Silent Hill certainly deserved its sequel, just as the sequel deserves every piece of recognition it received. Incredibly dark topics like incest and spousal abuse are narrated through surreal and beautiful dream-like sequences. Artistically, Silent Hill 2 is a triumph.
Then there’s Silent Hill 2. Yes, the movie, not the game. It is also known as Revelation 3D, though often simply referred to as The Train Wreck. So, what do we got here? The first movie was… an acquired taste. Roger Ebert called it (and I paraphrase) “the most beautiful awful movie I’ve ever seen”, which, for the bourgeois might have been true. But come on! It was also kinda really, really almost awesome-ish-ish!
Either way, a box office hit Silent Hill was not, and the budget for the sequel was cut in half to a paltry $20 million. Taken into consideration that somebody decided it should be filmed in 3D, one can’t help but wonder what the producers were thinking. I mean, good grief, I was dumb enough to actually watch this in theaters, and the 3D was the scariest part of the movie.
The fact that the premise here is somewhat of a joke doesn’t help either. Really, the creepiest part of the first movie was a pitch black ending that Revelation spends about 45 minutes to explain away. Yes, this is not as much of a movie, as it’s an excuse for existing.
Fans of the site–hi mom!–might remember I suggested Jodelle Ferland should have retired after The Tall Man. In the first Silent Hill movie she actually played a starring role–and poorly so–while here… Well, I'll skip the spoilers; the main actress is Adelaide Clemens, who does an… adequate job. It’s not like she has much to work with, I suppose. Anyway, the whole Ferland thing was just an apropos.
Yes, there are many things not to like about Revelation, but now and again something goes right. They are still using the incredible music Akira Yamaoka created for the games, though it seems like they ran out of it sometime during production. Parts of the soundtrack consists of “originals”, although I highly suspect they might just be stock music.
With all of that said, I can’t help but finding this movie charming. It is beautifully filmed–great use of colors, or lack thereof–and the monster design is great. You won’t be scared for a second, but you’ll be oddly fascinated seeing Malcolm McDowell is some odd bondage role, and you’ll weep for Carrie-Anne Moss’s post-Matrix career. (Or rather, her post-Memento career.)
Michael Bassett, the writer/director who has done little after this, later made his idea for a third movie public, and thank heavens that didn’t happen. Yet, I find Revelation entertaining. Sure, the 3D, that looked awful in the first place, makes for some grotesque shots on the small screen, but other than that, it is a quite nice-looking movie. Good? No. But entertaining-ish-ish, if nothing else.