Video game adaptations aren’t exactly known for their careful plots or meticulous tying of loose ends. Entries into the genre are ordinarily more concerned with maximizing the frenzied action, and up to a certain point, that’s an understandable choice. None of us need to know what Prince Goro’s relationship with his mother warrior was like or whether King Koopa likes In-N-Out or Five Guy’s better. The audience doesn’t need Oscar-winning character development, but there still has to be some logic and sense to it all. The plot can’t be impulsive madness, prone to making lefthand turns anytime a cheap thrill can be had.
Unfortunately, Silent Hill: Revelation is impulsive madness, prone to making lefthand turns any time a cheap thrill can be had. Its story arc is almost laughably complicated. The relationships between its characters feel inauthentic, and worst of all, it isn’t even really sure who the main villain is supposed to be. A full day later, I’m still figuring out what the hell I witnessed, but I’ll do my best to try and outline the important parts.
Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) has spent her life switching schools and changing towns in order to evade the mysterious forces chasing after her and her father (Sean Bean). She has nightmares almost every evening, all of which point her toward a mysterious town called Silent Hill. After some weird encounters at the mall, Heather and a boy named Vincent (Kit Harington) head to the title location to battle a demon who is waging war against the cult who kidnapped her father to lure her out in the open because she’s the half of the whole chosen to be a vessel for a god who needs to be summoned. And that’s just the bare bones outline. There are also the aforementioned lefthand turns involving elevator attacks, an object that looks a hell of a lot like a Legend Of The Hidden Temple Pendant of Life, mean kids at school and a slew of other whimsical asides. All of it is slopped together without clear rhyme or reason and that includes the scares.
Most horror movies have a theme. They select an idea, object, animal or nightmare that scares the hell out of some people, and they run with it. Of course, Silent Hill doesn’t do that. It messes everything together like a turbulent fingerpainting, which should be a godawful idea but is actually far from the worst thing in the world. Writer/ director Michael J Bassett might have some work to do when it comes to plot coherence, but he knows his way around creepy imagery. There is a lot of disgusting and sick shit throughout the film’s runtime, and the audience is continually bombarded by it. It’s jarring, and it feels like an ADHD attack. Even objects that are relatively innocuous are really creepy within the context of this movie—like birthday cake.
In theory, there are few things in the world happier and more exciting than birthday cake, but apparently, when a character makes his or her way through a dark, monster-infested house and stumbles upon a room with a piece of birthday cake neatly cut and waiting on the table, it’s really unsettling. I have no idea how Bassett discovered this, but Silent Hill is littered with utterly bizarre ideas like those. There are rooms filled with doll heads, women with hot bodies and deformed faces, abandoned amusement park rides, old men laughing on buses and dozens of other sick and perverted thoughts spewed out in a shotgun-like fashion. Nothing really ties it all together. It would work better if there was a common thread, but even as presented, it leaves an impression.
There are dozens of horror films that get wide releases every year. An overwhelming majority of them are extremely forgettable. Based on how stupid this plot is and how chaotic and miserable its structure is, Silent Hill: Revelation should have left my brain almost immediately. Thanks to how truly fucked in the head it is, however, I can guarantee this film will linger and continue to unnerve every time I think about it. Given the genre, that’s worth a few stars but definitely not a recommendation.