The 2012 video game adaptation, Silent Hill: Revelation, is gloriously silly.
It’s also a sequel to the first Silent Hill. While many members of the original cast do return and while the sequel’s plot does directly follow up on the first film, Silent Hill: Revelation still feels like an all-together different film. Whereas the first Silent Hill was atmospheric and, with its 2 hour plus running time, a bit ponderous, the sequel is short, direct, and …. well, I hate to use that word again, a bit silly. It’s also undeniably entertaining.
Sharon (Adelaide Clemens) is now 18 and is currently using the name Heather. With her father, Harry (Sean Bean), Sharon/Heather has spent the last several years of her life moving from place to place and trying to keep one step ahead of the Order, the Silent Hill cult. Heather — let’s just use that name — tries to make the best of her situation but she is 18 and she would like a chance to do normal teenager stuff as opposed to just spending her life on the run.
Good luck with that! When Harry mysteriously vanishes, Heather finds a message telling her to go to Silent Hill. Teaming up with her classmate, the enigmatic Vincent (Kit Harrington), Heather heads back to Silent Hill. She hopes to find both Harry and Rose (Radha Mitchell) but the Order has other plans. Soon, Heather and Vincent are back in the alternate dimension, dealing with monsters and stabby blind nurses.
As is typical of horror films about cults, there’s a lot of talk about sacrifices and using blood to bring about a new age and everyone worships some mysterious God who doesn’t sound all that pleasant. Whenever I watch a movie like this, I find myself wondering how the cult got started in the first place. Who woke up one day and said, “I’m going to follow the demon that regularly kills all of his followers. Now, let’s go alter some adoption records!” I also can’t help but notice that cults can never do anything the simple way. Instead, there’s always some alternate dimension or some extremely complex ritual that has to be performed and it all has to be done at a certain time of the year. Maybe if they just simplified things, they wouldn’t have so much trouble getting stuff done. Maybe instead of always trying to steal new souls, they could just be happy with the ones they have. I mean, it’s just common sense.
But anyway, back to Silent Hill: Revelation. Silent Hill: Revelation usually gets dismissed as an inadequate sequel but I was entertained. The plot moves quickly and the film features some memorably gory scenes. The scene where Heather suddenly hallucinates about Silent Hill while walking through a mall was enjoyably gruesome. At the same time, I couldn’t help but regret that Revelation never quite succeeded in duplicating that ominous atmosphere of the first film. If the first film felt like a nightmare-come-to-life, Revelation feels more like the season finale of a long-running, supernatural-themed television show. It’s fun to watch but it’s not particularly challenging. That said, Adelaide Clemens gave a sympathetic performance as Heather, Sean Bean’s natural gravitas was put to good use, and Malcolm McDowell made a brief appearance. The film kept me entertained.