Hall of Fame Speech #23: Silent Hill: Revelation

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our fifth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. At the time these films are inducted it will be officially 10 years since we started BMT! That’s absurd. But as is typical there will be films we watch five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the eighth (tenth?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. You know, now that I think about it, Silent Hill: Revelations is pretty close to Here on Earth. Just replace Kelley with Kit and Samantha with Adelaide. Then all you need is Pyramid Head as our Jasper and it’s basically the same movie. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Silent Hill: Revelation

Way back when, Patrick and I ended up together at a conference on Halloween as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy ripped through Pittsburgh… now that’s a setting worthy of a BMT film! We couldn’t let such a fortuitous occurrence pass us by so we obviously caught a taxi to the nearest showing of Silent Hill: Revelation tout de suite. It was a sequel to a film we had never seen, but back then that really didn’t stop us. When we arrived at the theater we were horrified not by the horror film we were promised, but rather that the doors of the theater were locked. A teenage tickettaker came to the door to let us know that since it was Halloween and a hurricane was rolling through they decided to close early! The hooligans! Probably had plans to do some underage drinking at our expense. Dismayed we found our way to a smoke-filled locals bar and crushed a couple Iron City Lights while watching Halloween 4 on mute. It was a night to remember and it took us almost three years after that to finally watch the film and realize what a theatrical experience we missed. Gah! Kids these days. 

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • Uh, the above story will live forever in my dreams and my nightmares. The greatest thing about it is just how specific it is to a particular time. Halloween, Hurricane Sandy, Silent Hill: Revelation. It’s really in itself an A+ setting BMT experience. I will treasure it always.
  • The visuals are nothing short of laughable. When I finally did settle down to watch the film in 2015 I think I probably went into it fearing it would be boring… basically not crazy in that Wicker Man kind of way to have significant BMT legs. I was kinda right and wrong. The film is certainly not crazy, but it’s also not boring because the visual effects, both practical and computer generated, are so laughable that I couldn’t believe my eyes. One second you are staring at a man wrapped in cellophane while a pyramid-headed monster in a latex bodysuit turns a carousel, the next second the world melts in a CGI mess made for the late stages of the 3D film boom. It’s like they couldn’t decide whether to make terrible practical or CGI effects so they said why not both?
  • There was something about Pyramid Head, the recurring demon from the video game series… but I honestly can’t remember. There was something about him that we loved and made us scream “Pyramid Head!” while we watched the film… oh well, guess I’ll find out on the rewatch.
  • Really the only other thing I remember is that this was peak BMT Kit Harington. We had already partook in his star turn in Pompeii as a BMT Live! Then we basically watched this and Seventh Son back-to-back the next year. Man, if we had seen our boy Kit on the big screen in 2012 who knows how different our lives could have been.

Now one would think that the Great Silent Hill Revelation Adventure of 2012 starring Halloween and Hurricane Sandy would be the most important thing about this film, but really I think it is the visuals. The reason being is that I think the visuals help tell a story of how this became a somewhat unique and singular BMT horror experience (and not just a story that ends with us crushing Iron City Lights). You have to remember where this film fits in the history of the 3D filmmaking fad. We are basically just at saturation and along comes an exposition heavy, video game horror film (already behind the 8 ball when it comes to the scares) and they pop that visual gimmick right on top of it for no reason. No wonder it comes off like a not scary cheesefest. It… looks… ridiculous. And thinking about it, that’s not as common as you’d think for our BMT horror films. Sure you might have your late Hellraisers that start to look a little funky, but in large part horror films are made on shoestring budgets and lean more on atmosphere, jump scares, and gore than visual pizzazz. Leave that to fantasy films… and that’s what really sets it apart: they never seemed to realize they were making a horror film. As a result you actively laugh at it. It is literally never scary.

How did the rewatch go? Pretty much as great as I expected. Everything I remembered was accurate (minus the smoke filled bar on the outskirts of Pittsburgh). This is one of the least scary horror films in history (depending on whether you think Lawnmower Man 2 is a horror film) and it boils down to the effects. In a hilarious turn, Pyramid Head plays the Rexy to Silent Hill’s Jurassic Park and against all odds becomes the demonic protector/hero of the film. Pyramid Head!!!! But I do think there are several things I forgot from that first experience. In particular, the accents, which are off the hook, and just how close this got to straight-to-video territory. Let’s get into it.

Everyone in this film is American… you can be forgiven for forgetting that as we have an Australian actress and two Brits filling out the top three roles and their accents range from “is she Australian?” to “did Kit Harington spring fully formed from the grounds of Eton never before having heard an American talk?”. I can forgive Adelaide Clemens and Sean Bean to some extent. Their accents are bad but seriously they ain’t got shit on what Kit Harington pulls out. It seems to be some modern twist on the transatlantic accent. By the middle of the film when it is finally revealed that he grew up in Silent Hill your brain can at least rationalize what you are hearing as some West Virginia dialect that exists only in Silent Hill. Saved by the twist, Kit, and the fact that they cast noted thespian Malcolm McDowell as your grand papa.

Speaking of McDowell, there is a moment when Sharon first gets to Silent Hill where they start churning through some exposition where I thought, hmmm, you know what? This story isn’t half bad. It’s a mix of a chosen one prophecy/rosemary’s baby type thing and, while not scary in the least bit, it’s a little interesting. Then they had a visually pleasing demonic nurse scene and I was starting to be like, wait, did I misremember how bad this movie is? But then enter Malcolm McDowell. The man of a thousand straight-to-video releases, who never saw a script he said no to, crashes into this film like a Malcolm McDowell in a china shop. Basically from that point on they may as well have already thrown the film into the bargain bin. 

So let’s summarize. We have a totally not scary horror film filled with terrible accents by actors young and old. The mishmash of visual effects and poor 3D rendering make every second a laughfest, while Malcolm McDowell hams it up in a scene he could have shot in four hours. And in a beautiful climax Pyramid Head plays the Rexy to our Jurassic Park(s) and lops off everyone’s heads to save the day… but other than that, pretty good. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Silent Hill: Revelation.

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