Initially the main question running through my mind as I watched Silent Hill: Revelation, the sequel to the survival horror video game adaptation Silent Hill (2006), was, “What is Michelle Williams doing in this movie?” Surely after Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, and My Week with Marilyn, the three-time Academy Award-nominated actress has better offers to choose from than this nonsense. It quickly dawned on me that the actress playing 18-year-old Sharon, heroine of Revelation, was too young to be Williams. But could it possibly be Williams’ sister?
I do have a larger point to make with all this irrelevant talk about an actress who wasn’t even in the movie. These were thoughts that wandered aimlessly through my mind during most of Silent Hill: Revelation because it is, truth be told, a very bad movie. The 2006 original was just okay to begin with, and Revelation improves upon it in only one way—it’s about a half hour shorter than the bloated first one. But it doesn’t feel shorter, due to an incomprehensible plot based on the game Silent Hill 3.
Know this much going in, if you haven’t seen the first film or played any of the games, stay far away. Even if you are well versed in the world of Silent Hill (full disclosure, I’ve not played the games but I did see the first film), Revelation is still a piece of incompetent storytelling, written and directed by Michael J. Bassett. The Michelle Williams striker Adelaide Clemens plays the young adult version of Sharon, adoptive daughter of Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean). Sharon and Christopher have been moving around frequently since the events of the first film, living under the false names of Heather and Harry Mason.
Sharon/Heather is tormented by vivid, recurring nightmares of being set ablaze in the town of Silent Hill by Alessa, her evil alter ego (or whatever). Before long, Sharon is back in Silent Hill, joined by classmate Vincent (Kit Harington). Vincent initially claims to be interested in a relationship with Sharon simply because they’re both new to the same school, but he eventually reveals a deeper connection. Don’t ask what this adynamic duo is trying to accomplish. If writer-director Bassett can’t make it clear, why should the viewer care? Deborah Kara Unger is back as Dahlia (Alessa’s mother), as is Roberto Campanella as Pyramid Head. Malcolm McDowell shows up for a cameo as Vincent’s blind grandfather, Leonard Wolf. Carrie-Anne Moss turns up in the villainous role of Leonard’s daughter, Claudia.
Silent Hill: Revelation at least compensates for being such a lousy movie with a solid technical presentation. Maxime Alexandre’s digital cinematography looks pretty impressive in this 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer. The imagery is the best thing about Revelation, so it’s a good thing it looks clear and detailed. The high definition clarity sometimes betrays the occasionally cartoonish effects, a result of the film’s considerably lower budget than the first installment.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is pretty exciting, with lots of startling, creepy effects audible in the rear channels. The LFE channel is actually amazingly active, with forceful subwoofer rumbling that manages to enhance even some rather dull stretches. I did find dialogue to be a little underwhelming at times; a little thin and trebly, and occasionally buried slightly in the mix. But overall, this is an effective audio presentation.
If you’re a Silent Hill fan looking for special features, you’re bound to be sorely disappointed. There’s one thing here and it’s barely worth mentioning: a three-minute EPK featurette. It’s basically a trailer with cast and crew interview clips edited in. Hearing Sean Bean and Malcolm McDowell trying to speak enthusiastically about this dud project is kind of a funny, at the very least. A 3D version of the Blu-ray will be released February 26, but doesn’t add any further extras.
I don’t know who Silent Hill: Revelation is for, honestly. Fans of the game series deserved far better. It’s incoherent, boring, and a general waste of resources.