Silent Hill: Revelation (Michael J. Bassett, 2012)
Goddamnit. I hate that this movie even exists. The original Silent Hill may not be the best videogame adaptation in all of film, but if it isn’t, it’s in the top two. Despite it being pretty much impossible for a sequel to have continued on down that same road—there wasn’t terribly much left at the end of the first movie to work with—I was still cautiously optimistic when I heard this second one was coming out; I figured they would keep the actual town of Silent Hill intact (and indeed, Deborah Kara Unger returns) and come up with a completely unrelated story. And they kinda-sorta did, but here’s the movie’s first problem: Laurent Hadida, turning in his first adaptation, decided to try and tie the story in using a series of ridiculous coincidences and stretches.
Plot: Heather (The Great Gatsby‘s Adelaide Clemens) and her father have spent the entirety of Heather’s young life moving from town to town; as we open, they’ve found themselves in another generic suburb, and Heather is starting at another new school. This time, however, there’s another new kid: Vincent (Games of Thrones‘ Kit Harrington). The two of them, against Heather’s better judgment, bond, and when Heather’s father goes missing, and she finds a message scrawled on the wall of their apartment telling her to come to Silent Hill if she wants to save him, Vincent tags along—but it turns out that none of the players have the full story…
…and I’m not entirely sure the screenwriters did, either. Once Heather and Vincent get to Silent Hill, the actual storyline takes a back seat to the crew’s desire to shove as many special effects into this movie as possible. And it’s not the back seat of a sedan, either, it’s the back seat of a very long bus. There are some times when this is not necessarily a bad thing. We all knew going in that Alien vs. Predator was going to be a stupid movie where a lot of stuff blows up, and we went to the theater and sat down, and it was a stupid movie where a lot of stuff blows up, and I had a whale of a time. But Silent Hill, that was something entirely different, creepy and atmospheric and effective, and most importantly for the sake of this discussion a movie that set a bar that its sequel was going to have to live up to—never mind that the chances that it could were vanishingly small. And we went to the theater, we sat down (okay, I dialed it up on Netflix Instant, but still), and we got a stupid movie where a lot of stuff blows up, but one that didn’t even have the breakneck pace of AvP; there was a stage in this film’s development where Bassett and Co. really were trying to make a movie that would have stood up to the first one. Somewhere along the way, I suspect, that idea got dropped, but not enough of it got removed during the rewrite to even make this a guilty pleasure; instead, the first half of the movie, as inept as it is, serves to highlight what could have been had a little more thought been put into this. * ½