‘Silent Hill: Revelation 3D’ Review

Published 2 years ago by , Updated November 18th, 2014 at 4:07 am,

Silent Hill Revelation 3d Pyramid Head Silent Hill: Revelation 3D Review

Silent Hill: Revelation fails to elevate any element of the franchise through screen adaptation – in that none of the characters, mythos, or over-arching storyline are made better.

Director Michael J. Bassett has stepped into the terrifying world of video game-turned-movie franchise Silent Hill with his latest film, Silent Hill: Revelation 3Da follow-up to Christophe Gans’ 2006 movie about the titular (and twisted) town. For a long time, video game adaptations have delivered underwhelming big screen experiences (and equally unimpressive box office returns), as directors (most famously Uwe Boll) pilfered one well-known gaming property after another (Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, House of the Dead).

Many of these films were bizarrely selective in implementing the source material (see Doom‘s FPS sequence); however, as video games become more cinematic in presentation (and attempt to tell more emotionally impactful stories), the lines between big screen entertainment and interactive entertainment are beginning to blur. When it comes to distorting reality, Silent Hill is a perfect fit, but has Bassett successfully blurred the lines between movie and game – delivering a film that provides a great (and terrifying) Silent Hill experience with creepy monsters and an impactful story for non-gamers?

Unfortunately, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is a mixed bag of creepy and downright captivating visual set-pieces coupled with melodramatic dialogue and an overly-complicated storyline. For every interesting creature moment that Bassett presents, there’s one or two lengthy scenes of convoluted and campy exposition that, instead of heightening the tension, deliver eye-rolling exchanges and provide unintentional laughs. The result? A movie that is easy to recommend to fans of the game (Bassett nails a diverse mix of creature encounters) but fails to hit the necessary benchmarks for non-gamer mass appeal.

Silent Hill Revelation 3d Kit Harington Adelaide Clemens Silent Hill: Revelation 3D Review

Kit Harington and Adelaide Clemens in ‘Silent Hill: Revelation 3D’

While there are numerous ties to the 2006 Silent Hill in Revelation, the film starts with Heather Mason (played by Adelaide Clemens) – the guarded “new girl” in town. Game fans will remember Heather as the lead character in Silent Hill 3, and a lot of the same story elements are explored in the movie adaptation. However, instead of traveling to Silent Hill on a quest to avenge the death of her father, Revelation deals much more directly with Heather’s origins: on her eighteenth birthday, she is forced to confront her mysterious past. Heather’s search for answers leads to the Silent Hill Otherworld where she, along with friend Vincent (Kit Harington) come face to face with cult leader Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss), and a laundry list of twisted monsters – including iconic series antagonist, Pyramid Head. In order to survive the warped Silent Hill nightmarescape, Heather must learn the truth about her life and put an end to a ruthless “darkness.”

Instead of enhancing the Silent Hill 3 plot with dynamic character moments and a fully-formed mythology, the plot relies heavily on a MacGuffin chase that throws Heather into one iconic creature face-off after another. Fortunately, a number of these encounters are downright chilling and provide smart tension plus fascinating (albeit disgusting) visual spectacle – especially in 3D. Bassett absolutely nails the Silent Hill horrors with a diverse batch of memorable sequences (most notably the “Dark Nurse” scene) that deliver truly unique scares for gamers and non-gamers alike.

That said, without an engaging context, the film is nothing more than a disorganized monster closet. For some, warped creature sequences and compelling visuals may be satisfying enough, but for anyone who expects proficient storytelling with their scares, the Silent Hill: Revelation narrative is a mess of cliches as well as uninspired twists that fail to deliver interesting character drama or captivating world building. While flat characters are forgivable in horror films (if the frights are good) Revelation spends entirely too much time educating viewers about the Otherworld, franchise folklore, as well as explaining where this story connects to the prior film. These expository scenes cause the movie to lose any momentum created by the intriguing creature set-pieces and few of these “explain the plot to me” dialogue exchanges actually payoff. While the filmmakers might have enjoyed winking at larger Silent Hill mythology questions throughout the film, for the purpose of Heather’s story, very little of that information comes full circle and ends up confusing the story instead of enhancing it.

Silent Hill Revelation 3d Creatures Silent Hill: Revelation 3D Review

The ‘Silent Hill: Revelation 3D’ Dark Nurses

Remember, this is the second installment in the film series. Admittedly, the six years between Silent Hill and Revelation has likely left many moviegoers fuzzy on canon details, but the Silent Hill games have succeeded as a sandbox of mysteries told through focused character-driven story experiences. There’s no reason to think a similar approach wouldn’t work for the films. Unfortunately, Heather and Vincent are saddled with so much exposition that Revelation undermines any interesting developments as well as otherwise competent performances from Clemens and Harington, respectively. Similarly, the supporting cast – which includes Sean Bean and Malcolm McDowell – has little to do but spout platitudes about love and sacrifice.

