Letter From The Lost Days – Silent Hill Revelation 3D Review (Minor Spoilers!)

Posted on by H.B. Duran

The lights are up, the credits have rolled and I’m out of gummy bears, so now it’s time to post my Silent Hill Revelation 3D Review! Many of you have asked for my opinion on this film and at long last I’m finally able to share. Reading this, I’m assuming you’ve played Silent Hill 3, the game on which the film was based. (And one of my top faves!) This movie for me, was like a “Letter From The Lost Days,” and brought back many great memories.

WARNING – this review contains minor spoilers about differences between the game and movie adaptation, but does not reveal major plot points or secrets. Read at your own risk!

Silent Hill Revelation

“What a nightmare!” – Heather, Silent Hill 3

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D really hits it home when it comes to illustrating the different levels of Silent Hill reality. The concept of reality and perception is often questioned in this film, and in Philip K. Dick fashion, Heather is often wondering which reality is true. The film begins as the game does; with a sequence in Lakeside Amusement Park that we’ll relive later. I really enjoyed that creative choice, as no one really talks about the fact that Heather’s dream in Silent Hill 3 was actually a premonition of the future! Writer/Director, Michael J. Bassett explores this ability a little more in-depth, and the toll it takes on Sharon, who is now under the assumed name of Heather Mason.

Adelaide Clemens is almost a dead-ringer for Heather, although I would have liked to have a little more smart ass in her performance in the vein of (game actress) Heather Morris. As much screaming and running as she does in the film, though, Heather is no wimp, which was so important to the success of this character. Clemens portrays a vulnerable yet tough teenager whose difficult past has created a hard exterior. Just as in Silent Hill 3, “Heather” has no recollection of her connection to Silent Hill, but knows that she needs to be wary of strangers due to an incident with an attacker years ago. Many people ask me if Rose and Sharon died at the end of the first film. Well, obviously not, because here’s Sharon. BUT – how Sharon got back and what happened to Rose are pretty interesting, so I’ll leave that to viewers to find out. I can say, however, that Bassett combined that unanswered question with the plot for Silent Hill 3 to create a unique twist on Heather’s motivations.

“Oh, Alessa, the world you wanted is nearly here.” – Claudia, Silent Hill 3

If you’ve seen the 2006 film adaptation, you know that writer, Roger Avary took some serious liberties with the Alessa story line. That being the case, Bassett had to find a way to tie the two films together while pulling the story back closer to actual game play. For this reason, certain facts about Alessa’s motivations had to be altered slightly for continuity purposes. Although Hill Head purists may not like this, as a writer I commend Bassett for accomplishing the task while managing to keep it entertaining.

In Silent Hill: Revelation, the Otherworld shifts are more of Alessa going on a rampage, as opposed to Claudia’s trying to bring about the birth of God. In fact, Claudia seems to hate the Otherworld in this film (or at least pretends to), which is in stark contrast to her in-game desires to bring Alessa back to full power. Vincent’s role in Revelations is exactly what I predicted it would be, and although Kit Harington portrays him as a very likable character, it’s strange seeing our usually snarky “Father Vincent” being so nice. Also, Bassett threw in an added connection between Vincent and some key characters. Although it doesn’t match Silent Hill 3, the extra layer to his personality adds a bit more betrayal and danger to the mix.

Silent Hill Movie

 The “Order” of Things

Okay, I’ve got to get this out. It’s pronounced VAL-TEE-EL. Everyone in this film insists on calling him Val-TEAL which was really annoying to me. His name means “Attendant of God,” using the words “valet” (attendant) and “-el”, which means “of God.” GabriEL, SamaEL, RafaEL…see a pattern here in angel names? Geez, people. ValtiEL, himself only makes a couple brief cameos, but I would have liked to have seen him a LOT more! Sure, we don’t see a whole heck of a lot of him in the game, either, but it would have been nice.

While we’re at it, I kind of wish that Claudia had a bigger role in the film, too, but when we do meet her, she’s well-portrayed by Carrie-Ann Moss (The Matrix); missing eyebrows and all! (Hmm. Witch burning accident?) Dahlia only has a cameo appearance, as well, followed by a brief flashback for those who missed the first film or haven’t watched it in a while. Leonard Wolfe, meanwhile, is more fleshed-out as a character in this film and it’s very interesting to see him in his human form. (Played by Malcolm McDowell) The role of the Seal of Metatron is actually more important in the film, in my opinion, so hats off for that decision.

