Magazine article Screen International

Silent Hill: Revelation

Magazine article Screen International

Silent Hill: Revelation

Article excerpt

Dir: Michael J. Bassett. US. 2012. 94mins

A cheap, clunky sequel to 2006's videogame adaptation Silent Hill, this programmatic follow-up goes through all the genre motions with the passion, commitment and attention to detail of a teenager cycling through a laundry list of mandated chores prior to an evening out. A frenzied and narratively muddled cash-grab that disimproves upon its predecessor in every imaginable way, this uninspired effort may represent the theatrical release death knell for the franchise.

Australian-born Clemens is the movie's sole bright spot.

Facing a buzzsaw of theatrical genre competition in the form of Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4, and with little to attract those outside of the videogame series' most ardent fans (the movie did not screen for critics in advance of its Friday opening in the US), revenue should lean heavily on ancillary income and foreign markets, the latter of which accounted for 52 percent of the original movie's $98 million box office haul.

Years after the events of Silent Hill, which saw her rescued by her mother Rose (Radha Mitchell), Heather (Adelaide Clemens) settles down into yet another new town with her father Harry (Sean Bean). They're constantly on the move, for reasons she thinks are related to a self-defense homicide on the part of her father, but on the eve of her 18th birthday, Heather discovers the true source of the horrific nightmares that plague her.

Cursed by a demonic child to a perpetual gloom and darkness populated with monsters, the remaining residents of a West Virginia mining town have coalesced into the Order of the Valtiel, and they believe only Heather's presence (and sacrifice, it's intuited) can break their spell and set them free. With help from Vincent (Kit Harington), a fellow new kid at school, Heather travels to Silent Hill to try to save her kidnapped father.

As with the first movie, its grungy, effective set design is amongst Revelation's strongest selling points. Particularly as it wears on, the lighting, colour and textures reflect a haunted carnival hellscape, with ash-ridden skies. A creepy sequence in a warehouse full of mannequin parts is probably the movie's best scene, giving way to an attack by a spider comprised of the same.

Absent the presences of originating writer Roger Avary and director Christophe Gans, though, Revelation feels an infinitely more clubby and insular affair than its predecessor (co-producer Laurent Hadida even takes a strange "adapted by" credit), desultory and dependent on a rabid and uncritical emotional investment rooted in the source material. …

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