The walls rot like flesh. A man in an engraved triangular iron helmet is the protagonist's guardian-slash-executioner. He manually operates a carousel where people suspended by chains through their pierced bodies are the horses. A princess party in a mall led by a creepy clown disintegrates to snarling children with faces painted like cats feasting on raw, probably human meat. A spider configuration of heads and arms that look like they came out of the manufacturing plant in Björk's "All is Full of Love" video swiftly attacks.
There are several born-without-face types sporting Cronenberg-esque ports where features usually are, including a group of herky jerky old-school nurses who stop performing their grotesque operation when human eyes are trained on them. The Order of Valteil and Seal of Metatron are referenced with reverence that can't mask their status as gobbledygook. Martin Donovan and Malcolm McDowell are there. So are the people who play Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on Game of Thrones, and their acting is perhaps the most horrific offering in all the fantasy land.
This is the world of Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, a film that is as much a nonsense factory as it is a nightmare factory. Like the most abstract Nightmare on Elm Street film that ever existed, Revelation brazenly abandons coherence in favor of dream logic. And actually, "dream logic" is too straightforward of a concept to apply to this thing. This is night-terror reasoning. Shit just happens and then people scream. People start hallucinating; their high school becomes a literal hell. No one knows what anything is or why they're walking where they are or what to say about it. At one point, red words "COME TO SILENT HILL" drip down a wall. "Is that blood?" asks Vincent (Harington). "Well, do you know where Silent Hill is?" responds Heather (Adelaide Clemens), the Alice in this wonderland who's having the worst trip ever. Both are good questions; neither ever had a hope of being answered. Doomed, we're all doomed.
I assume that Revelation makes slightly more sense if you've ever seen its 2006 predecessor or played the horror video game series it is spun-off from. I have done neither and almost enjoyed how furiously jumbled director Michael J. Bassett's take on the small-town-as-hell parable is. It feels bold to blow $20 million on a stream of imagery that could make a Matthew Barney movie seem lucid. In fact, if Silent Hill: Revelation 3D weren't so damn low-culture (watch out for the flying fingers!), it could be mistaken as an art film. Sometimes the line is as fine as a skull fracture.
Where aesthetics are concerned, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D has a lot to say, more than any other horror movie this year. And yet, it says less overall than any movie of any genre that I've seen this year. Maybe that's the point, although, "I meant to do that," is a great excuse for making something that is ultimately inscrutable.
Almost review-proof as a torrent of horrifying moving pictures, the one thing that is absolutely wrong with Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is its title. "Revelation?" Where? "Revelation?" How? "Revelation?" Ha, that's a good one.