Christopher Gans’ 2006 vidgame adaptation “Silent Hill” was slammed for its incomprehensible storyline, but its frequently striking visuals made a 3D revisitation at least semi-promising. Alas, that promise is ill kept in “Silent Hill: Revelation,” a cheaper, cheesier sequel that’s worse than its predecessor on every level (save being a half-hour shorter) and takes no special advantage of the stereoscopic process. Bypassing advance press screenings for good reason, writer-director Michael J. Bassett’s pic will scare up some bucks through Halloween, though the unlikelihood of its actually scaring viewers suggests any future “Hill” sequels will go straight to VOD.
Heather (Aussie thesp Adelaide Clemens) and her father (Sean Bean) have been changing identities and moving from town to town ever since his wife and her adopted mother, Rosa (Radha Mitchell, briefly seen), rescued the now-grown child from netherworld Silent Hill but remained trapped there herself. En route, Dad killed an intruder representing “the Order,” which wants the kid back, so the police as well as nightmarish specters are on the duo’s trail.
At her new school, Heather shrugs off overtures of friendship from cute boy Vincent (Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”). But when she comes home to find her dad gone, dragged off to you-know-where, she enlists Vincent — whose presence turns out to be more purposeful than he first admits — to drive her to the allegedly uninhabited Silent Hill, shuttered by a still-burning underground coal fire decades earlier.
More hectic and far less eerie than the first film, “Revelation” runs screaming from one scaled-down setpiece to another. Characters brought back from the original include demon child Alessa (Erin Pitt), whose blood sacrifice caused the town’s original damnation; her hatchet-wielding guardian/executioner Red Pyramid (Roberto Campanella); those stab-happy buxom faceless nurses; and Dahlia (Deborah Kara Unger), who, like new additions played by Martin Donovan and Malcolm McDowell (hammy), is given some undeliverable dumb-mythology exposition.
There is one good monster: a tarantula-like creature whose many limbs and faces are all assembled from mannequin parts. But even its scene isn’t very special, and elsewhere, British helmer Bassett (whose prior genre films, such as “Solomon Kane,” were better if still weakly scripted) shows no affinity for the grotesquely beautiful surrealism that distinguished the vidgame series and earlier feature. His two climaxes here are laughably routine.
If the original seems to have been shot on a vast, elaborately dressed soundstage, this follow-up often feels crammed into a few linked storage lockers. There’s gore but precious little imagination or mystique at work in a pic that looks hastily conceived and executed on all fronts. Amid the watered-down tech package, Akira Yamoaka’s songs get billed above returning composer Jeff Danna’s score, though one would be hard-pressed to differentiate between them.