I’m currently struggling my way through NanoWriMo (Novel writing month) and pretty much getting nowhere; so I took a break from writing about a crime fighting lesbian Nun death squad, and went to see ‘Silent Hill Revelations’. I had meant to go see this on its Halloween release date but they kindly held a special showing of ‘The Shining’ (1980) on that day; so it was obvious what I was going to end up doing instead.
The first Silent Hill movie is quite old now; it was released in 2006; before the games started to suck (although shattered memories is excellent) and it holds an important place in my heart, it’s not a brilliant film; it’s a pretty average modern horror, but as a video game movie it’s one of the better efforts. It contains some moments of genuine creeps and has some good set pieces particularly the bits they borrow from the games. But it means more to me than your average movie because I’ve attached sentiment to it. I’m a huge fan of the games, and at the time of its release I was with the girl I tend to describe as being the love of my life, or at least so far (I’m planning on buying a full size arcade machine, that will take her place). And even though she hated horror films we went to see this, as she was interested in getting involved in things that I like. I remember being a little embarrassed when the priestess gets her cooch crammed full of barb wire but overall, we had a good time. Sadly I haven’t seen ‘Silent Hill’ in a few years now as the relationship ended, and the film is strangely painful to watch; but these are the things of life, and a little pain never did any one any harm. I think Chuck Palahnuik said it best.
‘People don’t want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown’
So I think I’ll hold on to the feeling for a little longer.
‘Silent Hill Revelations’ takes its cue from ‘Silent Hill 3’, which is the true sequel to the first Silent Hill game, ‘Silent Hill 2’ was a spin off title. And as the first Silent Hill film was based on the first game it‘s a logical choice to skip the second game as a source of inspiration.
At the start of ‘Silent Hill Revelations’ we find Christopher and Sharon from the first film living life on the run, under the names of Harry and Heather (the original names from the game) because of an intruder that Harry killed many years earlier, who is later revealed to be a member of the order; the religious sect from Silent Hill who are trying to find Sharon so they can sacrifice her to stop Alessa and release their town from the darkness.
Sharon is fast approaching her seventeenth birthday and is just starting a new school where she meets Vincent; who is also there on his first day and dresses like an extra from a Twilight or maybe he’s trying to audition for the part of Ted Logan in the remake of ‘Bill and teds excellent adventure’ (1989) either way he looks like an anachronistic douche bag, he immediately tries to hit on Sharon, who rebukes his efforts, maybe he’d have more luck if he wasn’t wearing that stupid fucking waist coat white t-shirt combo, hell if I know ‘I don’t understand dames’. While in school Sharon starts to have strange visions; journeying into the dark world, even though she is not in Silent Hill. Sharon soon realises that someone is following her so she goes to the shopping mall to wait for instructions from Harry, while she is there the dark world starts to bleed into reality again and the person following her reveals himself to be a detective that was hired by the Order to find her, he warns her of their nefarious plans and then is dispatched by a reject Cenobite. Sharon goes home to find out that her father Harry has been kidnapped and written on the wall in blood is an order for her to go to Silent Hill. So she sets off with Vincent in tow to rescue her old man.
There is more to it than that, but if I was to go through it in to much detail then this review would be a couple of thousand words long, because ‘Silent Hill Revelations’ is just full of random shit that seem to take place with no rhyme or reason. Usually a movie will have a build up to events instead ‘Silent Hill Revelations’ just springs it on you. Some of it is explained away by Sharon reading a note book written by her father, so when she meets Dahlia and uses her name we don’t ask how did you know who she is? we just accept that she probably read about her in the book. But all through this film we are presented with nonsensical situations based solely on the fact that they would make good set pieces. Personally I think it’s because Michael J Basset studied at the Resident evil school of film making; where the most important thing is keeping the story moving through any means, showing as much cool shit as is possible; and not worrying about explaining any of it away.
Trying to rationalise the actions and events in the film is impossible, I’ll list some of the bizarre leaps the film makes with little or no explanation. Vincent turns out to be an agent from Silent Hill but ends up helping Sharon. Sharon has to meet Vincent’s grandfather; upon meeting him he promptly turns into a demon and attacks her. And my favourite; Vincent is taken to Brookhaven asylum; tied to a gurney and wheeled into a room full of the staby nurses from the first film, by two members of the order. These guys happily just walk into this room full of homicidal ugly birds with rocking bods as if it’s nothing, and then get slaughtered for their stupidity. All so that we can have a cool escape scene. These two members of the order have lived in the darkness for how long? They know these nurses are dangerous, the lack of faces and prominent presence of sharp implements should at least tell them that, if not previous experiences. It’s a good scene but fucking stupid. And it’s just an example of the total lack of coherence and reality to this film. I mean seriously, the Order’s head quarters are hidden in an abandoned amusement park. Did they go to the Scooby Doo school of evil villainy or something WTF.
The other problem with this movie is that it’s a horror film but there is no real feeling of threat. I never once feared for Sharon. It’s true that she see’s some horrible things in her journey through Silent Hill, but even when she runs into the Pyramid head he ignores her. It makes it feel like a fair ground ride. It’s almost as if you are watching someone walk through a spook house. You see some scary disturbing imagery but ultimately it’s just a ride and you know there is no real danger.
The six years we waited for this film wasn’t worth it. I’m underwhelmed and unimpressed. If you want to watch a similarly structured movie watch the Resident Evil films, they are just as dumb but a lot more fun than this.
So it’s another Ben Stiller action comedy. If you’ve seen Starsky and Hutch (2004), Dodgeball (2004), and Tropic Thunder (2008) you know what to expect.
Ben Stiller takes his usual role as a socially retarded man, who teams up with a few other oddball characters to create a neighbourhood watch group. You have the overly enthusiastic Bob (Vince Vaughn), the psychotic Franklin (Jonah Hill) and the English Jamarcus (Richard Ayaode). These unlikely heroes team up together to fight a threat from beyond the stars.
All the hallmarks of a Stiller comedy are here, the cruel sense of humour usually revolving around suffering, pain, social awkwardness, mixed with a good dose of the ribald. Along with your standard story of a group of mismatched individuals finding true friendship after a few falling outs.
The film is centred on Stiller and Vaughn as you would expect, but Hill and Ayaode put in excellent performances, each of them earning some genuine laughs along the way. Ayoade is very much in Moss mode here only a little more adult and sweary than we would expect our favourite IT technician to be. I have to admit it’s bizarre to hear him talking about getting his balls sucked by an Asian housewife; still made me laugh though.
I can’t fault this film because it did exactly what I thought it would do. It made me laugh, and despite my cynical nature I couldn’t but help be somewhat elated at the growth of the characters friendships. Ultimately I would say if you like the other Stiller films go see this, if you don’t then there’s nothing different here to make you suddenly like him, so watch ‘The Burbs’ (1989) instead because that film is awesome