Silent Hill is my all time favorite video game franchise. Many in the series are works of art. I resisted, but a friend finally convinced me to watch the first film. Though imperfect, the film Silent Hill was captivating. It very accurately captured the environment of the mythic ghost town. More importantly, it stood on its own as a self-contained experience wherein the audience can seamlessly lose themselves. It was a fun movie that I have watched several times.
Within 1 minute of starting Revelation, it was apparent what this film would be. For 1.5 hours, I oscillated between squirming in revulsion or laughing in disbelief at an abomination that slightly surpassed Sy-Fy Channel standards. The only thing worse is the fact that, as of writing, Wikipedia reports it has made double on its meager $20M budget. An indictment of “the biz”, SH Revelation exhibits the mentality of the plentitude of Halloween sequels : “Make the Money”. The fact that fans, including me, will buy a ticket make it all the easier to create a piece of trash and rake a 2:1 return. However, even in that capacity, SH will ultimately fail. Halloween was an established franchise with massive success in film (at one time, among the most successful indie films ever). Revelation, on the other hand, kills the franchise before it gets on its feet. It is an insult that deserves to be forgotten and a franchise that should die right here unless put in more capable hands.
The script is a fun-house walkthrough (“so… this happens then this happens, then there’s blood, and this guy is suddenly a baddie”). It was obviously written by someone who read the Silent Hill 3 (game) wiki and was told to add in various devices to expand the market base (ie a shallow love interest for the sake of teenage girls so boyfriends would buy a ticket). The characters are spineless: they have no depth or motivation. The decisions they make (stopping at a motel to suddenly rest) make no sense except to give an opportunity for some silly plot twist or possible romantic tension (where no relationship exists). Various characters were completely unnecessary (what’s the point of any scene with the police?) The private investigator was a major character in SH3 (the game), but in the film, he could have been axed entirely. This would have shaved several minutes from runtime.
Visuals. If you’re going in to make a film on the cheap to rake in the $, here’s an idea : FORGET 3D! I seriously doubt 3D increased ticket sales, but rather cost a disproportionate amount that would have better been dedicated to other elements (hey: script). Some of the sets were childish (the cult’s lair). CGI was very poorly executed (blown out whites, the scene with Alessa walking before the wave of devastation was college-level).
Production. Attention to detail was lacking. Extras in the “lair” might have just stood in the background with their hands in their pockets. It was distracting. There were a few places where I noticed audio dubbing (ie towards the end of the motel scene, audio does not match Heather’s lips at all). Stuff like this makes me think the script was being actively toyed-with post-production. The general direction of the cast was melodramatic. Most performances were telegraphed (with the exception of Adelaide Clemens and Sean Bean who both deserved a better script). The exposition with Rose calling Christopher/Harry “my beloved” belonged in Twilight.
To talk about the music is rather inconsequential compared to the disaster of the film.
I would love to see an enterprising editor take the DVD and re-edit it into a good short.