Usually I come to Bleeding Cool to write about something charitable or more positive, but I'm no stranger to the horrors and twisted beauty of Silent Hill. Sometimes you just have to balance out those positive thoughts with a trip to the darker sides of life.
Last night, at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood, CA, I took that trip when attending the red carpet premiere of Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is the sequel to the beautifully directed, but horribly written 2006 film, Silent Hill. Derived from the very popular videogame series by Konami, I assumed that one film would kill any hopes for a movie franchise outright.
Also, I believe they finished filming this sequel back in early 2011, and it took over a year and a half before it finally hit the big screen. This can sometimes indicate a film not worth the wait. Let me just say right now – it was worth it.
Where the first movie was very loosely based on events from the original Silent Hill videogame, taking numerous liberties in changing things, almost for the sake of changing thing, this one is as close to a direct translation of the 3rd Silent Hill videogame as possible.
Acting as a direct sequel to the first film, writer-director Michael J. Bassett, of Solomon Kane, found a way to actually make sense of the ending to the first Silent Hill film and used it as a catalyst for the plot in this sequel. He even delivers a ton of fanboy service to make up for the utter lack of it in the previous adaptation.
I don't want to spoil the plot or any of its very clever twists but I will say the dialogue had a few rough patches. Nonetheless, the acting, especially by Adelaide Clemens, was truly far greater than this kind of genre fare usually delivers.
For the fans, Sean Bean and Adelaide's characters drop their names from the first film to adopt the ones we all know and love, Harry and Heather Mason. There's even a line Heather says about names not really mattering, which I liked, and it summed up a great moment for the character.
If you haven't seen Silent Hill, I'll fill youn in. Rose's daughter, Sharon, has nightmares of a town that Rose researches. She learns that it's a haunted town where a horrible coal fire destroyed everything – and then decides to bring her 12 year old daughter to said town to understand the girl's nightmares.
5 minutes into the first film I hated Rose as a mother. In this film, I loved every second of Adelaide's Heather Mason and Sean Bean's Harry. As an audience member, I found myself rooting for them during every one of their trials.
The look of the film, and the way Bassett captures the world of Silent Hill, was far better executed than Christophe Gan's 2006 movie, and that's even considering how much I loved the look of the original.
And the creatures were spot on. Seeing the nurses again is always awesome and creepy at the same time; Pyramid Head rocked and had a true purpose other than ripping the skin off random characters; and the transformation scenes between realities were beautifully executed, matching perfectly with game composer Akira Yamaoka's score.
Like most great horror films, the movie is only as good as its villains. Carrie-Anne Moss did a really great job as Claudia Wolf, the sister to the original film's Christabella character. Malcolm McDowell has a truly creepy and intense performance as Claudia's father, Leonard, an asylum patient that knows the secrets behind the "Seal of Metatron" and the town of Silent Hill itself. There's a great exchange between him and Heather Mason where she tells Leonard that her father is trapped in Silent Hill. His response is simple, yet effective: "Which Silent Hill?"
As for the fanboy service, I don't want to spoil anything major. Just know that nearly every character from the 3rd videogame shows up in one incarnation or another. This includes Vincent, played by Kit Harington, and who was a priest in the game but is now Heather's age and is just as new to Heather's high school as she is.
Douglas, the private investigator that tracks down Heather in the 3rd game also shows up a few times, portrayed very well by Martin Donovan. Also, playable characters from other Silent Hill games make cameos as well, along with there being nods to a few more.
If you've seen the trailer, you know cast members from the previous film show up – including Deborah Kara Unger as Alessa's mother, Dahlia.
All in all, this was a fun film. It had its moments of terror, with a few scenes of gore, but mostly they took the Jacob's Ladder approach and went for something more cerebral. There was levity and humor in the appropriate places, and as weird as it may sound, I got a smile on my face every single time I saw Robbie The Rabbit appear on screen.
The film has a great finale, yet still leaves things open in some regards, and there are some new characters who could take the franchise in a number of directions. Still, I vote that they keep the team that put this together for future films.
I plan to go see Silent Hill again this weekend as I feel this movie is worth paying for, and to support its careful, and true, interpretation of a videogame that I felt couldn't be translated properly. I'm happy to be wrong about that.
Siike (seek) Donnelly is an author that lives with his dog, Echo, in Los Angeles. He's currently working on a charity project for 2013 and will be launching his first comic book Kickstarter in early November that features art from over 50 talented artists, two of them being amongst his favorite artists of all time, Sean "Cheeks" Galloway and Kevin Eastman. He can be followed on Twitter, @ExplodingBullet, is the co-host of the Nerd Nation podcast found on iTunes and at www.nerdnation.co, and has created a Tumblr page for his upcoming work at thenaiveproject.tumblr.com.