Unpopular opinion time: I thoroughly enjoyed Silent Hill Revelation, to the point where I can’t think of a single moment that I actually thought “Why did I come see this movie?” Granted, the first one was scarier, even in terms of monster design, the Janitor in particular still gives me nightmares. Could Revelation have been more frightening? Yes. Could it have benefited from a more cohesive plot? Probably. Should Kit Harington have been shirtless in it more? Definitely. However, find me a movie that everyone everywhere agrees is the perfect movie without a single flaw and everyone enjoys it, and I will find you the fountain of youth. The movie we’re left with is a coming of age story set in horrorville. Was the conjoining a bit jarring at times? Yes. I remember sitting there wondering when romance subplots became standard for horror movies. Time for another unpopular opinion. I liked the romance subplot. It fit rather well with Heather‘s journey of self-discovery.
For as long as she can remember, Heather (Adelaide Clemens) and her father (Sean Bean) have been on the run. They constantly move from town to town, their names are always changing, and this is the fifth school she’s been to. Heather recently has been plagued by nightmares of a Hellish town, nightmares that are starting to bleed into her reality. When she arrives at her latest school, she meets other new student Vincent (Kit Harington), who does his best to be her friend even though she does her best to ignore him. As she goes home, she sees someone watching her and goes to the mall to try to lose him. The man in question is Douglas, a detective who was hired to find Heather and give her location to the cult in Silent Hill. Before she can get any real answers out of him, he’s brutally murdered. Vincent walks her home, where they discover her father has been kidnapped, and she’s received a personal invitation to go to Silent Hill.
The rest of the movie plays out much like a video game. Or any other horror movie I’ve seen in recent years like Saw or Die or most shark movies. Heather goes from deadly encounter to deadly encounter without much rhyme or reason as she tries to discover where the cult has taken her father. Along the way, perhaps the most dangerous thing she will encounter is her own self.
The rest of the review will contain spoilers for the movie.
People have claimed that this movie lacks a psychological aspect, but it’s there and its not really all that hidden. Heather is an orphan, whose adopted mother left her at some point along the way. Now, whether or not you want to believe her mother was taken by the cult or if you want to Shattered Memories this movie, the fact remains that her mother is out of her life. Most children whose parents have been divorced or who just don’t have parents feel at some point that it’s their fault, that there’s something intrinsically dark about them that drives people away, that they’ll never find friends or that they’ll never actually be loved. How much this affects the child differs, but most children who have had a parent leave have probably wondered at some point whether or not it was their fault. There is always the possibility that Harry doesn’t really exist, that Heather has been in the foster system the entire time and Harry is just the idea of what she thinks the perfect father should be. Or perhaps he was a culmination of all the good qualities in the fathers she has had.
When Heather gives her opening speech at school, she refuses to become friends with any of them. After all, why would you try to make friends when you’re just going to have to redefine your life in a few months anyway? In fact, one of the most intelligent lines in the movie is her “Fuck Facebook.” An endless stream of friends who don’t really care about your status updates and only friended you to prove they have the most friends means nothing to a girl who is just looking for something real.
It’s no coincidence that the movie starts on Heather’s 18th birthday. For a girl like Heather, reality is constantly changing. When you reach adulthood and you have no idea who you are, the real world can be quite the terrifying place. Silent Hill forces Heather to acknowledge the parts of herself that she would rather not think about. My friend commented on the red high heel in the hotel room. Not only is it a callback to one of the puzzles in the game, but it also serves as a reference to “The Wizard of Oz,” where Dorothy had to undergo a journey of self-discovery before she was allowed to go home. The Mannequin monster might not have been terrifying to someone ignoring the psychological themes, but I’m willing to bet that monster had five heads, one for each life she’s had to live. It’s representative of the fakeness of her own reality. She cannot escape this nightmare until she learns to embrace herself, including the darkness within her.
Detractors that are fans of the games complain about Pyramid Head‘s inclusion. Yes, Pyramid Head was originally meant to serve as representation of James’ guilt. But, Konami realized something important. Pyramid Head is terrifying. So they adapted his role to fit a greater number of things, so they could continue to use him in more games/movies. That’s what people do. We adapt to the situations around us in order to survive.
If you’re a fan of the games and you haven’t seen it because of Pyramid Head, I don’t think you’re a fan of the games, you’re just a fan of Silent Hill 2. Overall, while it might not have been perfect, it was still entertaining, and should make for some pretty awesome gifs.