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Worth A Look: 11.11%
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Pretty Crappy77.78%
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1 review, 3 user ratings

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Silent Hill: Revelation
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by Jay Seaver

"Unsatisfying for new reasons!"
2 stars

I'm not sure why, exactly, I went to see the second "Silent Hill" movie; I didn't like the first and the people who drew me into it are either absent (director Christophe Gans) or reduced to cameo appearances (star Radha Mitchell). Surprisingly, "Revelation" proves to be a minor upgrade, with a much less stupid script making up for a parallel reduction in style, but that still doesn't bring it up to "good".

Christopher DaSilva (Sean Bean) and his adopted daughter Sharon (Adelaide Clemens) have been on the run since Christopher's wife Rose (Radha Mitchell) disappeared inside Silent Hill, West Virginia six years ago, settling in new towns and taking new names on a regular basis; today they're "Harry" and "Heather". Heather doesn't remember her ordeal in Silent Hill, but she has strange dreams and when her father is taken (and "come to Silent Hill" scrawled on their new house's wall in blood), she and fellow new kid in town Vincent (Kit Harrington) head out to rescue him.

The main way that writer/director Michael J. Bassett improves on the first movie is in the script; where Silent Hill is a mess of idiot-plotting and demonstrations that the video game routine of "go place, find strangely-hidden clue, repeat" looks ridiculous in any other context, the new movie has some understanding of cause and effect and at least suggests an interesting theme of Sharon/Heather's enforced isolation being the true enemy. Bassett even has a nice moment where he just gets an inevitable "surprise" out of the way rather than dragging it out until the last act.

Of course, he's hampered by the fact that this is a Silent Hill movie, which means that it's tied to a mythology that is much more convoluted than the scale of the plot requires (because video games need to last more than ninety minutes) and ultimately just seems random. What information the viewer who missed the first movie (or doesn't remember the details from six years ago) gets is vague and doesn't necessarily fit with the story. For instance, there's a reasonably creepy sequence involving mannequins that might work damn well in a mannequin-themed horror movie, but just doesn't seem to have anything to do with everything else that's going on. It's a well-made sequence that has no reason to be in this movie specifically.

At least that one is executed fairly well; many more feel like Bassett and company just throwing grotesqueries with a monochromatic color scheme up and expecting that to scare. Other bits are just ridiculously telegraphed - cut to an otherwise inert amusement park mascot suit enough times and it's no surprise when the head finally turns. Still others just feel like obligatory repeats from the first film or ports from the game, just not done quite as well (remember the sequence with the weird nurses from the first? There's another one here, only more obviously choreographed and with more close-ups of their boobs). Any genuinely scary moments are dwarfed by ones where people just go through the motions.

The cast is somewhat guilty of that as well. Adelaide Clemens is game enough as Sharon/Heather, but doesn't quite give the sort of performance that boosts a lackluster movie. Harrington's first line is his best, while Bean gives the sort of performance that this sort of movie so often winds up with: Making an effort, but never having enough takes to really nail it. Carrie-Anne Moss and Deborah Kara Unger show up but don't make much of an impression, so it's nice to see Malcolm McDowell tear into his scene with gusto even if it's ridiculous.

The first "Silent Hill" was saved from being a complete disaster by its director's style, while this one is able to manage basic narrative competence. It ends (clumsily) with the potential of more, but maybe the producers shouldn't press their luck: Eventually, they're not going to be able to climb up to "below average" from "terrible".

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=23923&reviewer=371
originally posted: 10/29/12 17:41:25
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User Comments

12/05/12 Emma McCauley Good feel to it 4 stars
11/13/12 KingNeutron McDowell's best role for a long while - decent sequel, carries the story along butnot scary 3 stars
11/11/12 Man Out Six Bucks 1st flick was creepy-weird. Now just a series of senseless WTFs with dialogue as glue 2 stars
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  26-Oct-2012 (R)
  DVD: 12-Feb-2013


  DVD: 12-Feb-2013

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