Opening weekend has now passed and there was no way I could let it go by without picking up tickets to my favorite horror game series of all time hitting the big screen once again! Naturally, I did some snooping around before I went and read some critic reviews, most of them being very poor but what can we expect fromÂ “professionals” who wouldn’t recognize the most minor references to the game since they don’t even know what Silent Hill is. This movie is made only for Silent Hill fans and no one else, mainstream movie goers and non video game players are advised to stop here and go on Facebook or something…
****THIS REVIEW CONTAINS NO SPOILERS TO THE FILM****
Right away, Revelations sets a tone in it’s opening scene similar to the delivery in Silent Hill 3 by starting off in the Nightmare World. This gives a long enough glimpse of how closely the game and film are visually related in it’s respective platforms and it’s clearly a 1:1 mirror in detail. The rusted red tones of Lakeside Amusement Park with the gated/caged walls and floors theme of Heathers nightmare is pinpoint accurate, a creepy visual nostalgia that does last throughout the entire film with each time “The Darkness” comes. Bringing Akira Yamaoka on board for the soundtrack had to be one of the single most effective ideas possible to bring this film closer to success. Without a doubt, whether the film is in it’s slower paced, plot driving moments or nightmarish rushes for Heather’s survival, Yamaoka’s musical genius sets the moods for all these perfectly.
Most fans upon viewing earlier trailers and screenshots of the film were, for the most part, pleased with the casting choice of Heather being played by Adelaide Clemens due to her surprisingly heavy resemblance to the actual in game character. Her further portrayal of Heather goes just as surprisingly well, Adelaide gives a more in depth look to her persona in contrast to the glimpses of the sarcastic, strong minded and often times irritable sides of Heather that only show at key gameplay moments in SH3 and the movie provides a solid and sensible enough back story as to how she’s grown to be like that in the first place. Her transition from a content but mentally troubledÂ high school goer to a much more emotionally hardened yet tunnel visioned “I will save my father at all costs” persona flows at a pace that makes sense without seeming rushed for the sake of film adaptation. The films early segments with Heather really does a good job of carrying the whole “They seem like monsters to you?” message outside of the expected Darkness realm and how her dark origins gradually plague her everyday life more so than your average teen.
Actually, the large majority of the cast does an equally great job across the board but I’d be lying if I said this was true for Vincent’s character as well. If there is anything that throws the elements of the movie off, it’s the rushed pace of how Vincent develops throughout the film. Director Michael J, Bassett did mention that liberties with this character in particular would be taken and while not the entire direction of his usage was a botch, the speed at which he becomes an overly love struck ( Edward/Jacob a la Twilight) guy doesn’t exactly find it’s place among the films plot and mostly comes off as not very genuine.
The most short lived characters, in terms of screen time,Â had to be the most enjoyable. Sean Bean (Harry Mason), Deborah Kara Unger (Dahlia), Martin Donovan (Douglas Cartland) and Malcolm McDowell (Leonard Wolf) do such great jobs in reflecting their characters to the big screen that any real fan would probably be disappointed simply because there wasn’t enough of them to be seen.
The use of Pyramid Head in Silent Hill films and video games alike has been a controversial topic since his appearance in both the first film and Silent Hill: Homecoming. Many fans feel that the famed ‘Red Pyramid’ is being over saturated to act as a draw towards the more mainstream fans while ruining the entire concept of his character and meaning to the Silent Hill mythos. While this topic will remain to be loosely up to debate, I confidently can say that this film does a far better job than that of the first or any other use of his presence since Silent Hill 2 at giving meaning to his presence and actions. Without running the risk of spoiling certain turns of events, it’s encouraged that the true fans of Silent Hill simply bear in mind that Pyramid Heads role in this film is strikingly similar to that of Valtiel in the game. Players and fans who are knowledgeable in the relationship between the “Red God” and “Yellow God” can quickly see as the film progress what Basset was trying to lean towards in his character in light of the total absence of Valtiel.
Just about every monster, with the exception of the Nurses, have been replaced in favor of some original disturbing creations. These new monsters, while not taken from the game, are very close in likeness to what you’d expect to lurk within ones mind when visiting this Hell on Earth. Twitching mannerisms and grotesque bodily features stay faithful to the art direction of Heather/Alessa’s minds and are all easily something one could place within Silent Hill 3 and would fit perfectly with the cast we’ve all known to have more than one reason of fearing.
Silent Hill Revelations, without a doubt is the closes success to a video game hitting the big screen that we’ve seen in a long time. While this movie surely could have benefited from running a bit longer than it’s 1 hour and 30 or so minute roll time, with titles like Resident Evil losing it’s charm and especially it’s sense of origins, this movie is a major breath of fresh air for something gamers can closely relate to. Mainstream critics will easily miss just about every point and hidden message there is to find in this film, but the target audience of Silent Hill fans can rest easy to know that if there are any plans on continuing more film projects that it ‘s steadily headed in a positive direction that will please a majority of not all followers in due time.
Overall: 4 stars