Wednesday, October 5, 2022


I'm not sure exactly how a low-budget horror flick about a puzzle box from Hell spawns a franchise of more than ten films, but here we are. Without the input of franchise creator Clive Barker, but still based on his 1986 novella, the 1987 film gets a reboot introducing Goran Visnjic as the rich douchebag attempting to use the box to achieve his dreams, with ghastly results, and a group of dumb and unlikable twenty-somethings (Odessa A'zion, Adam Faison, Drew Starkey, Brandon Flynn, and Aoife Hinds) who the box falls to six years later with equally horrific results (at least for the audience).

More fetish porn than horror, the new Hellraiser isn't creepy or thrilling, isn't fun or wacky, nor is it kinky or alluring (it is released by Disney after all). Neither the humans nor the Cenobites are strong enough to root for or against leaving us to watch events unfold without caring much about what happens.

Leading our group of flawed humans who will be targeted throughout the film, the script does A'zion no real favors. She's fine here in a heavy dramatic role of a struggling drug user that, without any sense of fear for the audience, just doesn't match what we see on-screen. Aside from lacking any real creep factor (our monsters are more bizarre than scary), the film's biggest problem is that this Hellraiser is neither good nor bad enough to take much notice of. There's some interesting designs, and the acting and effects are certainly adequate throughout, but there's nothing here to get worked up about one way or the other.

The only real notable thing about the remake, other than than the film's stylistic fleshy perversions and a more interesting box this time around (thanks to CGI), is the choice to cast Jamie Clayton as the franchise's lead role as the Hell's Priest (AKA Pinhead). Not given all that much to do, Clayton is fine as the only Cenobite who gets a speaking role, but this Pinhead is more about looking cool than doing anything cool in her limited time on-screen.

Given the bizarre nature of the premise, a move over-the-top approach might have injected some life into the admittedly laughable concept about a puzzle box that brings forth sadomasochistic characters to strut about and pose before torturing those who attempt to complete it in strange, and often quite bloody, ways. Sadly, that's not what director David Bruckner or producer and co-writer David S. Goyer have in mind in their attempts to take events far too seriously. The result is another middling entry to the genre.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Hellraiser (2022)
  • IMDb: link

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