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With previous Silent Hill director Christophe Gans and writer Roger Avary unable to commit to a sequel, the job went to British director Michael J. Bassett. The main difference between the two films is that while Silent Hill completely ceases to make sense by the third act, Silent Hill: Revelation forgoes making sense right from the start.
I'm not sure why so many videogame movie writers/directors seem to think that confusing the audience is good storytelling. Did they watch Pulp Fiction and the only lesson they took away is that telling things out of order is cool? If telling things out of order keeps us from knowing what is motivating the characters actions, then we're less likely to care about the characters. So why do so many of these directors try to keep motivations from us?
Silent Hill: Revelation might not be as aggravating as a first viewing of Resident Evil, but it's often just as confusing.
Sean Bean returns as Sharon's father, only now he has a blonde daughter named Heather. Eventually they reveal via exposition that Heather is actually Sharon (with dyed hair), and they've both been going by different names and moving to different cities because they're on the run. From what, and why? And where is Sharon/Heather's mom Rose, and how did Heather get out of Silent Hill?
Only after confusing us do they reveal via flashback exposition that Rose found a thing that allowed them to leave Silent Hill, but it'd only allow one of them to go. But luckily Rose found a way to communicate with Sean Bean via a mirror so that this information could be delivered via exposition rather than an intro scene that would actually show them finding the thing and sending Sharon/Heather back. Because it's not like the #1 rule of visual storytelling isn't "show, don't tell."
It turns out Heather remembers nothing from the first movie, so when she suddenly starts seeing monsters again, she begins to wonder if she's going crazy. Also, a detective has also been following her. When she finally confronts the detective, he explains that he was originally hired by the cult from the first movie, but now he realizes they're bad and he wants to help her. He wants to tell Heather who she really is.
So wait a second. Not only is the cult who all died in the last movie still alive, but they're somehow able to gather the resources necessary to hire a detective. And on top of that, Heather's dad has refused to tell her anything about her past, because it's not like that kind of knowledge would be helpful or anything.
But before the detective can get his exposition on, a monster kills him. Monsters from Silent Hill are now randomly able to enter the physical realm. For some reason she then decides it'd be a good idea to leave her jacket there, which contains some identifying information, so that the police can find it and make her a suspect to the detective's murder.
She runs home, but monsters have kidnapped her father. She discovers a box assembled by her father, with a note that begins "if you are reading this, then something has happened to me." In the box is everything he's been keeping from her, because he thought it'd be a better idea to have her find out this way some day than having him explain it to her in person.
It's only at this point that we're finally told via letter exposition why they've been on the run: because her father killed one of the cult members who came into the physical realm to get to them. So they've been running not just from the police, but from the cult members. Heather's initial suspiciousness of the detective would've made a lot more sense if we'd been told they were on the run from the police beforehand, rather than after the detective was dead.
Also in the box is a medallion that doesn't resemble anything that even vaguely looks like a key, naturally leading Heather to exclaim: "It's a key! But what does it open?"
Heather decides the only thing to do is to go to Silent Hill and rescue her father. But a boy from school she's warmed to tells her this is a bad idea. He reveals via exposition that he's actually the son of the cult leader -- and shows off the large scar required to entire the physical realm -- but now that he's gotten to know her, he suddenly realizes she's good and doesn't want her to get hurt.
She goes anyways, of course. By now it's halfway into the movie, and she finally arrives at Silent Hill, where the first person she meets is Alessa's mom. For five minutes, Alessa's mom recaps the first movie to Heather via exposition, with occasional flashes to scenes from the first movie like a clip show. A clip show recap halfway into the movie. Right where recaps should be.
The second half of the movie is about bad things happening in Silent Hill. Anytime Heather is in too much trouble, Pyramid Head comes to rescue her and then leaves again, like Gandalf in The Hobbit.
Heather meets a new friend with little introduction, who then dies two minutes later. Maybe this was an attempt to subvert the expendable character trope, by demonstrating how to do it with the least amount of audience attachment to the character possible?
Eventually Heather meets Dark Alessa. Except...wait, didn't Alessa combine with Sharon at the end of the first movie? So how did they get separated again? And what is normal Sharon up to? And why is the cult still alive and roaming around Silent Hill again?
And what is Dark Alessa's motivation this time? She says that Heather was supposed to lead the good life that Alessa wanted to live, but then she grabs Heather -- in a manner that looks almost like a hug -- and begins trying to absorb her or something. Heather figures the only thing to do is hug her bag, and things break out into an intense hug battle with dramatic music. Being that Alessa admits she's constructed of pure evil, the hug must have been too much for her, and Heather defeats her.
Did I mention that this scene takes place on a carousel that was being run by Pyramid Head just a moment earlier?
Heather finds her father being held by the cult leader, and uses the "key" to transform the cult leader into a monster version of herself. Pyramid Head then arrives to defeat her in a Resident Evil style fight sequence.
Afterwards, Heather walks out of Silent Hill with her dad and the reformed cult boy. But her dad stops and says he has to head back to find Rose. But he wants Heather to go on without him, because he's an idiot and Heather being there would probably make it too easy. Heather and cult boy are picked up by a truck drive from one of the games, and then a series of police cars drive into Silent Hill without explanation. The end.
And now that I've seen every theatrically released videogame movie adaptation ever made, I have no desire to watch another one ever again. Check back tomorrow for my summary of 31/31: The Movie.