Friday, November 9, 2012

'Silent Hill: Revelation' Review

"Silent Hill: Revelation" is a continuation of the first "Silent Hill" movie, and unfortunately, it pales in comparison to its predecessor. The ending was good though, with a monster fight that would make most Silent Hill fanboys have a geek-gasm over.

The first Silent Hill movie had it's tense moments, some of which I found to be absolutely terrifying. That is also why I was excited to see the second movie. But, in the end, "Silent Hill: Revelation did nothing for me in terms of emotional involvement. It wasn't scary in the slightest. I felt nothing for the characters as they ran their way through the gauntlet of the weird crazy monsterville that was strangely overpopulated for a ghost town.

And I know that I wasn't too into it when my SO Shane Strange kept looking over to me and asking me if I was OK or, "What's Wrong?" I think I must've been sighing in disgust at just how terrible and forced the first half of the movie feels. The beginning was rough and hard to watch due to pure cheesiness of the lines and the rushed dialogue.

Like the first Silent Hill movie, "Silent Hill: Revelation" heavily relied on exposition to relay the backstory, during which a character narrates just what happened prior to the start of the movie in a flashback. In this instance, the events that Harry narrates could have been the actual beginning of the movie, with Rose delivering Sharon to him before being sucked back into Silent Hill. But nooo, we need to hear Sean Bean's dreamy voice for 10 minutes straight.

During one such exposition sequence we learn that Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) has changed his name to Harry Mason and is on the run from the police. His daughter Sharon, now Heather Mason, was returned to him by the ghost of his dead wife, Rose.

Heather believes that she lost her mother in a car accident, and doesn't remember anything that happened prior to her being brought back to her father. How convenient...

Heather has been having nightmares for years now. She writes them down in a notebook and when she leaves, her father rips out the pages and stores them in a wooden box that is carved with strange arcane symbols. Yep, that's not suspicious at all.

Now, it's Heather's 18th birthday and she is going to a new high school, again. While on the way to the bus stop, she starts seeing strange things on her way to the bus stop. Then a detective in a doofy crushed fedora hat, Douglas Cartland, shows up and asks her weird questions about her past.

Why is that stupid private investigator wearing a ridiculously floppy fedora that was too big for his head and practically covered his eyes?

He tells her point blank (yeah, so much for subtlety) that he was hired by a cult and that they are looking for her and know where she is.  Alarmed and probably creeped out by the guy, she runs to the bus stop and gets on.

At school she makes a speech telling the stupid kids to shut up after they pick on her about her old worn out clothes. Soon after, Heather begins to hallucinate and watches in horror as the school transforms into the nightmarish Otherworld. When the vision ends, she bumps into Vincent and leaves school early.

Heather calls her father to tell him that she was spotted by a detective and he agrees to meet her at the Happy Burger in the mall. While at the fast food emporium, she watches a girl's birthday party take place, when all of the balloons suddenly read "Happy Birthday Heather." The food that people are eating turns into bloody raw meat in one of the goofiest scenes in the whole movie. The Happy Burger scene in particular was just bad. Heather begins hallucinating that people at a birthday party are eating raw meat and getting blood all over their faces. And that, was stupid. Not scary, just contrived.

For the most part, Heather's hallucinations were well... kind of dumb. They really didn't fit the feel of Silent Hill at all. Like this guy, who I have dubbed Thumb-head, because his face reminds me of a thumb for some reason.

Speaking of contrived, all of the dialogue, in terms of words used and the writing style, was strangely anachronistic and out of place. People living in modern times do not use the terms "my love" when talking to each other, especially a married couple who's relationship is broken (ahem, Rose and Harry, I'm talking about you). It would have made sense for the cultists from Silent Hill to speak that way, seeing as how they are completely cut off from the world and living in an apocalyptic hell-hole, but not Harry, Heather or Rose.

The first part of the movie is very slow and uninteresting. It's not until Heather and Vincent are on their way to Silent Hill does the pace pick up. But even when she is in Silent Hill, there are sequences that just don't make a lot of sense, such as when Heather is walking through a hallway in the asylum on her search for Leonard and the inmates (real people, not monsters) all reach out to grab her.

Doesn't look like her path is impeded to me.

She says, "Someone help me," and just like when Rose utters those words in the first movie, Pyramid Head appears. But this time, he just pops into view, nothing heralds his arrival, and Heather slips into a convenient hiding hole while he chops off the inmate's arms. 

Heather then walks away down another hallway connected to her hiding spot, which makes no sense. Upon seeing how easily she escaped it's clear that she truly wasn't in danger at all. Sure, she was being groped at, but there weren't so many hands outstretched in the hallway to block her passage completely. And she really didn't need Pyramid Head to show up at all, as all she had to do was hop down into another passage and go on her merry way.

Unfortunately, the monsters that she runs into in Silent Hill are a bit on the ridiculous side.

The Missionary in particular reminds me of a Clive Barker Tortured Souls toy that my SO Shane Strange gave me for Christmas about a decade ago called Camille Noire.

And that's the weird thing. A lot of the monsters have a more sleek design that border the sadomasochistic feel of the Cenobites from "Hellraiser," as opposed to the strange weirdness and twisted, bloated monstrosities of "Silent Hill."

Here's the original Missionary from "Silent Hill 3"

One could argue that the reason why Leonard and the missionary were streamlined was to differentiate Claudia's monsters from Alessa's horrific creations, and I do sort of see that, but, at the same time, they just didn't do much for me in terms of being scary. But maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm jaded. Or quite possibly,  it could be that the only original monster in the movie that was interesting was the spider made out of mannequin parts.

One thing that I did like about the movie was the implication that the demon nurses were making the monsters, and that they made the Missionary. The X-rays on the walls of the hospital room they are in shows her skull with the saw blades sunk into it, and a dog as well (even though there were no monster dogs in the actual movie, which is disappointing).

The only thing about this movie that makes it worth watching is the monster fight between Pyramid head and the Missionary. That scene is good, and impressive, and led to a strong ending for the film.

Fans of the Silent Hill franchise will notice Easter Eggs in the movie such as Travis Grady, the truck driver, appearing to give Heather and Vincent a ride out of town.

"Silent Hill: Revelation" isn't the best video game movie, but it isn't the worst either. It's sort of in the middle of the two. It suffers from plot holes, poor pacing, and sub-par acting. Even the big name actors such as Carrie-Ann Moss and Malcolm McDowell lacked the on-screen presence that I've grown accustomed to seeing from them. But then again, I do have high standards for horror films.

I will say that the monster fight at the end of the movie make the price of a ticket well worth the trip, but don't pay for the 3D version, just go 2D and call it a day.

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