I remember 6, or maybe it was 7, years ago getting the first nugget of news of Silent Hill potentially becoming a movie with Brotherhood of the Wolf's director, Christophe Gans, directing and Roger Avery helping with the screenplay. Being the fangirl I was, I followed every single step of pre-production, filming, and production, building up anticipation. I even went so far as figuring out what movie in the theaters would be the first with the Silent Hill trailer on the reel, and went to go see it. (It was the 2nd Underworld movie if I recall, and I had already seen the Silent Hill trailer 1,000x on the internet, but wanted to see it on the big screen)
April 21st comes, and I go see it in theaters the Friday it comes out. I saw it several more times in theaters, and despite enjoying the movie overall, constantly started to nitpick things and find more and more things wrong with it. At the end of the day it was an enjoyable movie, and aesthetically gorgeous and wonderful in creating the environment of Silent Hill, but I felt like the middle of the movie suffered from having too many people running around screaming, and became too focused on the "Order". Nevermind the fact that the first and 3rd games that surround the storyline wanted Alessa/Heather/Cheryl for the birth of their god. NOT to burn her as a "witch" as the first movie seemed to focus on.
Its now 2012 and Silent Hill: Revelations has been out for a month. Even when I heard rumors and tidbits of people coming onto the project and leaving, I just had a total apathy towards the whole thing. I knew if I followed everything I would just build up anticipation in my head because I would WANT it to be good, but it just wouldn't be good. Nevermind that Silent Hill 3, the game the 2nd movie is based off of, is quite possibly one of the most important games when it comes to my love of survival horror. All because its the first Silent Hill game I was introduced to and it scared the pants off of me.
So I didn't seek out information, and skimmed any that I might've stumbled across. I was originally gun ho about seeing a midnight showing on Thursday/Friday opening night, but life happens, and the closer to the release date it got, the more apathetic I became. The trailer made it looked cheesy, I had no doubt in my mind that it would be silly and not capture the third game at all, and it just wasn't that important to me.
I go to see a matinee showing, and end up having to see it in 3D despite me being completely against what I find a gimmicky use of film, and prepared myself for a lot of eyerolling and being upset and mad. Imagine my surprise when I found myself NOT getting mad at the film every 5 minutes while watching it, and actually being tickled and enjoying the damn thing.
Yes I said it, and I realize its probably a very unpopular opinion among the fanatic Silent Hill community, especially pre-Homecoming fans like myself, but I'll say it again. I ENOYED SILENT HILL: REVELATIONS.
Now, that's not to say that it was a GOOD movie in the sense that Looper or Shutter Island or 28 Days Later are GOOD movies. There are a lot of flaws within this little Silent Hill film, and actually more than a few things that I still didn't enjoy. The film does a poor job of being able to stand on its own. The focus of the first movie was the mother(because according to Gans, Harry "acts like a mother would" in the games while searching for his lost child. Because, you know, god forbid a father gives a damn and is worried about their child) searching for her lost adopted child within Silent Hill, which the Order had kidnapped to bind back with Alessa so they could kill her because she was the source of the town's evil and put them in a living hell since they tried to burn her for a witch, or something.
I won't bore you with how much this differs from the first games. But needless the say the first and third games never deviated from the fact that Alessa's purpose was to be the mother of their god, Samael. In any event at first it seems like in SH: REVELATIONS they are luring Heather/Sharon back to Silent Hill so they can bind her back with Alessa so they can kill her and get out of their living hell. However halfway through the movie its revealed that the new leader of the cult, Claudia, actually wants Heather so they can give birth to their god.
Yes that's right, the new creators of the film tried to swing the storyline back on its RIGHTFUL track. The problem? It doesn't really make sense why Claudia wants this to happen, and the movie doesn't do a very good job of selling this sudden change in goal. As an avid player of the games, and a person with more than average knowledge of the lore of Silent Hill, I didn't need explanation. My brain went, FUCKING FINALLY, and was able to stop getting mad and arguing internally with the damned movie that it was being stupid and ruining things.
The movie did suffer from a few cheap "BOO" moments and specific "3D shots" that I find ridiculous. However, overall, it had a creepy eery feel, Heather was ALONE most of her journey, and it including a few key scenes from the 3rd game. Mannequin room anyone? That room scared the shit out of me in the games, and while the movie wasn't exactly the same, they HAD a mannequin room, which just told me the creators at least somewhat understood the game.
I was also worried about the change of Vincent from being a slightly older man Heather comes across in Silent Hill in the games to a boy the same age as Heather. While the forced romance between the two was "meh" for me, his essential role in Heather's journey was more or less the same. Or maybe I just have a soft spot for Kit Harrington since he plays Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, and I feel bad that he's being given butchered versions of the characters he play. (TV!Jon Snow is a rant for a different day)
Probably the biggest reason I was able to enjoy SH: REVELATIONS, and admitably its not a very good reason, is the nod to fans of the game series throughout the movie. In the beginning of the movie Sean Bean's character and Heather are discussing how they're changing names. Sean Bean's character has changed his name to Harry to hide from the cops, Heather was originally Sharon, then Cheryl in the last town, and now Heather. Heather comments that they're still the same person despite the changes in names, what I found was an acknowledgment to fan complaints about the name changes in the first movie.
There is also HUGE fan wank at the end. Not a complete homage to Silent Hill 2 but something that could allude to it happens at the end. As well as the fact that Heather gets picked up by a semi truck driver named Travis, who says he was at the town years ago(a nod to Origins) and while they drive away there's a prison bus being escorted by police cars going TO Silent Hill (a nod to Downpour)
Again somewhat cheesy, and completely fanwanky, but it tickled the ever living hell out of me. Maybe it helps that Silent Hill 3, in all its gore, creepy atmosphere, and craziness, is a game that's fun at the heart of it. Heather is quite possibly the best female video game character created 'thus far, in that she's tough, real, and completely sarcastic in reaction to the odd things she comes across. The game also goes through periods of showing that its not trying to take itself TOO seriously, what with the puking of fetuses, and someone else shoving it down their throat so the god can still be born. (Sadly this scene did not make it into the movie)
I don't expect that this movie will be popular among the masses, or even the Silent Hill community. Hell I will readily admit that the first Silent Hill movie, despite all its adaptation flaws, was a more intelligent movie and overall done better. But SH: Revelations is a fun romp through the town, and did a fairly good job of recreating Heather's journey through the town and finding herself. It could definitely be told better, and could have been done better. But I was expecting a complete mess of a movie, and was given something slightly above mediocre.