Running up that hill – Silent Hill: Revelation review

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By Richard Haridy
March 6, 2013

Silent Hill: Revelation is quite an amazing achievement. It manages to not only contort itself into a form that is simultaneously convoluted and stupid but it also skilfully avoids any audience engagement despite a tumultuous whirl of spectacle and noise. It’s an authentically bad piece of filmmaking. Sadly, not in a ‘so bad it’s good’ way.

Writer-director Michael J. Bassett initially opens the film promisingly, with a stripped back sense of mood and atmosphere that gives the false impression an unconventionally interesting picture is ahead. Following on from the first Silent Hill, we are reintroduced to Christopher (Sean Bean), who is now living under the name Harry in a new town with his adopted daughter Heather (Adelaide Clemens, playing the character formerly known as Sharon). As Heather suffers weird flashes that shift her into an horrific alternate dimension, we learn that she has suppressed a past that involves the tormented title town.

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After an interesting set-up filled with portentous dread, the feature stops dead for over 20 minutes to present a series of incomprehensible expository monologues that establish a dense, irrelevant, and overarchingly dumb mythology. From this point on, Silent Hill: Revelation begins an irreversible slide into awfulness that trades on every unimaginative horror cliché you can think of; from ominous insane asylums to twisted fun parks. It’s the type of movie that has multiple scenes in which our hero walks down under-lit hallways with flickering lights and unexplained steam vents. The only semi-creative moment still plays on the old horror staple of an abandoned warehouse full of creepy mannequins.

Revelation is populated with actors we know can do much better – including Deborah Kara Unger! – yet everyone comes off looking amateurish and hammy (except Malcolm McDowell, who is a professional bad actor). Aussie newcomer Adelaide Clemens – bearing an uncanny resemblance to Michelle Williams – trades all her youthful charm in and manages to get out with some credibility intact. Ultimately, Silent Hill: Revelation is one of those awful films that we all should try to forget exists in the first place.

1/5

Silent Hill: Revelation is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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