Sunday, 29 June 2014

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

"Burn the witch."

As per this film's predecessor, I ought to make the point that I know sod all about any of the computer games. Nevertheless, this is even better than Silent Hill, and bloody scary to boot. I understand the critics don't like it, but then they know the game (Silent Hill 3, my wife tells me); I suspect that's why. My wife, incidentally, is playing the game as I type. I've promised to protect her from the monsters.

Yes, there's a plot and yes, it works fine, but this film is all about the scary imagery and set pieces and that's what I plan to focus on. If you haven't seen the film, look away now.

It's a very nightmarish film, hence the narrative style, and so of course we begin with a dream sequence in which Heather (as she's now calling herself), the daughter from the previous film, sees images of Pyramid Head and other delights and is ominously warned to stay away from a certain West Virginia town called Silent Hill.

I like Heather's little speech in class; she moves around, won't be around long, and there's little point in the other students getting to know her. We quickly get a sequence of scary kids, reminding me a little of Village of the Damned. But we soon shift to a dream sequence and, after sequences introducing fellow student Vincent, with whom she muses philosophically on dreams vs. reality, reflecting exactly how the film is narratively structured, and a mysterious detective called Douglas Cartland, who promptly dies. Several delightfully unnerving dream sequences later, the action finally shifts to Silent Hill itself. The direction is already superb.

Having learned the backstory- fire burning underground, religious zealots etc- Heather, alongside Vincent, gains a McGuffin, loses both Vincent and her Dad as hostages, and gets some expository guff about how she's the only good part of Alessa's soul. More interestingly, we get a deeply scary scenes with shop window dummies which I very much hope strongly influences any future appearance of the Autons in Doctor Who. The plastic mannequin spider in the middle of its web is amazing. This is by far the highlight of the film.

Of course, we get scenes of Pyramid Head chopping off prisoners' hands, and we get to see the dilapidated amusement park again as the denouement plays out. The film ends very abruptly, it must be said, and I'm not sure a happy ending could ever have satisfied, but I very much enjoyed this film.

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