Silent Hill is a confusing place. In fact, the confusion, the chaos, the unpredictability of it has always added another dimension to its terror. Silent Hill, after all, is a hell that takes its prisoners through a multitude of sufferings both of the flesh, and of the mind. When you try and roadmap the pain, when you try and catalog the tormentors, Silent Hill loses a little bit of that chaotic randomness that makes the trip so unpleasant, and ultimately, so effective. This is the major problem, among a multitude of others, that bring Christophe Gans‘ original vision to a dull and horribly uninspired conclusion in this, the second entry in the series.
In fact, it is evident from the first frames of the sequel that Gans’ voice is absent here. Gone is the gloomy unsettling atmosphere of the first film. Gone too is the attempt to build atmosphere at all. The second film abandons any attempts to disturb the viewer and instead tries to weave a narrative that is not only lackluster, but negates much of the crux of the story of the first film in an attempt to link the two together out of some misguided necessity.
The second film opens with Sean Bean (the father from the first film) and the now teenage Heather/Alessa ( Adelaide Clemmens) on the run as Alessa is returned to our world from the horrific prison of Silent Hill, only to be pursued by the religious zealots/ cultists of the first film. Why? Well, apparently the cultists believe their salvation rests in Alessa’s destruction. This is the crux of the second film and the mysterious disturbing atrocities that comprised the denizens of the hellish world introduced to us in the first film serve more as set pieces here, rarely showing any more substance than to segue into the next vapid, unnecessary fx shot propelled forward by an even more mediocre script.
Unfortunately, unnecessary is the name of the game with Director Michael Basset’s interpretation of the celebrated video game world of Silent Hill. Nothing seems to have weight here and the contrived and often times silly story renders its characters as one dimensional plot devices that are as formulaic as the end goal of the picture. We simply don’t care about Alessa and her struggles. she no longer has the endearing yet haunting naïveté of the child of the first film and the attempt to paint her as a jaded nomadic road tough teen just comes across as laughable. Sean Bean is as wasted as an actor of his caliber can be in a picture such as this and Malcolm McDowell plays a character so cartoonish in ambition and demeanor that any steam the film might have had sputters to a dead stop as soon as he enters frame.
Silent Hill is a landscape populated with fear and madness and insanity is in every breath you draw from the very air while you are there. Where the cultists tried in vain to push back that madness in a desperate struggle to cling to some kind of existence in the original, they manipulate their world now, seemingly controlling the elements, which devalues the very purpose of the universe here itself. This bizarre idea of order to the events and horrors in Revelation leaves the film feeling less like the video game that inspired it and more like its official strategy guide. Well, I for one was more than happy to push eject on this one. Game over.