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'Silent Hill' has scary screenplay


Date published: 11/2/2012

BY ROGER MOORE

McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

All horror movies are somebody's vision of hell, but few are set in as convincing a version as the "Silent Hill" films.

It's a ghost town where an underground coal mine fire keeps the ash falling like carcinogenic snow.

All the abandoned cars are AMC Pacers and Chevrolet Chevettes and El Caminos.

It's in West Virginia. The faceless demons, executioners, newly butchered victims and the waiting-to-be-butchered? Bonuses.

The movies about this satanic slaughterhouse are where once great--or at least promising actors--go to collect a check.

Radha Mitchell once starred in a Woody Allen picture. But since the first "Silent Hill," well

Sean Bean's been condemned to this cinema purgatory as well. And with "Silent Hill: Revelation," Malcolm McDowell and Carrie-Anne Moss join the damned. Deborah Kara Unger doesn't escape this hell, either.

The new "Hill" is more or less as striking as the earlier ones. There's a godawful script.

I can't imagine diving into this grim and gruesome franchise without having at least a hint of the back story. Then again, seeing the earlier ones isn't that much help.

Writer-director Michael J. Bassett, who got the much-delayed flop "Solomon Kane" into theaters earlier this fall, serves up tasty dialogue exchanges like this one, between two cops who discover a body and a bloody woman's coat.

First cop: "Found a jacket. His blood's on it."

Second cop: "Let's get that to forensics. See whose blood is on it."

Second cop's not listening to first cop. And director's not checking behind the screenwriter. Because he's the same fellow.

Bassett's vision of hell here isn't appreciably different from the one he served up in "Solomon Kane." Yes, he has an eye. No, he has no ear. But a few more movies like these two, a fellow could get pigeon-holed.

Put this much effort into bringing your idea of hell to the screen, film fans will start calling you Satan. And not in a good way.


SILENT HILL: REVELATION

H

STARRING: Adelaide Clemens, Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Carrie-Anne Moss

CREDITS: Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett. An Open Road release, Running time: 1:33.

RATED: R for violence and disturbing images, some language and brief nudity

THEATERS: Marquee Cinemas, Paragon Village 12