Saturday, December 08, 2012

Silent Hill: Revelation

This will Silence Anybody

While other video game turned film franchises may have churned out sequel after sequel, Silent Hill took its own time to come up with a follow up to its film debut in 2006. Granted I wasn't too impressed by the storyline from the first Silent Hill, you have to tip your hat towards its impressive visual style and presentation, much of it inspired from the game it came from, although the pace was relatively morose in a desperate attempt to pass it off as atmospheric. It was a video game done on the film format, and remained squarely at that.

The sequel started where we left off six years ago, and introduces us to the now grown up Heather (Adelaide Clemens), who has been uprooted by her dad Harry (Sean Bean) each time she encounters those inexplicable nightmares featuring strangely grotesque beings and burning walls of a different, alternate dimension. But soon her destiny catches up with her, because of Silent Hill's The Order being relatively active in wanting to pursue their agenda to get Heather back to their world, believing that she, and the current infante terrible Alessa (also Clemens), are one and the same, only that Heather is pureness personified. To compel her to return, Harry gets kidnapped as bait, and soon, there's enough plot revelation brought upon by new kid on the block Vincent (Kit Harington), and other disposable characters who would attempt to boost the rather weak narrative.

Frankly, nobody cares much about the developments in this video game world. Admit it, we're in solely to gawk at the amazingly gothic and strange looking creations the production and creature designers can conjure for the big screen, which are gorgeous to look at. And writer-director Michael J. Bassett's approach may be different from his predecessor's, who was focused on recreating the mood and atmosphere experienced from the game. Here, that goes out of the window, adopting a more direct, no nonsense approach to get to the point, although this may seem to have compromised an aspect which stood out from the earlier film, and made it oh so ordinary here.

The battles also seemed a little too lopsided, and this makes it quite boring to sit through, since Heather goes just about unscathed from point to point. The earlier film brought about a keen sense of danger felt by the characters at each turn, but here, that's dissipated and becomes more of a side-show and tour for Heather as she stumbles from point to point, get what she needs, brushes aside adversary fairly easy, and moves on. Wash-rinse-repeat this sequence too many times, and the film quickly loses its flavour, becoming just another ordinary tale telling an ordinary action-adventure story, though complete with blood and gore. For something that's based on material filled with terror, horror, and scares, this one is tame.

Adelaide Clemens may be a superb choice being cast as Heather, but unfortunately she got let down by the lack of a strong story. Fans of the game will notice a few easter eggs being thrown around with character appearances and scene recreation, and the doors being kept wide open for possible follow up films if only the fans turn up for this one. But unless this improves story-wise, and keeps up its standards in creature design, it would be hard to imagine anyone giving the next film a green light so soon. The soundtrack by Akira Yamaoka though, is nothing short of wonderful, since it comes adopted from the games.

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