“It’s God’s decision that I fight. As a knight of honor, as a protector of The Seal, I sacrifice myself to the blood of criminals.” – Leonard, Silent Hill 3

First they wanted to kill the “new Alessa” and now they need her. What a twist. We only hear “burn the witch” in a flashback, so thank goodness we don’t have to hear THAT broken record in Revelation again! Thanks to the first film, the birth of “God” is pretty much a foot note to the plot now. The Order is much more scattered, it seems, like Claudia is the only one keeping it together. This is true to the game and I do like the explanation for why some of the soldiers wear gas masks! Very creative.

One area of rare disappointment was in the set design for The Order’s sanctuary. I understand that “The Darkness” got to it, but it’s obviously just a warehouse with a platform and statue in it. I would have appreciated the corrupted shadow of a once-magnificent sanctuary. Seeing the creation story paintings would have been a real treat, too. (Low on budget, perhaps?)

Silent Hill Revelation

“You’re not friends with that Red Pyramid thing, are you?” – James, Silent Hill 2

Here is one change I LOVED in this film – Pyramid Head as Alessa’s bodyguard?! It’s like Big Daddy and Little Sister in Bioshock, but it works and is surprisingly satisfying. I didn’t get nearly enough of Pyramid Head laying waste in the first movie, and I think they really missed an opportunity in the climax last time. However, Bassett brings back our favorite Executioner and gives him a job – one I wasn’t sure about until I first saw him. It was hard not to yell, “Yeah!” and fist pump the air. (I’ll do that at home with the DVD, ha.)

Sure, I know it doesn’t jive with what Pyramid Head was doing in Silent Hill 2, but the films are already kind of an alternate universe, anyway. I’ll live. The one role I didn’t like for my old pal, P-Head, though was as crank-winding monkey of the carousel. It seems so beneath him and all I could think of was comical circus music in that scene. Sigh.

“Welcome home – now embrace your hell.” – Elle Theme, Silent Hill: Homecoming OST

Michael J. Bassett really went to town with the Easter Eggs, and fans are sure to enjoy looking for them all! From a map of the hospital to puzzle pieces from the game and familiar locales, I really appreciated the attention to detail given to Silent Hill Revelation. A couple of cameos were predictable, but fun nonetheless. I was excited to see The Butcher, for example, but was disappointed in the SFX make-up choices for him. Kudos to Patrick Tatopoulos, who returned to deliver some really incredible creature designs!

Overall, Silent Hill ‘s look and feel were captured with great care and appreciation for the fans. From rusted metal gratings to abandoned streets and everything in-between, Silent Hill: Revelation presents our Special Place in a way that’s familiar, yet new and exciting to explore.  The mall, for example, isn’t an exact replica of Silent Hill 3‘s version, but it’s still hauntingly familiar. The lighting and camera angles of those back halls capture the essence of the game and bring us back to hours of frightening game play.

One thing that some viewers might find shocking is the outright violence in this film. Sure, Silent Hill has no shortage of monsters and gore, but we usually happen upon the aftermath of said violence and don’t see it in action. In game, it’s nothing unusual to happen upon mutilated bodies hanging from the ceiling or a cooked dog, for example. The scene with The Butcher is particularly disturbing, and the lady sitting next to me walked right out of the theater! I’m not into slasher films whatsoever, but I didn’t find Silent Hill: Revelation to be too gory for me. Honestly, that could be because it takes place in my favorite game universe, but honestly I never found any of the violence to be out of context or for the sake of being disgusting.

Although the climax of the first movie was somewhat satisfying in a revenge sense, Christabella’s demise, for example, was just wrong and put there for the sake of being wrong. I was glad to see very little of that in this film, i.e. any gore made sense to the scene and story line as a whole.

