So, yes. I have now seen Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. In 3D. To say this movie was bad would probably understate it by a factor that mathematicians simply won’t be able to calculate, but my overriding problem with it is that the first film was actually alright. And this movie is going to kill Silent Hill, dead.
I am really upset.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D to give it it’s full and dire title is effectively a retelling of Silent Hill 3 without any of the wit, tact, charm or depth of the game. The game was slow, steady, building and had one of the most brilliant, perfect and mind-blowing lines of any game in history. It shattered your mind, it left you looking at the game in an entirely different light and wondering what on earth the point of it was. The point of Silent Hill 3 was one of maturity, of learning to accept the past and not be constrained by it. Of the power of persuasion, the human psyche, the frailness of sanity. Silent Hill 3 was all of these things on top of being a bloody fine video game to boot; technically spot on, paced and pitched with excellence and compassion. It also had some utterly silly jokes in there too. Just because Team Silent had always known the awkward power of a really silly pun in the middle of all this bleak violence and blood.
I’d also like to mention I LIKED the previous Silent Hill movie. I actually praised it for being very similar to the game, because it just about had the weight of things to pull off a decent narrative with believably strange foes. Okay, I criticised the use of Pyramid Head, not least because it was entirely inappropriate he be there at the time (As his inclusion in Silent Hill 2 was not merely as an enemy, but as a demonstration and reflection of James Sunderland’s violent suppression of his sexual desires. His innate need for intimacy, and the anger and rage in his heart from his wife having passed on). I also criticised the inclusion of Sean Bean, not because he’s a bad actor but that somehow he ended up in a horror movie and didn’t end up dying! Seriously, what gives?
Silent Hill 3, as a game, is subtle and almost spiritual in its methodology. The movie update isn’t either of those things; it’s another hectic, loud tell-all action horror movie in the usual vein of these things and suggests absolutely nothing had been taken from the success of the previous film. Nothing was understood about the imagery from the games – the tattered, bloodied fairground was a representation of a childhood violated, some even argued of the maturing of the female form (I am far too grown up to make a period joke at this point). It’s telling that for all its desire to ape the game, it somehow lacks the emotional and psychological resonance of the game itself. This is just a stupid movie. It’s not trying to make a point, it has no ulterior motive to it. It’s just there for the money, a cynical and cyclical pillaging of one of the finest games in the Silent Hill series.
And in spite of an allegedly bigger budget than the previous Silent Hill movie, which was sweeping and subtle and captivating in the scale and depth of its cinematography, Revelations 3D looks cheaper and cheesier than the original. Perhaps this is the lack of understanding and/or subtlety, or the overuse of elements from the games which have no purpose within its context. Silent Hill is a reflection of the character. It always reflects the character. It’s a demon town that echoes the darkness of the individual heart. Failing to understand that simple concept has led to an almost criminal assault on what Silent Hill is, does and should be. These people clearly didn’t play the games, they got someone else to play them and tell them the story and then took bits and pieces and put them together. It isn’t Silent Hill. It’s a patchwork abomination and it doesn’t work, because the concept is more intelligent than the corporate violation of intellectual property.
The movie is, frankly, a mess. And whilst I give them some credit on making Heather look like the game version (Adelaide Clemens does try to make the best of what can only be described as the lowest point of any career to date but it’s still not good enough), the other motley crew – Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss etc. – just flounder within the setting. Nothing fits. Nothing works. Nothing makes sense.
Cohesion is the point of the old Silent Hill games, even when fractured apart it is in putting the pieces back together that you see a bigger picture. It’s important to remind ourselves that Silent Hill IS still a good series, despite its recent failings. Despite the desperation there is to keep it current and relevant, the older Silent Hill games – even The Room – have never had more impact, more meaning, more to tell us about ourselves and the nature of the human condition. These games are, and always will be, pinnacles of the horror world. Beacons lighting the way. Hoping others will follow, leading mere pretenders to their death in the murky waters beneath its light. Those who get closer to its light will be more exposed, and therefore will be more judged in the reflection it gives.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is worse than Resident Evil: Retribution. It shouldn’t have been. Because the first film gave us hope, the hope that maybe people understood the games. Wanted to reflect well on them. Wanted to honour them.
There’s no honouring here. Just a violation like the scene from Silent Hill 2, Pyramid Man and the Mannequin. Except that scene had a point. This movie… doesn’t. This movie isn’t just a bad movie of a game. It’s not just a bad movie. It’s just bad. This movie is evidence of just how desperate things have become. I’m not even sure the Silent Hill brand will recover from it.
What worries me most though is people LIKE this movie. There’s a wave of support for it, and it deserves none of it. I can’t understand what people see in it. Is it gory? Yes. But that doesn’t make it an especially good film. There are worse films… but for a movie with so much promise, this really falls a long way short of the mark.
Please, avoid. Just play Silent Hill 3. It’s simply better.