Tempest’s Downpour – Preemptive Silent Hill: Revelation 3D Review

Posted on Aug 05 2012

There’s been a lot of hype over the new Silent Hill film. That’s all for good reason: it’s been almost ten years since Silent Hill 3 graced our Playstation 2 systems and now it’s getting a movie adaptation. They didn’t shirk on the budget either – because it’s in glorious threeeee-deeeeee. Oooooh.

Before I begin, I will gladly point out that 3-D is a terrible waste of money and in no way enhances the cinematographic experience. That’s why 3-D TVs aren’t selling well, and why the 3-DS undersold so terribly that Nintendo had to embarrassingly slice the price in half mere months after the system’s modest debut.

For some reason, movies seem to think that they have to have 3-D releases in order to sell when, in reality, at least 10% of the population suffers headaches at the expense of this costly viewing endeavor. Hell, they’ve invented 2-D/3-D glasses for people who want to undo the special effect in order to enjoy the movie without the migraine. Isn’t that rather backwards?

A model of 3-D glasses versus the 2-D/3-D glasses.

Anyway, there’s nothing scarier than terrible special effects, so this movie promises to be a terror.

What the first Silent Hill film did right – a list shorter than what it did wrong – is that the monsters were real. These were real acrobats, contortionists and stilt-walkers in creepy skin-suits and they were HORRIFYING. The crappy CGI effects were saved for instances where recent computer technology holds strong: fake fire, walls turning rusty and blood-colored before the viewers’ eyes, and a little oomph of creepy aura around the creepy little girl.

What the trailer for the new film already shows me is that they seem to think creepy-crawly CGI monsters are… creepy… and crawly. They are not. They are ridiculous.

Let me put it to you this way: there hasn’t been a scary CGI monster in a live-action film since Jurassic Park. That movie is 20 years old and it was the first film to use computer-generated graphics in that capacity.

From the original Silent Hill film: dummy feet are affixed to the actor’s head, while the lower half of his body is green-screened.

The monsters moved so realistically because they were controlled by stop-motion animators. (Seriously, watch the making of Jurassic Park – it is possibly the coolest thing ever.) Since then, companies like Pixar have greatly improved computer graphics – they can animate detailed hair down to the follicle. But for some reason, nobody has managed to make CGI creatures move realistically in a real-life setting.

But Tempest, I hear you say, the Silent Hill games were entirely computer graphics and those monsters were scary. You are absolutely right. Part of that is because all of Silent Hill is entirely CGI. We’re immersed in a computer-animated realm, and so the unrealistic computer graphics start to take on a realistic edge. Computer-generated graphics look great against a computer-generated backdrop, but not against real-life scenery. The other reason the CGI of the games works well is because the Silent Hill series was one of the first to use motion capture. It hired real actors to make real movements, and the animators drew the monsters on top of them.

If this new Silent Hill film were entirely computer-generated, which isn’t impossible – look at Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within – then computer-generated monsters might be scary. Sadly, that is not the case. This film has real-life actors in a real-life backdrop in a realistic setting. CGI does not mesh with this at all. No excuses.

Now, that isn’t the case with all the monsters. Pyramid Head and the Sexy Nurses make their grand return. Why? Nobody knows!

Pyramid Head and the Sexy Nurses originated in Silent Hill 2. They came to life due to the twisting nature of James’ psyche. They have no business running around in another Silent Hill film – especially not the first one.

Grotesquely beautiful, these monsters belong in a Silent Hill 2 adaptation.

If Hollywood wants to make an adaptation that features Pyramid Head and the Sexy Nurses, then Hollywood ought to adapt Silent Hill 2 into a film – it was the strongest game of the series, after all.

However, this movie is doing some things right, like bringing back the same actress to play Dahlia Gillespie. That gives us a sense of continuity, even though the first Silent Hill film made it impossible to have any continuity while remaining faithful to the game. (Harry Mason as a woman? Trapped-in-otherworld ending? I don’t even…)

They got Akira Yamaoka, Silent Hill’s incredibly talented composer, to do the music for the film. The movie also asked for Masahiro Ito, monster designer of the games, to help out, though he declined – hey, at least they tried.

They even took pains to make an outfit similar to the iconic design of the one Heather wears in the game.

Sean Bean is reprising his role as Harry – if it had Sean Bean playing Heather, it would still be a quality movie. Meanwhile, Adelaide Clemens looks remarkably like Heather and has a rather extensive acting history, so that’s something to look forward to.

All in all, don’t get your hopes up for this film. If you’re looking for something halfway decent that will probably dissolve into narm, this is the movie of choice. If you crave a decent game-to-film adaptation, try greener pastures.

Despite the previous film’s confusing ending, it seems they’re attempting continuity with this sequel.

What will make this movie flop:

  • Threeee-deeeeeeee.
  • CGI Monsters that look and move as unrealistically as the trailer shows.
  • Too-strong a concentration on the silly religious cult.
  • Jump scares rather than creeping psychological horror.

What would improve this movie ten-fold:

  • Sean Bean as Heather – seriously. Quality film right there.
  • As many humans in monster suits as is feasibly possible.
  • Since Pyramid Head and the Sexy Nurses are already showing up, throw James in as a cameo.
  • Make the Magical Girl and UFO endings cannon.
  • Blooper reel.

Comments? Questions? Speak-a to me below.

You Might Also Like...

  • You must be logged in to comment. Log in