Warning: may contain plot spoilers.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

As a long-standing fan of the Silent Hill franchise, even before I’d watched the second instalment I couldn’t help but scratch my head at the terrible reviews. Now that I’ve watched the film, I find myself even more confused. Silent Hill has always been one of my favourite videogames, purely because it’s different. The storyline isn’t thrown into your lap, rather it’s one which you have to explore. Maybe that’s what the reviewers have such a problem about?

In reviews, I’ve seen people comment saying that the film has ‘a plot drowning in insipid convolutions’, a ‘random, hectic storyline has little rhyme or reason’ and laughably, ‘this mess makes no sense and plods along for 90 minutes throwing things at us that are neither scary nor contributing to the tale’… Thanks for the chuckles Rotten Tomatoes reviewers! How’s this for ‘no storyline’?

Silent Hill was built upon Native American holy land – conquered by Europeans in the 1600s, the Native Americans were forced to leave. The land was always said to possess mysterious powers, which gradually grew with time. It is said that many witch burnings also occurred during the time that the Native Americans lived here. People with ‘darkness’ in their hearts (i.e. James Sunderland from the second game suffers from split-personality along with other conditions), along with people who are directly connected to The Order, the monsters or the town, are called to Silent Hill. What people see in Silent Hill is affected by the person themselves, also – hence Heather (or Sharon) often seeing creatures with stitched and disturbed features.

Heather is the reincarnation of Alessa – one of the children accused of being a witch and burned. She is plagued with nightmares of Silent Hill, until one day her adoptive father is taken from her and she is forced into the otherworld. This is all a plot crafted by The Order of Valtiel, who intend for her to be impregnated and to give birth to the god.

Now, onto the review itself. The visuals of the film – though grotesque and disturbing – are perfected by a frightening realism. The monsters of Silent Hill are terrifyingly realistic for the most part, with familiar creatures such as the Lying Figure, Bubble-Head Nurse and of course Pyramid Head/The Red Pyramid making appearances. We also see the return of several locations from the videogames: Lakeside Amusement Park and Toluca Lake are just a couple of examples. As with its predecessor, the world of Silent Hill is brought to life by the outstanding visual effects and the continual eerie feeling. Contributing to this is the soundtrack, featuring songs which could belong to no film or game other than Silent Hill.

The choice of actors was flawless – featuring Adelaide Clemens as Heather, Martin Donovan as Douglas and Malcolm McDowell as Leonard were particularly commendable choices. Adelaide managed to deliver her role as Heather in an incredibly powerful manner, acting the character just as she is conveyed in the game. Tiny details of the film made it even more plausible – the mise en scene of the film was well-constructed, with Heather’s white jacket becoming dirty as she travels through the foggy, ashen Silent Hill. This is something which, unfortunately, many films of the modern day lack.

Perhaps the 3D in this film wasn’t perfect, but such a brilliantly executed film doesn’t need the mainstream credit of being watched in 3D to make it stand out from the crowd.

I’d have liked to see this film for longer on the screen. It’s half an hour shorter than its predecessor, and half an hour shorter than it should’ve been. We’re given enough time to develop a feel for the characters and the hellish reality of Silent Hill, but some scenes felt like they were cut dead. An example of this is when Heather faces Alessa on the merry-go-round. Likewise, I’m glad they didn’t drag this film out to explain the storyline slowly to narrow-minded reviewers. It’s important to watch this film as a videogame adaptation, and the best of its time at that.

In my honest opinion – as much as I love the Resident Evil films – Silent Hill is a much better videogame-to-film adaptation. It has relevant characters and stays true to its original plotline, whereas Resident Evil randomly throws in Alice as the main character, who has nothing to do with the games. In Silent Hill the creatures remain frightening and disturbing, whereas an element of fear is stripped from the zombies in the RE series.

It’s clear to me now that the people who gave Silent Hill: Revelation poor reviews should stick to the atrociously typical ‘teenagers go on a holiday in the woods; teenagers get killed in the woods’ films. If you’re somebody who likes a horror film with a different storyline, or even somebody who likes to watch grotesque deformities in 3D, then I’d seriously suggest ignoring the reviews and watching this gem before it’s taken from the cinemas. It’s definitely a film aimed at the people who have played the games – in particular Silent Hill 3 – but that’s not to say it’s not for you if you haven’t played them. A perfect example of how one person’s negative input can ruin a good film’s reputation.

Overall I rate this film 5/5

Review by Jade Earley


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