Christophe Gans' 2006 adaptation of the popular video game series Silent Hill may not have been a perfect film, but it did an incredibly admirable job of translating the spirit of its source material to the big screen. It also earned enough money to warrant interest in a follow-up and now writer/director Michael J. Bassett (Solomon Kane) will take audiences back to the titular town in his upcoming sequel - Silent Hill: Revelation 3D.
When production began just under a month ago, it was revealed that Adelaide Clemens (Mad Max: Fury Road) had landed the lead role of Heather Mason and that Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) would co-star as Vincent. The following week, we learned that Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, and Deborah Kara Unger were also on board and would be reprising their roles from the first Silent Hill.
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D borrows the crux of its story from the video game Silent Hill 3, so the characters mentioned in the latest casting announcement should come as no surprise. Davis Films has confirmed that Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) will play the film's antagonist, Claudia Black, and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) will play her abusive father, Leonard.
In the game, Claudia is an incredibly memorable adversary who knows the truth about Heather's past and is responsible for drawing her back to the town of Silent Hill. I know Moss might not seem like an obvious choice to fans of the games, but I think this is actually a pretty inspired decision - particularly because Claudia isn't as outright malevolent as Christabella (the first film's villain). There's a tragic aspect to her that I think Moss will be able to capture perfectly.
Producer Samuel Hadida says of Moss:
Claudia's past is somewhat ambiguous, but it's indicated that she suffered a great deal of abuse at the hands of her father, Leonard (McDowell). Her troubled past is deeply tied to her nefarious plans for Heather (Clemens). Leonard Black also appears in the game Silent Hill 3, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't played it - let's just say that he looks nothing like Malcolm McDowell.
McDowell's involvement indicates that the role of Leonard may have been slightly expanded and that there could be more to Claudia's back story than what Heather hears from Vincent (Harington). Bassett is excited to have the legendary actor on board and believes that he'll go above and beyond what's required of him:
“Malcolm is quite simply an icon of modern cinema and I've been a fan since I was a teenager when I managed to see A Clockwork Orange. He has an amazing ability to bring new and unexpected dimensions to his characters and I know he will bring something unique and disturbing to Silent Hill.”
I've mentioned before that I think Bassett probably has more than a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. Despite using the third game as a template, it sounds like there will be enough deviations to keep even the savviest of fans on their toes.
The first Silent Hill made some significant changes to the game's mythology and it sounds like the sequel is attempting to honor both interpretations while simultaneously branching off into some new territory. Solomon Kane is still unavailable here in the U.S. so I'm not really all that familiar with Bassett's work. However, I do get the impression that he has a genuine love for the source material and that this is a passion project for him.
I'm still a fan of the first Silent Hill movie and I love what Gans managed to accomplish, but I think Roger Avary's script did him no favors. The third act of that film is a mess - particularly when it grinds to a halt right before the climax so that Alessa can deliver all of the exposition that could have been slowly revealed piece by piece in the preceding hour and a half.
It was still an unbelievably unique horror film, though and I'd love to see this franchise continue beyond this latest installment. If Silent Hill: Revelation 3D manages to move along at a better pace with a more focused narrative, I think the potential for further stories set in this universe would be undeniable.