Given that the success of the film rests heavily on visual spectacle, it’s easy to recommend seeing Silent Hill: Revelation in 3D. Despite a number of cheesy “in your face” shots, where blades fly out of the screen, Bassett crafts several surprisingly beautiful 3D moments. Revelation isn’t the most artistic use of the format that viewers will see all year, but there are sharp visual sequences – both subtle and over-the-top – that are absolutely enhanced by increased depth-of-field. Whether or not these enhanced visuals are worth the premium charge will come down to how excited an individual is for the film in the first place. The 3D in Revelation doesn’t make or break the experience, but should compliment some of the better sequences – for anyone willing to drop the extra cash.

Silent Hill: Revelation fails to elevate any element of the franchise through screen adaptation – in that none of the characters, mythos, or over-arching storyline are made better (or more interesting). Instead, the film succeeds only as a good game-to-movie translation – successfully bringing a number of iconic creature encounters into live-action. As mentioned, fans of the game installments will likely enjoy seeing Bassett’s visual set-pieces, but most viewers who can’t appreciate the director’s careful recreation of the Silent Hill horrors will likely be left underwhelmed by cliche character interactions and a convoluted plot.

If you’re still on the fence about Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, check out the trailer below:


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Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our Silent Hill: Revelation 3D Spoilers Discussion.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is Rated R for violence and disturbing images, some language and brief nudity. Now playing in 2D and 3D theaters.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. Thank you!!!

    I will wait for the DVD or even for HBO release…

  2. I’m a huge fan of the games, but even to me this was a letdown. This director failed to grasp the beauty in simplicity, which the first movie nailed.

  3. So glad I didn’t run out and see this garbage. I was close based on the trailers.

  4. 3D sucks but still want to see the movie though, guess i’ll wait.

  5. So the upside are the visuals, Pyramid head, other creatures and the nurses. The big downside is stilted dialog, another satanic/Jim Jonesy type cult, and a ton of lore for the gamers to geek out and most everyone else will be confused about.

    Is that a good summary?

    Well, I thought you were doing a retro review for the first film …which had all the above!

    • I question whether or not you or this viewer actually know anything about the story of the games outside of what the movies tell you. The series mythology is completely butchered in the films and the universe and mythology the films create do not allow fans to “geek out” because we don’t know what’s going on either.

      The way Hollywood has handled adaptations of franchises like this (especially a franchise that has strong characters, lore and symbolism) is extremely unfaithful. They take so many liberties with the source material that the only thing tying the film with the game is name alone and cheap references from the filmmakers.

  6. I’m a big fan of the games. The movie was okay, not great, a bit to long and overly complicated, some of the monsters outright laughable. The Silent Hill 3 story is a nice one, I can’t believe this movie is what became of it. Too much time spent on meaningless dialogue and not enough on monster fighting, puzzle solving. I do have to say, Pyramid Head fight was AWESOME!

  7. So I saw it today. Definitely loved the monster design and environment; the graphics were pretty amazing. The story was cliche and dialogue between ‘Heather’ and ‘Vincent’ was almost unbearable. I just wish the plot would have transitioned smoothly. Other than that it was awesome watching on the big screen.

  8. hmmm… well this film is Better then TASM thats for sure, has the same visual flair and s***** dialouge to. jsut this one had a plot for gamers. the other oen didn;t have much of a plot at all.

    • WIDRKWTASMM. You understand that right? Stop being so lazy and type the name of the movie you mean.

      • @John, that made me laugh, and I totally agree with you.

  9. So this reviewer thinks that fans of the game are going to like it because of the “iconic” monsters? So you think fans like Silent hill because of Pyramid Head? That was one of the biggest complains about the first movie from fans of the game, you totally missed the point why people like Silent Hill, we don’t care about the monsters, as long as it has a good atmosphere as the game, which both movies never had. If you don’t know what you are talking about then don’t say it. This movie isn’t good, but neither is this review.

  10. I went in seeing this movie a week after it got reviewed and it was risky. Yes, the film definitely had a few mistakes and they probaby made it considerably confusing for some. [definitely if you haven't seen the first film.] But I think even with all the flaws that it did have I really enjoyed it anyway. It was cool seeing heather in the flesh and the way it ended in my opinion was really cool as well. Kinda seems like if they do a 3rd film it would go off some of the 2nd Silent Hill video game. I hope they make enough to make another. :)

    • Wrong on so many levels. The third movie being based on the second game would be horrible. SH2 was its own storyline. 3 was basically the sequel to 1, so it was essentially number two if youre trying to follow a story.

