in the format’s in-your-face aspects, thrusting swords and the like directly at us as if it was still the 1950s. And his propensity for shock cuts—a pop tart erupting from a toaster, really?—quickly becomes annoying.
Reprising their roles from the original, Bean, Mitchell and Deborah Kara Unger prove game if nothing else, and Martin Donovan, sporting a very unflattering hat, delivers a vivid turn as an ill-fated private investigator. Clemens—who doubles as her character’s evil doppelganger in make-up suggesting she’s just come from a Marilyn Manson concert—effectively delivers a wide variety of frightened reactions, although she’s less convincing delivering such lines of dialogue as “How can you live like this?”
--The Hollywood Reporter