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'Silent Hill' features revelations in bad filmmaking

Open Road

By Akshay Seth, Daily Arts Writer
Published November 2, 2012

Horror movies are made to do one thing — to somehow take audiences to a place they don’t necessarily want to go. A lot of filmmakers, however, forget it doesn’t really matter why no one wants to go said place.

The reason could be anything and everything: giant spiders, rabid zombies or, in the case of “Silent Hill: Revelation,” a large pyramid-headed demon. What makes a movie scary is how a director manages to convince us we’re already there.

If some of you fledgling filmmakers out there are struggling to understand this concept, then this review probably won’t be the best source of information. What you need to do is watch “Silent Hill: Revelation” for some startlingly eye-opening wisdom about what not to do.

In fact, the film should be marketed as the Hindenburg of horror movies, a lesson for all the aspiring directors in the years to come about how horribly things can go wrong. So what is really so bad about this movie?

Everything.

But in all seriousness, perhaps the best place to start would be the bafflingly intricate, yet utterly predictable plotline. We pick up a few years after the conclusion of the last film in the franchise in 2012. Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean, TV’s “Game of Thrones”) and his daughter Sharon (Adelaide Clemens, TV’s “Lie to Me”) are living under false identities in order to hide from the evils of Silent Hill, which are presumably looking for Sharon (after her escape from the haunted town in the final act of the previous film).

But the demons are too smart to simply capture Sharon. Instead, they kidnap Christopher in an attempt to lure their target to her own demise. Along for the ride is Vincent (Kit Harrington, TV’s “Game of Thrones”), Sharon’s romantic interest and the perfunctory knight in shining armor — ready to sacrifice himself whenever the need may arise. As the two make their way through the ash-cloaked streets of Silent Hill, overlong and boring encounters with several of the town’s monsters take place, serving as a constant reminder of why filmmakers shouldn’t take video game action sequences, which “Silent Hill” is based on, too literally.

Ultimately, the unoriginal, half-brained attempts at creating a genuinely creepy atmosphere serve as the final nail in the coffin for “Silent Hill: Revelation.” The decidedly convoluted nature of the plot only serves to confuse audience members and further dilutes any semblance of fear or disgust created by the elaborate set pieces. It doesn’t help that the entire screenplay feels phoned in and anything the characters say is viewed as an opportunity to explain away the numerous inconsistencies in the storyline.

The most significant revelation comes in the form of a reminder: Making a scary movie involves finesse. Trying to brute force one’s way into an audience’s imagination through the use of campy CGI and grotesque sword-wielding monsters does nothing more than shove a film into a category dominated by low expectations. So please, whoever thought of making this sequel, for the sake of our belief in Hollywood, don’t make any more.


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