There are a certain two digits that, when added to movie posters, really set the alarm bells ringing as far as I am concerned. I am not talking about a ‘1’ and an ‘8’ inducing the terrors of the BBFC. I am talking about the dreaded ‘3D’ moniker! Don’t get me wrong, it was only last summer that I ploughed the my Friday the 13th box set while donning the supplied cardboard red and blue lenses for the hockey masked third instalment. But modern 3d horror, recently culminating in the downright insult to horror fans with the debacle that was TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, seem to rely a little too heavily on the visual gimmick. (I swear if I ever get a screener of that abomination of a movie there will be no more Mr Fuckin’ Nice Guy I can assure you. I dare you Al.... I double dare you!)

In this case however, we are talking about a sequel to a movie called SILENT HILL which, before leaping off the hard drive onto the silver screen, started off life as a ‘survival horror’ video game from Japanese gaming heavyweights Konami.

Maybe then, considering the picture’s contemporary beginnings, it is possibly more justified to at least accept its obtruding dimension, if not embrace it.

The narrative adopted by writer and director Michael J Basset for SILENT HILL REVELATION 3D loosely adopts the one told in the 3rd instalment in the series of original games (there are actually 9 so brace yourself for another franchise despite there being 6 years between the original movie and its sequel).

Rather annoyingly, when inserting the DVD (the Blu-ray has no such hindrances) we are forced to watch three trailers from Lionsgate. The first was last year’s CABIN IN THE WOODS. The last being THE POSSESSION, but the middle was that aforementioned scandalous pile of rotting turd vomit glazed with snot and reeking of piss, TC3D. Eventually I found my way to the PLAY MOVIE option; calmed down a little and gently pressed ‘enter’ on my remote control…

Sean Bean returns from the first movie playing the same character, Christopher Da Silva, although in this one he is called ‘Harry’. One thing that has stayed the same though is his rather bizarre accent. Seemingly caught in the void between Sheffield and Canada, I guess the weird twang in his husky whispered voice is best described as Yorkshadian! Anyway, the reason for the modification to his title is the fact that he and his daughter Sharon, now called Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens), are essentially fugitives on the run. They hop and skip from town to town and school to school as a result of Harry’s rather overzealous confrontation with an apparent burglar. But unbeknown to Heather, this was no mere intruder. He was an agent from that ‘crazy doomsday cult’ called Valtiel, the extremist religious order from a certain dimension shifting town swathed in ashes called Silent Hill.

It appears Sharon / Heather is vital to the sect and they will stop at nothing to capture her. Of course the young girl is in somewhat of an amnesic state of mind and is seemingly unaware that her mother Rose used half of a special amulet to free her daughter but herself now remains fatefully trapped in the malevolent boundaries of Silent Hill. (See first movie for details!)

Heather starts a new school and is subject to the usual bitchiness of her peers, plus a few weird hallucinations of the mysterious ash laden town, but she does at least find a seemingly genuine outlet in another new student called Vincent (Kit Harington). The story picks up when Heather is approached by a Private Investigator, Douglas Cartland (Martin Donovan), who seems intent on enquiring as to her real identity.

As she starts to bond with Vincent, rather than talk about Facebook, the pair converse about the nature of reality (as you do!). This in turn entices Vincent to talk about his insane grandfather Leonard (Malcolm McDowell) who it seems is somewhat of an expert on these matters. (What a stroke of luck!)

With Carters pursuit intensifying, Heather learns what the seemingly innocuous Vincent’s REAL aspirations are and that they are in keeping with the cult’s heinous plan to incarcerate her. She has no option but to re-enter the hallucinogenic confines of Silent Hill where the challenge of emancipating her family and discovering who she REALLY is awaits her...

Perhaps fuelled by the fact I only had two dimensional copies of the movie, some of its short comings were laid bare. Exposed was the rather elaborate plot which over ambitiously twisted and turned incessantly and left me in a state of bafflement at times.

Some glaring flaws in the characters also hampered the tale. Vincent, for example, is supposedly raised by the religious Cult of Valiel, whose hierarchy make Al Qaeda look like a bunch of zonked out hippies at Woodstock. Yet despite being brainwashed with fear from birth with the cult’s belief system, a mere afternoon spent chatting with Heather was all it needed for him to rebel against his indoctrination. I mean at least chuck in a blow job or something to make it a little more plausible!

