DIRECTOR Michael J. Bassett WRITER Michael J. Bassett; Laurent Hadida (adaptation) STARS Adelaide Clemens; Kit Harington; Sean Bean DVD & BLU-RAY 18 March
Has there ever been a good horror film based on a video game? Yes. The original Silent Hill, released in 2006, was genuinely tense and often frightening, with a serious and intelligent story that added much to the mythology of the series to please gamers, while also attracting first-time visitors. This belated sequel sadly gets bogged down in staying far too close to its roots, relying on the hope that viewers will be familiar with the series and thus foregoing the need for any plot explanation. If you’re not dedicated to your console you’ll find yourself completely in the dark. However, Silent Hill: Revelation is so poor, you won’t particularly care.
Apathy sets in early as we’re constantly reminded of the events of the first film, while creatures from the game turn up for no good reason other than, well, they were in the game. Badly written dialogue tries to offer some explanation, but fails. There is occasionally some good imagery, but at best it seems to so closely adapt the ideas of Clive Barker, it could almost be a Hellraiser fan movie. At worst, and for most of the time, it’s like watching a low-budget Marilyn Manson pop promo: lots of fire; pale faces; contact lenses; and bondage gear. And with the dreaded 3D tag added onto the production there’s a lot of nasty stuff throwing itself towards the camera, which may add a slight thrill to the Blu-ray version but on DVD does nothing more than to annoy and highlight the cheap CGI. Writer-director Michael J. Bassett threatens to stumble into the Paul W.S. Anderson hyperkinetic mould, and is clearly the wrong choice for a film that needs to be more contemplative than frenzied. His lack of commitment is obvious.
Some decent actors turn up for a few minutes, Radha Mitchell reprising her original role, with Carrie-Ann Moss and Malcolm McDowell, but all quickly disappear in favour of shrieking monsters and burning fairground rides. The movie climaxes with a battle between a seven-foot bodybuilder with a steel pylon on his head and a slimy witch with what appears to be a bear trap wrapped around her face. If that sounds appealing then this is the revelation for you. A final shot that promises a further sequel may well be the most horrifying moment of all.