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Don’t go to Silent Hill

Our heroine in this latest instalment of the gameturned- movie ‘Silent Hill gets a grim warning much like the above review title half an hour into the film; by the end she’ll wish that she’d listened.

Half an hour into this film I wish I’d been given an identical warning as the sequel to the 2006 adaptation comes into cinemas, taking advantage of 3D advancements in order to try and bring the film to life.

A few years on from the original film, Heather (Adelaide Clemens) and her father (Sean Bean) are on the run from the mysterious cult of Silent Hill, changing names and cities on a regular basis. Determined to bring Heather back and use her to rid the demonic town of the demon that dwells there, they kidnap her father, which forces Heather and new friend Vincent (Kit Harington) to head back to Silent Hill.

Having never seen the first film (game adaptations have never been a favourite of mine, still shuddering over Super Mario Bros to be honest), I had no clue what to expect. A little research told me it did ok, but praise mostly came from fans of the game.

It would be safe to assume that no such praise would be forthcoming for this, frankly, shocking sequel. In film schools across the world, the first rule of horror films being taught is ‘make it scary’. Unfortunately noone informed director Michael J Bassett of such an easy rule to remember.

Rather than go for the jump-scares that are the bread and butter of horrors today, Bassett decides revel in the grotesque. Ideas cherry picked from the likes of Saw, Hell raiser, Pans Labyrinth, Rob Zombie and even some imagery reminiscent of Hieronymus Boschs’ work are limply displayed on screen with zero effect.

Couple that with ham-fisted dialogue, a convoluted plot, throw in characters that it’s difficult to even want to care about and it makes for a wholly boring experience. Even the jabbering juveniles behind me found it boring when they stopped talking long enough to actually watch what was on the screen.

Well established actors such as the previously mentioned Bean, Malcolm McDowell, Carrie Ann Moss and Deborah Unger pop up in allegedly important roles but never stay enough to make any impact. Even Radha Mitchell, the first film’s heroine, makes a ghostly cameo and probably wishes she hadn’t. With a small hint of a third film hopefully extinguished by bad reviews, for cinema’s sake this better be the last visit to Silent Hill.

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