Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review : Silent Hill - Revelation (2012)


Adelaide Clemens, Kit Harington and Sean Bean
When her father disappears, Heather Mason is drawn into a strange and terrifying alternate reality that holds answers to the horrific nightmares that have plagued her since childhood.

'Do you Facebook?'

Ummm, I'm not sure, man. The fuck are you talking about? Has anyone ever said this to another human being in the history of our species? I really hope not, because if that's ever been used as a chat-up line, you just KNOW that guy went home with his dick dry.

Still, this is one of many amazingly awful lines of dialogue that threaten to sink this belated sequel to the really-rather-good Christophe Gans SILENT HILL adaptation. Its to teh credit of this hugely flawed follow-up films visuals, that it somehow manages to not only stay afloat, but to actually engage me on some level for its far too short eighty-two minute run-time.

Now, I know this film has recieved an absolute hammering from critics across the globe, but the truth is, it wasn't made for them. Shit, man, it was even made for me. It was made for those guys and gals who know the lore and the landscape of the popular survival horror franchise like they know the back of their hands. And I have a feeling that it'll satisfy most of them. It may be something of a car crash in terms of writing and plotting, but it's got a wicked little pace going for it, and while the eye candy is never quite as beautiful as in the first film; it still feels like your dealing with a legitimately 'Silent Hill', product. A lesser one, yeah, but still one with a little bite now and then.

I played the games, (most of them, anyway), and I loved them. Some of them confused me, some of them scared me shitless. I'm not up on the mythology, but I dig the disturbed and disturbing tone the games utilise. The nightmarish creatures...the subtly dread-filled and mournful soundtracks...the willfull lack of logic that only adds to the sense of disorientation...it's all here on one level or another. And while REVELATION never truly captures the sense of fear that the games elicited, it was never really going to. The first film couldn't capture it either, despite its faithfulness to the source material. Why? Because your not interacting with it. It ain't you roaming around the ashen streets of this creepy little town by the gates of Hell. Its someone else. The sense of oneness is gone. to stick with the formula, (lone character roaming the town), would bore the cinema-going audience, but in bringing in more characters and action, the horror is diluted. It's a catch-22

Of course, with better direction and a better script, REVELATION would still be much more immersive and a whole lot more impactful, but for what it is, its nowhere near as bad as the majority of critics would have you believe.

Seems like with many 'professional' critics, theres a domino-effect in play. One sets fire to a films reputation, and the rest, seeking to keep face, follow the smoke. I try not to do that, and I'm not going to it here. REVELATION is a damned mess in many ways, but its never boring, its gorgeous looking, has a really talented cast, (who are so talented, they almost, ALMOST make the dialogue come to life), and most importantly...a fucking guy with a metal Pyramid on his head and a huge sword.

And thats what lies at the core of a film like this. The acting and the character building are merely an afterthought, much like most early second-gen video games that inspired them. Its about seeing people and places that gamers have spent many hours with, and loved in those hours, come to life on the big screen. Theres a fanbase for this sort of film that will lap it up. As for me, I can't deny enjoying it, despite finding many characters superflous, and finding every single line of dialogie to be explosition. I still enoyed the ride. It's hard to hate a film that features sexy faceless nurses who like to slice and dice based on sound, or a mannequin-spider with five heads and dead staring eyes. That's some shit I can get behind, no-matter what nonsense the actors are babbling.

In fact, if anything, the films main flaw was NOT the awful script or the disjointed storytelling...it was the length. REVELATION could, and should, have been at least forty minutes longer. With some actual character depth, and far more time spent in Silent Hill, this could actually have been something pretty special. As it stands, it's not the stillborn so many proclaim it to be, but it may be missing a few chromosomes or so. Maybe even a limb...

SILENT HILL: REVELATION is not a well-made film. Nor is it a well-edited or well-written film. It is, however, a very beautiful film. And when your visuals and source material are as strong as this films are, theres still going to be something worthy amidst the wreckage. Someday perhaps we'll have a truly great Silent Hill film, (the first movie came pretty damn close in my opinion), but at least they havent pulled a RESIDENT EVIL on us. It's still firmly entrenched in the horror genre. And it has some memorable scenes of hellish carnage to groove to. Go in with low expectations, and close your ears and your wits to the stilted and preposterous dialogue, and you may actually enjoy it a little, despite yourself. I did, and I ain't afraid to say so.

5.5 Spider-Bitches out of 10

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