Back for round two, the Silent Hill film franchise still has a hard time making sense of its own world, but the good news for crummy-horror-movie fans is that there’s a whole lot more fun in this one since it’s dumber and shorter than the first entry. While the video games’ fans might appreciate the references to their beloved series, the theatrical crowd still doesn’t have a solid grasp on just what the hell is going on here. Revelation tries to curb this disconnect by explaining away the plot at every chance it gets, but it’s a lost cause. Thankfully, there are enough creepy monsters to provide some cool moments -- and at 94 minutes, it clocks in at just about the right time.
Detailing the plot might cause migraines, but here we go -- there’s an abandoned mining town, a cult, an Indian burial ground, an evil kid who wants revenge, an amulet, a bunch of townspeople who are trapped in a hellish ghost world, and a muscle dude with a pyramid head who sports a seven-foot sword. The lead character, Heather (Adelaide Clemens -- a dead ringer for Michelle Williams), is a high-school loner whom her father (Sean Bean) has been keeping in hiding ever since her mother (Radha Mitchell) saved her from being trapped in the aforementioned ghost world in the first film. When the cult kidnap her dad, Heather heads out to Silent Hill, a mysterious place that she’s been dreaming about, in order to save him.
Revelation has plenty of atmosphere, but it’s not fetishized as much as it was in the first installment. In fact, within the first 15 minutes there are monster clowns eating human-flesh hamburgers, if that gives you an idea of what you’re in for. The class level has certainly been lowered, which is bad for those looking for real scares, but good for viewers who crave a little cheese with their horror. While there are no frights to be had, there are a ton of under-your-skin, dime-store Jacob’s Ladder moments to keep things interesting. Clemens does a fine job and she’s certainly better than Bean, who doesn’t know exactly what accent he should be using. Despite the fact that it’s less ambitious than the bloated first entry, there does seem to be a little bit more entertainment value in this one, but that probably depends on what you want to get out of it. As it is, the finale pits a pyramid-headed dude against an ersatz cenobite -- that alone should be worth a matinee-priced ticket.
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