Silent Hill Revelation

Lost Carol

Jeff Danna returns for the Silent Hill: Revelation 3D soundtrack, but this time around there seemed to be fewer samples from the games. Nonetheless, the music seemed appropriate; just slightly less enjoyable than the first film for fans who wanted the same kind of “Yamaoka ambience.” The soundtrack features a brand-new song by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn called “Silent Scream,” which rocks. The use of “Rain of Brass Petals (Three Voices Edit)” over the end credits is brilliant and I loved the animated sequence that goes with it! (Performed by Joe Romersa)

“He would never give in to the Town That Takes All” – Hometown, Silent Hill 3 OST

I’m glad that Chris Da Silva aka Harry Mason was given a more active role in this film (played by Sean Bean). He was thrown in as an afterthought in the first script, so it was nice to let him have his day! Bassett keeps to the spirit of Harry Mason in his determination to keep his daughter safe, as well as writing his journal full of backstory. It was a little hard, having JUST watched Lord of the Rings the night before, not to think “One does not simply walk into Silent Hill!”  but Bean’s performance is so convincing that you just hope nothing bad happens to him.

Bassett added a little touch that I wasn’t expecting – the love story between Chris and Rose. It’s a nod to Silent Hill 2; in fact at one point I almost expected him to reveal that his real name was James Sunderland! I won’t reveal Chris’ fate, but I will say that Bassett was much nicer to him than Team Silent was.

Being a fan of Silent Hill 3 doesn’t guarantee that you’ll know what happens, and I like that; some characters die and some live, but you never know who it will be until it happens! Although some cameos or plot points were predictable, I am pleased overall with the result. As a screenwriter, I would have done a few things differently; but I appreciate Michael J. Bassett’s ability to tackle a story line that’s (let’s face it)  hard to explain to those who haven’t played the game!

Good+ Ending?

The ending, for some fans, was a little too happy. If you think about it, though the “Good” ending of Silent Hill 3 (or ANY of the games, for that matter) is pretty optimistic, too. I found the movie’s conclusion to be satisfying, yet open to sequels and future adventures in the fog. This was particularly satisfying to me, because the first movie implied that Alessa was the sole cause of Silent Hill’s dimensional rifts. Hardcore fans know that her story was just one of many that the town fed on and allowed to manifest. “There will be others,” someone says (won’t say who), and I couldn’t help but smile. If the town was returned to “normal” I would have been sorely disappointed.

As for the 3D element, I saw a matinee showing that wasn’t in 3D. I know Bassett wanted us all to see it as the movie was intended, but I’m glad I saw it that way. My eyes have a hard time adjusting to the quick frame rates and I would have missed so much. Also, I really didn’t need Pyramid Head’s Great Knife up my nose, thank you very much. I’d be curious to hear from fans if you thought the 3D element was well-done or gimmicky.

Review Score: 8.5/10

Those who are curious about Silent Hill 3 after seeing the movie can pick it up with a better understanding of who Heather is, but without major spoilers. I would, however, recommend playing it for PC or PS2 as opposed to the HD Collection, so that you can enjoy the original acting performances. If you haven’t seen the film yet, better hurry! It won’t be in US theaters much longer.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out my exclusive interview with writer/director Michael J. Bassett. Did you see the movie? Share your impressions of the film in the comments below!

Silent Hill Revelation 3D Review (c) 2012 – My Silent Hill

3 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Caio Aniceto February 2, 2013 at 10:06 am -

    I disagree with many points of your review. While the first movie had an interesting art house ambience, despite being a Horror movie, Revelation was a CGI-driven mashup. Vincent character, so ambiguous and interesting in the game, is destroyed in order to give Heather a romantic mate. Claudia’s past, filled with abuse by Leonard (which actually made her wish for an eternal paradise in the first place) was simply erased, and she ended up being just a substitute for the “priestess-lady” on the first film. If Pyramid Head was already out of place on the first movie, in Revelation his function is never clear. Why is he helping Heather, anyway? Because she saved him from an eternity of Merry-go-round-spinning-job?
    In the game, by not showing people anywhere, even in the mall, there is a complete feeling of solitude, creating a slow-paced, well-built dreamlike atmosphere that gets even better as you play. Such effect is completely forsaken in Revelation, and the first scenes you watch is of Heather in the classroom giving her colleagues a lecture on Facebook and Twitter bullying, which would sound awesome on a teenage movie. It gets even worse, as “Vincent” kicks in. The result is that all that dreamy atmosphere slowly built in the game is pushed more than obviously through blood-spilling, meaningless scenes. A lousy script, terrible CGI photography and more-than-weird plot turned a masterpiece into a forgettable B-horror experience.

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