  11. i saw the film yesterday in 3d well i advice nobody to see it its rubish and the story line is not good its disapointing….

  12. I thought one of the monsters in the movie. Seen as a spider like ‘thing’ with arms of legs and the heads. Wasn’t from the 3rd game and all. It reminded me of a boss from ‘Downpour’ Asphyxia boss. Due to all the arms. Mind you I haven’t played all the games to know if the beast is a real Monster or not.
    But I watched the movie in hopes it’d be as good as the first. To be true the story line was well thought out. But poorly done. I believe the chips picked where great. But the way to follow what was going on was ‘quite’ poor. I don’t believe the ‘boogieman’ would go out of his way to be a ‘garden Angel’. As it were even if Heather was his ‘marker’. In a way…
    It was cool but I was hoping for better

    • Asphyxia is from SH: Homecoming though..

  13. A huge let down compared to the first. Just kept moving from room to room, fighting a monster. the story was barely there, the film never really built up to anything.

  14. I loved it if i would have listened to revues would not have watched it .I am so glad i did wanted to go to the theater but couldnt definitely would have . good effects good story creepy identically cool and similar to the game .

  15. Absolutely horrid. Long-time fan of the games, and so I may appear to be biased, but I’m also a movie buff, and couldn’t find ways to really appreciate it from either angle; it completely failed in both areas. Too much camp, too much terrible acting (with a few redeeming moments, such as Heather’s classroom scene, evidence that the girl knows how to act far better than this movie allows), too much info filled in for the audience that should have been left up to them to figure out. The scene near the beginning of Chris (or is it Harry?) talking to Rose through a mirror, quickly bringing the viewers up to speed on what happened since the last film (because the last film didn’t end the way the new one seems to imply), is downright attrocious. Then there’s the matter of how they handle the name changes; stupid. For the sake of continuity, it may not have matched the game, but they really should have just stuck to the names used in the first movie and spared all of us some horrible dialogue. Changing identities makes perfect sense in some ways, but the way it was executed and explained here was a blatantly obvious attempt to address the viewers currently scratching their heads over the name changes. The beginning of the film (Sharon’s dream sequence) looked too goofy and cartoonish, not menacing at all. Camp is absolutely the wrong way to go with a movie like this, based on a game like this. The spider constructed of mannequins was kinda neat, I’ll give ‘em that, but this also looked goofy, rather than dangerous. So many missed opportunities to work in some puzzles, even just the ones to unlock doors like in the first couple of games. At least the scene with Malcolm McDowell was reminiscent of a boss fight, which was something I thought the first movie could have used but left out.

    There’s way more that’s just bad about it, but I’ve honestly just lost interest in talking about it.

  16. The Silent Hill movies are both total abominations and disgraces to the complex, amazing game series.
    Not a single monster from Silent Hill 3 showed up in the movie(and no, Leonard doesn’t count). As Memory of Alessa(another horrible transition) says herself: Everyone has a different nightmare.
    So being as this is true, why are they using monsters from Silent Hill 2? Those monsters are made from JAMES’ Psyche. Pyramid Head’s design was a horrible transition. And the busty nurses were okay, but once again, are from Silent Hill 2. The nurses in Silent Hill 3 are supposed to look realistic, with Black hair in bob cuts, and look relatively human.
    Now characters.
    Regarding Heather and Claudia, the transition was pretty nice. They look like the characters and act like them.
    Vincent and Douglas however are horrible.
    Douglas definatly looks like his game counter-part, but he never dies(with the exception of the non-canon Possesed Ending). Vincent is supposed to be a 40-year old man, and has hardly any blood relation to Claudia.
    He’s OLDER than Claudia actually.
    The Order was never trapped in Silent Hill, so that was all b*******.
    Not to mention Alessa killed all The Order members at the end of the first movie.
    Yeah, they can’t even stay true to their own movies.
    I have no complaints on Leonard.
    Now for story.
    The adaptation wasnt TOO bad, but the Seal Of Metatron was changed a bit.
    Leonard “gives” it to Heather in the game. She doesn’t have any part of it,
    Harry’s supposed to be dead
    Douglas doesn’t die.
    Vincent DOES die.
    And lastly here we go.
    The sword fight between Claudia and Pyramid Head was really horrible. It made absolutely no sense at all.
    And at the end, they HAD to throw in Silent Hill Origins, and Silent Hill Downpour by showing Travis Grady picking them up.
    And by showing The Prison Bus driving into the town.
    Also, some of the environments were a bit weird. The Amusement Park’s design for example.
    The special effects were very very stupid as well.

    • I have to disagree the first one was good and they did a good job the second one was off target because it was a different director and writer who obviously doesn’t even understand the story like the cannibals in the beginning, I mean what the heck this isn’t chainsaw massacre it’s silent hill.