This will come as no surprise since hey, it’s a video game movie, but Silent Hill: Revelation is a bad movie. And it’s not even gleefully bad like The Man With the Iron Fists. It’s just really… plodding and inadequate and hey look I guess Sean Bean got a paycheck, good for him.
(Spoilers of course, but trust me, you don’t care.)
The setting was nice, the monsters mostly well done (though a bit too obviously CGI for my taste, though the mannequin monster feeling up the boob of the newly made plastic lady was nicely creepy), and the musical score was excellent. The room scene with the nurse demons was nicely creepy, even if all of us were left wondering what made the two dumbest cultist foot soldiers ever decide that a room full of nurse demons was the place to go. But that’s all I can really say that’s positive, and that does not a decent movie make. The makeup on several of the characters, by the way, is utterly awful. And the story itself is completely incoherent, with all of the explanatory scenes a word salad of cultist terms that don’t actually make sense even if you have played the games.
Really, the inexplicable scene with the nurse demons points to one of the movie’s most major flaws. In these games, you do a lot of running into random places, herded by monsters, and you simply accept that sure I’m going to pick up the wax doll and the horseshoe so I can later make a handle for a trap door because that’s how I get to the next area and I want to beat the game. (For the record, that is actually a thing you do in Silent Hill 2.) That doesn’t work so well in a movie because you’re not participating. Instead you’re forced to just watch other people to nonsensical things and wonder just who the hell would even think that was a good idea.
Silent Hill: Revelation is actually an uncomfortable mix of Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill: Homecoming. It’s got a lot of plot elements from SH3, but more of the monsters and setting are straight out of Homecoming, which makes it weird if you’re a dedicated fan of the games. There was also a lot of twisting of the SH3 plot, combining elements that it really made no sense to combine, and then the wheels just really come off at the end when suddenly Heather and Alessa basically hug it out as their epic finally battle and Claudia is actually a boss monster called the Missionary.
Also, Victor is inexplicably Heather’s teenaged love interest, and Kit Harrington can’t figure out what the hell his accent is, which doesn’t help matters.
There are a lot of things in this movie that left me wondering why these choices were made. Look, if you want to make Silent Hill 3 into a movie, it had a perfectly serviceable plot that could have worked, I think. If you want to make your own original movie set in Silent Hill because it’s an interesting setting with a lot of potential stories, I think that would actually be amazing and way more interesting than just remaking a video game. But trying to combine the two by not quite telling the story of Silent Hill 3 is really not the way to go. It confuses the fans of the series (or out and out pisses them off) and just makes for a story that has no internal logic.
For example, Claudia. She was a scary character on her own. She didn’t need to be transformed into the Missionary (one of the boss monsters). It’s not a nod to the game that Silent Hill fans would really want, since Claudia was Claudia and the Missionary was the Missionary and they were both very frightening on their own; adding them together does not multiply the scares, trust me. It also means that Heather loses much of her badassery because instead of defeating Claudia and getting closure from that woman’s manipulations, she goes on to not personally defeat the Missionary (more on this later).
To be honest, what I disliked most about the movie was what they did with Pyramid Head. I was right to be worried. Suddenly he’s been transformed from Sir Not Appearing In This Game (though arguably the monster Valtiel in SH3 has similarities) to Heather’s protector. No, really. He shows up twice to save her, once so he can chop off the arms of all the people in the asylum because they’re trying to pull Heather’s hair and scaring her, and once so he can fight the Missionary for her. The movie ends not with Heather being a badass and saving herself, but with what is basically a clash of the Titans where the audience is put in the strange position of cheering for Pyramid Head.
I’m guessing perhaps this has something to do with Pyramid Head’s popularity with the fans, but turning him into something quasi-good is really not the way to reward that.
I will note that I found the ending of the movie the most entertaining part, by the way. After Heather and Victor (sigh) escape Silent Hill (Sean Bean inexplicably decides to stay behind, I guess he just wanted the hell out of this franchise) they get picked up by a trucker… named Travis. And then pass by a prison bus being escorted by the police in the opposite direction. So that was amusing.
If you’re a fan of Silent Hill, don’t waste your money seeing this in the theater. And if you’re not a fan, really don’t waste your money.