Found footage seems to be the current horror film fad, so Silent Hill: Revelation is a refreshing break from the pack. This movie isn’t out to make you guess the killer or wade through suspense. Instead it’s a sharp, compelling visual spectacle that entertains as much as it chills.
Rather than make a straight sequel to Silent Hill or adaptation of the game Silent Hill 3, director/writer Michael J. Bassett chose to build in enough background for this to stand on its own. Like in many horror films, cute blonde Heather Mason (played by Adelaide Clemens) finds herself starting school in a new town when all the terror starts. However, this is basically where the tropes end. Her father Harry (Sean Bean) has been on the run with his daughter since she survived her first visit to Silent Hill, an experience that robbed her of her mother and her memories of the horrors she had experienced. When her father disappears, she valiantly decides to return to the haunted town. She is aided by Vincent (Kit Harington), another new student who seems mysteriously keen to get to know her.
Most of the time, I’m skeptical about 3D, but it really works within the realm of horror by drawing you into the action. This was shot in 3D rather than converted into the format, so every flake of ash pops and settings like an old asylum become even creepier. Red Pyramid, known to fans more commonly as Pyramid Head, makes a grand reappearance, but there is something much more frightening blocking the way to Heather reuniting with her father. There are no big scares, but there were moments when I wished I could pause the video game and come up for air.
Clemens excels as a young woman who is not just a survivor but a hero, putting the love of her father before her own well-being. In his first lead role in a film, Harington gives a nuanced performance, growing more distressed as his layers and secrets are ripped away. Supporting roles from veterans Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Malcolm McDowell are tragically brief but well utilized.
Silent Hill: Revelation isn’t going to make you scream out loud in the theater, but it draws you into its world and has the potential to be quite haunting indeed. If this franchise continues, we can only hope Bassett remains at the helm.
Silent Hill: Revelation is in theaters now in 2D and 3D.