2006's Silent Hill was hardly perfect, but as far as video game adaptations go it was one of the best. Director Christophe Gans painstakingly recreated the ghostly atmosphere and mutilated creatures of the best-selling game, and his love for it was obvious. As a result, Silent Hill pleased many of the diehard fans because it was made by a filmmaker who took their wants to heart, and it proved to be a moderate box office success as a result. Silent Hill: Revelation has none of that care of craft. It's a completely workmanlike sequel that lacks mood and genuine scares.
The story borrows liberally from the Silent Hill 3 game, picking up a few years later with Christopher(Sean Bean) and his adoptive daughter Sharon(Adelaide Clemens) on the run and under a pair of false names. Rose (Radha Mitchell) somehow managed to send Sharon back into our world, but the process left her trapped in Silent Hill. Unable to remember anything, Sharon believes her mother was killed in an accident, but begins to suspect something is wrong through a series of violent nightmares. The visions soon begin to emerge at all times, and soon after her father vanishes, with an invitation to "Come to Silent Hill" scrawled in blood on their wall.
Despite numerous warning never to return there, of course that's exactly what Sharon does, accompanied by Victor (Kit Harington), the new guy at school who is way too nice and earnest to be believed. Lured back into the ethereal world of Silent Hill, Sharon discovers that the same dark cult that plagued them before needs her for a ghastly plot to reunite her with the demonic Alessa. There's more to it than that, but not much.
With Gans and previous screenwriter Roger Avary out of the picture, Michael J. Bassett took on both responsibilities, and he seems torn on how best to approach it. All of the monstrous creatures we associate with the film are there, from the gigantic Pyramid Head to the busty and faceless night nurses. Also a few new ones are thrown in for good measure, including a skin crawling spider creature made up of mannequin parts, which were in turn created from real human victims. That one alone will have plenty of folks waking up in a cold sweat. Bassett gives us the creatures he knows fans are expecting, but they don't really do much, and certainly don't service the story in any way.
Mostly what we get are scenes of Sharon creeping through darkened tunnels and ash-covered streets, only without the same artful touches and mood of the previous film. Bassett, who directed the splattery action-fest Solomon Kane, simply isn't that nuanced of a filmmaker. Silent Hill trades primarily in symbology and the psychological, all things Bassett isn't equipped for. He even manages to fumble the film's one big twist, telegraphed from a mile away and delivered badly through some painfully stiff acting.
If they ever do The Michelle Williams Story, Adelaide Clemens could play a younger version of the Oscar-winning actress. She does a decent enough job here, far and away superior to Kit Harington, who might want to stick to HBO's Game of Thrones where there are so many characters his deficiencies are masked. Other characters from the previous film pop, played by recognizable faces like Carrie-Anne Moss and Malcolm McDowell, but they add little value.
Silent Hill: Revelation effectively kills what was once a promising horror franchise. It might be a better idea to just watch the original again, or better yet run out and buy the latest game.