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Satisfying for fans of the original, but missing that SH touch
I went into Silent Hill Revelation with high expectations. I liked the original film for its having successfully captured the feel of the original games, even if it wasn't terribly accurate to the actual plot of the game. I wasn't too happy that they skipped adapting Silent Hill 2, but I'll take what I can get for SH adaptations. Although I felt I got my money's worth, I wasn't as mesmerized by the film as I thought I would.
Revelation's story is a mixed bag. The film is a bizarre hybrid of both the first movie's and the game's canon, but it does a good job of tying the various threads together into a coherent plot. If you liked the original film's straight-forward take on the cult of Silent Hill and Alessa, you'll like this one. It may be missing a lot of the subtlety, but the core story is still enjoyable. However, a large amount of the dialogue is really awkward and sometimes even wince-inducing. Tidying up the dialogue and making it feel more natural would have made a noticeable difference in the final film. Overall, the story and dialogue were better in the original movie.
If you're looking for a straight adaptation of Silent Hill 3, look elsewhere. Characters have their personality and role shifted, plot twists are removed and added, and there are a whole lot of "Wait, that never happened in the game!" moments. I would describe this film as being "inspired" by the original game, as it really only covers the most important details of the original plot. However, there are a lot of clever references to the original game and to entries throughout the series that will doubtlessly please the Silent Hill addict.
Silent Hill Revelations carries over a flaw from the original in that it is absolutely obsessed with the black magic and demonic side of Silent Hill and downplays the psychological and surreal elements of the original games. The dream-like feeling that the original games inspired in players is mostly gone, even more-so than the first. However, this does in some ways create a more exciting film and lends itself well to some visceral chase sequences and graphic fights with the monsters of everyone's favorite hell-hole.
However, many of these changes are understandable. The original game thrived on atmosphere and bombarded the player with cryptic notes and bizarre occurrences as they solved puzzles and fought monsters. Film is a very different medium from video-games, so logically a lot of things had to be changed to create a story that would fit the pacing of a film. As a result, I don't have too many hard feelings about the changes made to the story.
The acting side of things is fairly positive. Adelaide Clemens does a fantastic job as Heather. She looks exactly like Heather did in the game and delivers a performance that makes Heather into a much more likable character. Sean Bean gives a decent but underutilized performance as Harry. Kit Harington is by far the weakest link in the cast in his awkward portrayal of a high-school aged Vincent. The rest of the cast give decent, if not extraordinary performances.
Visually, the film is better than you'd expect. They slashed the budget to less than half of the original's, but the film still looks pretty good. Monster costuming is phenomenal just like the first. The cinematography is fairly good and does a good job of drawing you into the film, even if the first film was better in this regard. The more large-scale visual effects and a few of the monsters are obviously CGI, but it's not too distracting.
The 3D in the film is alright, but not necessary by any means. There's some decent depth, a few cool pop-out moments, and overall it improves the look of the film, but it's hardly revolutionary. Although it is a cash-in, I respect the fact that they went to the trouble to film it in 3D instead of using a post-production job. If you decide to see this film, I'd recommend shelling out the extra few bucks to see it in 3D, as I feel it earns the up-charge.
If you liked the first film, I'd definitely recommend this film. If you're in the market for an entertaining horror film this Halloween, there are worse ways to spend your money. Silent Hill fans will have fun, as long as they aren't too picky over the particulars of the original plot. If you were displeased by the original or perhaps haven't even seen it, I'd advise passing on this one, but for everyone else I'd give this film a thumbs up.
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