Saturday, 3 November 2012



Eh? Of all the horror movies made in the last ten years, Silent Hill is the one you decided to try and turn into a franchise? Silent Hill? Okay, it's got name recognition from the series of games and the first movie had a terrific visual flair and surreal design scheme about it, but I guarantee you could throw a rock in any direction and none of the people it hit would ever claim that what the world was really crying out for was another Silent Hill movie. Why not The Ruins 2? Frat House Massacre 2? Zombie Strippers 2? We don't even need another Saw or another Paranormal Activity, so what on Earth Michael J Bassett thinks he's doing flogging this one back into some sort of life is really anyone's guess. On the other hand, if they can stretch Resident Evil out to five increasingly silly films, why the hell not?

Even though I watched the first film the previous night, I'm not entirely sure I grasped the subtleties, or indeed the whole point, of Silent Hill: Revelation. At the end of the first one Radha Mitchell and adopted daughter Jodelle Ferland (unknowingly the innocent part of a demonic child created by religious whackjobs in the remote former mining town of Silent Hill) escaped from the madhouse but were trapped in another dimension. In between films, Mitchell was able to get the child through to the real world and father Sean Bean, but couldn't cross over herself. They've since moved on several times and changed their names, but the apocalyptic cult is still after the girl, now played by Adelaide Clemens, and abduct Bean to bring her back to the town of her own free will....

Meanwhile the sirens keep going off and the landscape keeps transforming, the weird creatures, robed religious loonies and the bloke with the giant sword and triangular metal head keep showing up, there's a creepy cameo from Malcolm McDowell and a giant spider monster made up of bits of shop window mannequins. Eventually everyone gets together in a hidden temple underneath the scary funfair to yell at each other and unleash the forces of good and/or evil. None of it makes a huge amount of sense and, despite the demons being vanquished, the film ends with the strong suggestion that it's going to come back again and we'll be due Silent Hill 3 in another couple of years.

It's really not doing anything that the first Silent Hill didn't do first (except that it's shorter) and doing it in 3D isn't enough reason by itself to do it all again. I watched it in 2D and - yet again - there's hardly anything in there that screams out for an artificially enhanced dimension effect (and much of it takes place in dim lighting anyway). Yet for all that's dull, confusing or inexplicable about Silent Hill: Revelation, it's nowhere near a genuinely awful film. A strong supporting cast (Carrie-Anne Moss, Deborah Kara Unger, Martin Donovan) is more fun than the generally uninteresting leads, and the terrific production design throws up some nicely grotesque imagery. I ended up liking it more than I probably should have done. But two is definitely enough.


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