"Silent Hill" was one of those video games that successfully followed through the genre of 'survival horror' when the first "Resident Evil" game reached new heights. It can be argued that "Silent Hill" even improved on the horror experience inside a video game that it spawned several game sequels and even a movie that was quite wanting. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this new 2012 film, but hey, it is "Shock-Tober" so what better way to celebrate the upcoming Halloween celebrations? My expectations were low going into this film, and my expectations were spot on.
This film is a direct sequel to 2006’s “Silent Hill” and it follows the events after Heather Mason’s (Adelaide Clemens) eighteenth birthday. Along with her father (Sean Bean), the two have lived a life that consists of a lot of moving from town to town, as for what Heather knows is because of a crime that her father had committed in self-defense. But, it seems like the time has come for Heather to learn the secrets of her past, as a private investigator (Martin Donovan) sent to find her becomes the catalyst for her nightmares to comes true. Now, with her father missing, Heather must make it on her own and with the help of a young man named Vincent (Kit Harrington), she must put together the secrets of her past. Just what are her links to a child named Alessa, Sharon and a cult leader called Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Ann Moss)?
As with most video game adaptations, the filmmakers behind “Revelations” do their best to emulate the atmosphere and style of its source material. As a result, the film is rich with references to the video game and some shots were obviously meant to become a homage to the creepy video game franchise. Honestly, I have only played two of the video games, but I am a little familiar with the “Heather” character. Her clothes and her appearance were indeed inspired by the games, as with the designs of the town called “Silent Hill”. I guess it is obvious that video game adaptations often fail because a movie based on a medium always seem to try to emulate the look and feel of a game to satisfy its fans, while the games themselves were meant to be a more cinematic experience that captures the essence of horror that wraps itself around a compelling storyline. Why does Hollywood continue to make video game adaptations like a video game when the video games tried to steer clear from that feel?
Well, “Revelations” is your usual video game adaptation. It focuses on visuals rather than the presentation of a more intricate plot. If you are looking for a horror film with visual flair that has a lot of grisly and scary images, “Revelations” may just be your thing. There were some very curious and creative designs; the spider-like mannequin creature was very creative, the return of Pyramid Head, the grotesquely-looking sexy nurses, were all meant to display visual manipulation. From a visual standpoint, the film succeeds. It looks and feels like a horror film, and at times, it even feels like a video game. Being an R-rated film, the film is filled with gruesome and violent imagery, and even had moments of blood and gore. If atmosphere was enough to make one feel frightened in a film, then “Silent Hill Revelations” does deliver. Unfortunately, we all need a lot more than visuals and aural flair to induce a scare.
The screenplay written by director Bassett was pretty simple. Sure, it does manage to tie up several loose ends from the first film, but I cannot really say just how strong the said ‘revelations’ were. I thought the film was a little lost when it came to the script; it knew what it needed to do, but there were so limited intricacies in the flow of the script. Developments were introduced, and yet, it fails to give that feeling of suspense. Half the time Heather was shown running around in this world that is “Silent Hill”, she flees and stumbles and then finds things out. It was all ‘by the numbers” and the way everything unfolded was just unimaginative and quite convenient. The characters in the film with the exception of Heather were severely underdeveloped. Vincent and his uncle, his mother and the others all felt like minor fillers to drive the screenplay. I understand, this is a story about Heather and the secrets behind her birth, but the reveals behind her journey offered little surprises, and when it got to the last act, you knew exactly where it was headed. It failed to capitalize on its strong points, never took any risks and allowed itself to fall into what most know as 'safe plotting'.
But, “Silent Hill Revelations” may not be the worst video game adaptation I’ve seen. That dishonor belongs to “Street Fighter”, “Double Dragon” and “Super Mario Brothers”, but that does not mean that it was a good film. To its credit at the very least, “Revelations” did have something going when it came to visuals and special effects. The plot itself was standard and very uninteresting. The performances also did not have much to work on, so I cannot blame the actors for the tepid acting. “Revelations” had very little to offer in the way of cinema, and it may only be good for fans of the video games for at least one look.