“Come to Silent Hill” is sprawled in blood on the wall of Heather Mason’s house. Any sane person would run as far away as possible, but Heather makes the conscious choice to venture into the world of “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D”. Unfortunately for the viewer, it’s too late to go back.
Teenager Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) and her father Harry (Sean Bean) have been on the run for years from malevolent forces. Now on the day of her eighteenth birthday, these forces have kidnapped Harry and beckoned Heather back to Silent Hill, an alternate world populated by perverse monsters and a cultist group that is hell-bent on Heather being their “savior”. With the help of a classmate named Vincent (Kit Harrington), Heather travels to Silent Hill to save her father. What she discovers about her past and true identity is something she could’ve never imagined.
“Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” is adapted from the Silent Hill videogame series (primarily Silent Hill 3) and an indirect sequel to the original “Silent Hill” film. It’s likely that only viewers who have previously immersed themselves in the games and first film will fare a chance of keeping up with the confusing plot. It’s also the fans of the series that will be severely disappointed by the way “Revelation” is portrayed. There’s nothing wrong with Hollywood-izing an adaptation, but “Revelation” is stripped of the psychological horror and mystery that made the games so popular.
As much as “Silent Hill” tries to explain itself, it ends up only adding more outlandish layers. The screenplay (penned by the film’s director Michael J. Bassett) relies too heavily on exposition, which interrupts action sequences that could potentially be intense. The dialogue ends up being more frightening than the scenes. It seems like director Michael J. Bassett doesn’t understand how to balance these aspects to be both engaging and coherent. Bassett’s previous film “Solomon Kane” succeeded in this regard, so it’s baffling how he fell flat on his face this time around.
If “Revelation” has anything going for it, it’s the cinematography and set design. Silent Hill is once again in its industrial rust-caked glory, but not even this hellish atmosphere can save it from the mess that takes up residency. The monsters (particularly a mannequin spider that does some ungodly things to its prey) are for the most part creepy-looking, but their screen time is far too brief. Akira Yamaoka, the composer for the Silent Hill games, adds his gritty touch to the soundtrack. Unfortunately, after a while it’s nothing more than white noise.
The 3D aspect of this film was obviously implemented to draw in more viewers. Nowhere in recent memory has any film (especially horror) successfully employed 3D to engage the audience in a film. “Revelation” is no exception. There’s the cliché “pointy objects coming right at you” and a few severed limbs flying out of the screen, but nothing that will summon more than a groan from the viewer. The 3D glasses suddenly feel clunky and not worth the additional $6 added to the ticket price.
The actors really do try their best to work with the material given to them. Newcomer Adelaide Clemens is believable as a terrified teenager and Kit Harrington is sympathetic as her counterpart. Acting veterans such as Carrie Anne Moss (The Matrix Trilogy) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) are captivating as always, but their screen time is too brief for it to be memorable. There’s only so much the actors can do and unfortunately it’s not enough to save “Revelation”.
At the climax of the film Heather is trapped on a flame-engulfed carousel, confronting a ghoulish incarnation of herself. “Go to Hell!” Heather screams. ‘We’re already here,” her double growls. By the end of “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D”, the viewer truly does feel like they’ve been put through hell, and they’re not in any hurry to go back either.