Then there is the cameo king himself, Malcolm McDowell, as the crazy as horse meat shit Leonard. I admire the effort he put into his ‘role’ but even MM couldn’t do much with the positively lame dialogue, and as such, his fleeting appearance was rather pointless in my mind.

But rather then dwell on these failings, it’s worth remembering that Basset’s original intention was to create a unique viewing experience intended to be a step beyond the usual 3d horror fare. I think it’s fair to hazard a guess that indulging in SHR3D on an IMAX screen for example, would be far more effective then viewing it on a modest home cinema set up, regardless of any protruding effects gracing the disc.

There are some imaginative creatures throughout including those hideous faceless nurses and one that, due to its digitized animation, would probably look outstanding in 3d. I am referring to the grotesque mannequin being which, along with its beastly peers, didn’t miss an opportunity to jut out toward the viewer.

The movie had distinct balance of fantasy and horror. One minute lopped off limbs meant illusionary blood splattered the screen, while at others, terminations reduced the creatures to clouds of dust. The latter was very reminiscent of THE MUMMY and its sequels from what I could fathom. Further depth, however, was cleverly added to the visual experience with the continual descent of ash at Silent Hill and various CG transformations of the ‘bad guys’.

In the final 15 minutes or so, the optical effects went into overdrive a little with swords appearing to have an almost magnetic pull to the camera if their frequent thrusting toward the lens was anything to go by!

Even in 2d, the picture quality of the DVD was stunning. The Blu-ray enhanced these standards even further with its sharpness, but what was quite notable, apart from the sudden loud jumps, was just how flat the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio sounded. I couldn’t help but feel that, considering the emphasis was on special effects, just how bland the sound-scape was.

One thing that was definitely honed in SHR from the original was the run time. Clocking in at a more sensible 90 minutes, this was a lot more palatable than its predecessor that weighed in just short of 2 hours.

Onto the discs ‘Extras’ and the DVD and Blu-ray both differed slightly in this respect although both contained a feature length audio commentary track by the movies architect, Michael J Basset, as the centrepiece. The English screenwriter and director had an appealing droll style which was far more engaging then I expected. Not only did he cover every technical aspect of the movie (paying a huge amount of attention to the 3D element) but he was refreshingly candid as well. Accepting SILENT HILL REVELATION 3D initially received a ‘mixed’ reception, he is honest enough to address viewers who loved the movie by offering detailed background info as well as offer his ‘excuses’ for the people who hated it. I can’t help but respect sincerity like that!

The other ‘Bonus Material’ on the DVD sounded intriguing but three separate chapters; "The Creatures of Silent Hill", "The Cast" and "Making Silent Hill in 3D" totalled a rather paltry 6 minutes or so and didn’t add any real value to the disc.

"Universal Attraction: A Halloween Horror Night" weighed in at nearly 5 minutes but played out like a promotion of the American amusement park’s annual Comic-Con sponsored shindig. Finally there are some "Deleted Scenes" (11mins 42s) with optional audio commentary again by Basset and the obligatory "Trailer" from the movie.

The Blu-ray copy I had carried over the Trailer, Deleted Scenes and Universal skit but omitted the initial three extras. It did however have a couple of unique additions; An "introduction" by Basset (46seconds) and a more beefed out 45 minute "Making Of" documentary that interviewed the movies cast, producers and took us to the movies set. I can’t confirm either way as to whether these differences mirror the actual respective retail discs but the Blu-ray won hands down in the Bonus Material stakes from what I could see. The fact it didn’t shove that pus awful TC3D trailer down my throat either also helped! Talking of retail options, I understand there are 4 in total: The 2d Blu-ray, the 3d Blu-ray, the 2d DVD and finally a Steelbook option which has both Blu-ray and DVD within.

Connoisseurs of video game horror may well find this an essential purchase. But for the rest of us, its debut on domestic disc possibly will not be able to live up to its multidimensional strengths and, as such, will ultimately disappoint.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment UK Ltd
Region B
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review