Thursday, July 11, 2013

Film Review: Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

Silent Hill: Revelation
Canada/France/2012
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

Following the events of the first film, Sharon has been freed from Silent Hill by Rose. In an attempt to protect her, Sharon has her name changed to Heather Mason by her father, Harry Mason (originally Christopher). The pair have been moving from town to town avoiding the police and a cult. When Harry is kidnapped, Heather travels to Silent Hill with a classmate to save her father and find her roots.

Silent Hill: Revelation is a direct sequel to Silent Hill (2006). I highly recommend watching the first film a few days prior to Revelation - not only is it a fantastic film, the sequel is a confusing mess without it. The story starts up immediately attempting to tie up loose ends. It attempts to answer many questions from the first film in a few minutes, all while attempting to setup the story for this film; the film fails to do this competently as it is a mess and hard to follow, with an odd flashback and too many new names rapidly introduced. The characters never really develop any character, either. So, the entire introduction is a mess that has the audience working too hard to catch-up.

The story continues with Heather traveling into Silent Hill, but the exploration and adventure is absent as Revelation focuses on small conversations, some romance, and underwhelming "boss battle" type of scenes; the problem with the boss battle scenes is that they end quickly and ridiculously, with no real struggle or significance. The film doesn't use psychological horror and the symbolism has been downgraded. Instead, the film uses jump-scares, most of which fail to achieve any real terror; the greatly disturbing creature designs and vicious gore somewhat redeem the lack of genuine horror, though. In fact, one could argue that Revelation feels more like an action/horror film. To support that, the film ends with an ill-fitted sword fight that is jaw-dropping in a disappointing way. The final few scenes are great as they tease with elements of two of the video games, but they're not nearly enough to redeem the ending.

The acting is good from the cast. The dialogue is much more fluent and authentic, although some delivery is over-the-top. The visuals are impressive, the cinematography features great use of color. The music may sound familiar, but it is severely underused; considering the Silent Hill sound is perfectly eerie and unique, this is an unfortunate decision. The cinematography and music are good, but they fail to blend with the story to create an immersive atmosphere and never capture the Silent Hill vibe. The story uses a fast pace and short runtime - unfortunately, this complicated story could've used extra time to develop its story, characters, and atmosphere.

Overall, Silent Hill: Revelation is a mediocre action/horror film. The film lacks the dreadful terror, the dark, immersive atmosphere, the fantastic soundtrack, and the uniqueness of the great first installment. Revelation upgrades its visuals, adds more gore, some great creature designs, and fastens the pace - unfortunately, none of this creates a truly terrifying experience. Despite being filled with game references, I'm afraid even the fans of the video game franchise will be as disappointed as I was. I recommend streaming or renting before purchasing. If you have not watched the first film, you will likely be confused, in turn creating an even worse experience - so, watch the first film first.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, and brief nudity.

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