By all rights, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D should be a travesty. A sequel to a videogame adaptation in 3D? It ticks all the requisite ‘oh sod off’ boxes. Yet somehow, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D isn’t utterly hateful.
First, a word of warning: unless you’re a fan of the games, none of Revelation will make a lick of sense to you, and all the hilariously straight-faced talk of cults, hell dimensions and beasties will be too much to take in. Those versed in the ways of Silent Hill, though, (particularly 3, from which this film is adapted) will find a lot to like here, bar a fight at the end that’ll have the hardcore screaming bloody murder.
Revelation takes place a few years after the first movie. Since those events, Sean Bean, his daughter and his American accent have been living a somewhat nomadic existence, moving from place to place to avoid the cult that’s been pursuing them. Naturally, this involves having to change names constantly, and they’re now going under the aliases of (wait for it game fans) Harry and Heather Mason (hooray!).
Things eventually catch up with them, however, and Harry gets dadnapped, meaning Heather (Adelaide Clemens) is forced to go back to the fog-shrouded, nightmare-infested residence to get him back, accompanied by a suspiciously handsome new friend, Vincent (Kit Harington).
Michael J Bassett clearly is deeply reverential of the games, and it shows in his direction. He’s as equally successful as Christophe Gans was at bringing unlife to the titular town. It looks great, and Bassett takes his time framing the place with long, lingering shots that help build the unsettling atmosphere. It’s well paced, too, with some Jacob’s Ladder-esque ‘reality breaches’ causing some pretty effective jumpscares. Most surprising, though, is that the 3D isn’t too intrusive. It still doesn’t need it, but compared to the motion sickness overload of other movies it’s quite tasteful, with flakes of ash daintily dropping outside the screen, and the hellworld transitions look grotesquely pretty, too. There’s a fairy tale quality to the movie that adds a lot.
Some of the dialogue is woeful, though, and couldn’t scream OBVIOUS PLOT FORESHADOWING any louder if it tried. That kind of nonsense is forgivable in a game setting, but here it just comes across as embarrassing. Certain characters never really get any screen time either. Carrie-Anne Moss’s character is probably only on screen for a total of five minutes, and even then she seems like she can’t be bothered. Someone’s clearly been a bit too overzealous in the editing suite, as it feels like half the film is missing at times. Some of the acting is bobbins too. Adelaide Clemens is game as Heather, but Kit Harington struggles, though it’s not surprising considering some of the stuff he has to say with a straight face. Sean Bean is always likeable, but his American accent is lacking. He isn’t as terrible with accents as Russell Crowe in Robin Hood, but it’s still distracting. It also seems that in his enthusiasm for all things Silent Hill, and his slavish attempts at sticking to the game, Bassett failed to write anything resembling a well-structured plot for the screen. All told, it’s a bit of a mess.
However, the style and atmosphere more than makes up for other shortfalls, and it’d be remiss not to concede that Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is effective and ultimately enjoyable popcorn fodder. It’s one of the better videogame adaptations, up there with the original Silent Hill and, eh, Doom? It’s not illustrious company, but we’re not talking Bloodrayne here. And fans of Silent Hill 2 (the game) will likely go wild about the ending.