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Before I begin with the review proper, I'd like to open with a plea to directors and casting agencies everywhere. Please, please for the love of God, stop casting Sean Bean in roles where he has to do an American accent. He can't do it, he'll never be able to do it, and its massively distracting and cringeworthy. For his sake and ours, if you want Sean Bean in your film then do a bit of script tweaking and make sure his character is from Yorkshire, or at least England. Please.
Ok, now that's out of the way, I can tell you what else is wrong with this film!
Its a sequel to Silent Hill, which was based on the popular series of videogames and was released six years ago without making many waves or winning many awards. The first Silent Hill film was a slow burner, doing better after its release on DVD than it did in the cinema and gaining fans through word of mouth. It had a few things going for it, it was a refreshing change from the 'gratuitous gore' trend in horror films at the time (Saw, Hostel et al), it had a fairly intriguing plot, some truly scary and chilling moments, and a strong cast (Sean Bean's accent aside). Unfortunately, this patchy sequel has none of those things.
Our heroine is Heather Mason, who has been on the run with her dad for as long as she can remember, changing names, schools and identities with every new start. She is plagued by nightmares of a place called 'Silent Hill' but has no idea what her dreams mean. The audience have a slight advantage here, having seen the first film! I won't give too much of the plot away (if only that were possible!) but suffice it to say that after a few incursions of her nightmare world into her real life, Heather is drawn to the real town of Silent Hill to find the truth about herself and to save a family member in danger.
Heather is played by Adelaide Clemens, who actually does a decent job with not much to work with, she looks far too old to be in school but that's par for the course with this kind of film. She manages to portray a good mixture of vulnerability and toughness and reminds me slightly of a young Michelle Williams.
However, that's where the good acting ends I'm afraid! Sean Bean mostly looks rather bored during his scenes, and there is of course the accent issue that I may have mentioned earlier. Malcolm Macdowell puts in a campy turn as a creepy mental patient that is entertaining but not really scary, more cheesy. The worst culprit when it comes to bad acting in this film though is Kit Harrington. Oh my word, this young man is so wooden he makes my wardrobe look like Meryl Streep. He plays the mysterious romantic interest of Heather but there's nothing remotely convincing about his proclamations of love. I was actually squirming in my seat most of the time he was on screen.
This sequel doesn't live up to the original in terms of scares either. Maybe its because we've seen these effects and these ideas before but the monsters seem clumsier, the danger seems less threatening and the imagery is less original (chase through a fairground with scary clowns, really?) I won't be having any nightmares after this one! The 3D is a bit on the corny side too, with teeth snapping straight out of the screen and so on, its like the earliest 3D attractions at theme parks in some places.
As with the first film, the door is left open for another installment, but I won't be buying my ticket early. If you haven't seen the first film, then I recommend watching that one and forgetting that a sequel was ever made.