Hellraiser (2022)

Hellraiser (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Hellraiser (2022)
Director: David Bruckner
Cast: Odessa A’zion, Jamie Clayton, and Adam Faison
Genres: Horror/Mystery
Release date: 28 September 2022
IMDB Rating: 5.9/10
Language: English and French
Duration: 2h 0m


Hellraiser (2022)


After the shocking revelation of the MovieZone staffers’ loopholes regarding the original 1987 Hellraiser and its subsequent sequels, I felt obligated to write a review of the new version that landed on Hulu. When I also revealed that I was also familiar with the book model, it was already clear that the gentlemen were lucky to have me. There won’t be a VIM for the original in half a year, but the evaluation of the new addition to the franchise is here. But before we talk about whether the new version of the original story is as hell as the second half of the film series, or whether Lemarchand’s cube has finally revealed impressive horrors, I will delay you for a moment with the sauce.

Hellraiser is written by the writer Clive Barker, who also wrote the no less cult Candyman. He adapted his novel (originally The Hellbound Heart) into a screenplay in the aforementioned 1987, and subsequently shot the legendary number one based on it. It stood at the beginning of a long film series, with whose further episodes (including the directly connected and equally excellent two), Barker had nothing to do with. From the position of executive producer, he oversaw this return.

Let me dwell a little longer on the films that followed the duo. The first two volumes are undisputed genre classics, but there are also a few others that are interesting. The average three serves up the origin of the iconic Pinhead. The poorly rated, but surprisingly great four then develops the mythology around Lemarchand’s cube from the past, through the present to the far future. Subtitled Inferno, the fifth was directed by then-newcomer Scott Derrickson, and is the first film that was originally intended to have nothing to do with the series, but after the first two installments, it is the best entry in the series ever. Films 6, 7, and 8 are already completely lousy (completely, except for Doug Bradley) and it was very prudent of the people responsible for them to include them in the series, even if sometimes by force. The next two posts have already been done without Doug Bradley, and thus without me.

Hellraiser has always been more or less the equal of Pinhead in Doug Bradley’s famous performance, with more and more works in an ever-smaller space, in various stages of thickness, and with the same fascinating philosophical discourses. It is also worth noting that the name Pinhead arose only later, in the book and movies this character was always called The Priest, or Hell Priest. And how is it described in the book? “Her voice (the character) was, unlike her companion’s, soft and airy—the voice of an excited girl. Every inch of her head was tattooed with an intricate grid, and from every intersection of horizontal and vertical lines, a decorative pin stuck into her bone. Her tongue was similarly decorated by Milan Žáček .

And why am I writing about it? Especially since Bradley’s portrayal is truly iconic and when it was revealed that transgender actress Jamie Clayton would follow in his footsteps, it caused quite a stir. But here it turned out that it doesn’t matter who plays this character (with all due respect to Bradley). For one thing, it doesn’t matter given the premise, where Priest and his infernal colleagues, the Cenobites, are described as genderless, and Jamie Clayton is excellent and her performance is worth it. He has a digitally edited voice anyway, which is nothing new in the series. And speaking of the Cenobites, they practically don’t appear in the book, they only appear at the beginning and then only at the end. The film works with them significantly more, both original and new. After all, it has all these Hell’s Angels played by women.

The original story revolves around the previously mentioned artifact called Lemarchand’s cube, which can be put together in various combinations. When this is done, the gate to Hell will open and the Cenobites will appear, offering the lucky one who solved the puzzle pleasure as a reward for making some of those sacrifices. If he fails, they will marry him. And Cenobites can be very sadistic. After all, torment goes hand in hand with pleasure. The first two films are mainly about a fantastically dark gothic atmosphere built with great music and heaps of gore and brutality. The interesting mythology built by them culminates in the next two films. But this intense and bewitching spectacle is also about love, about the transformation of man into something more or less inhuman, and also about sin. And the new film does it a little differently.

Now I will take it as broad as possible and at the same time as brief as possible. The new Hellraiser doesn’t reach the quality of the original, but it’s damn near close. Director David Bruckner has shown here that he is very skilled in his field, and I will be keeping a close eye on his career. The two-hour horror movie was given a unique and damn impressive visual, with which the largest part of the audience’s interesting ideas is also connected. Of these, the design of the Cenobites stands out, which (except for Pinhead) differs from the original in many ways. In terms of atmosphere, the new version can shake hands with its film model. It’s mainly about tension and luckily there are no embarrassing surprises here.

From the result, it is already clear from the beginning that the creators respect the original material and do not just want to – in any way – milk the Hell Priest. On the contrary, the result is so interesting that, in most cases, the overburned footage does not matter in the least, even though the first half of the film is slower. But it’s also more atmospheric, more exciting, and in an brilliant way it sets the stage for the second part, which is more action-packed, darker, and more visually imaginative, and the Cenobites finally go all out in it. True, sometimes they don’t go through the door, which is completely incomprehensible to me, but otherwise they are exactly as they should be. Scary and fascinating at the same time.

If you add to that a great soundtrack (including the legendary theme song from the original) and an excellent camera, you get one of the best horror movies this year, which would stand up to stronger and more interesting competition than this year’s. Even little-known names among an otherwise unknown cast can be an attraction – the excellent Goran Visnjic in a large and important role, or Predrag Bjelac in a miniature but not entirely insignificant role. However, the missing scene of Pinhead’s origin may freeze both knowledgeable and uninformed viewers, although we will still see one successful origin.

Viewers who have not yet had experience with the series have nothing to prevent them from starting with this particular film, for example – no extensive knowledge is needed. Hellraiser offers from a plot point of view what we are used to not only from this genre in recent years. A new beginning, story, and perspectives on what the original dealt with. Here, the mysterious puzzle falls into the hands of two thieves, a former drug addict Riley, and her friend Trevor. Riley plays around a bit, changes the configuration, summons hell monks led by Pinhead, and blood starts flowing… And if you’re a fan of the genre and don’t mind a bit of brutality, you should give the Cenobites a chance.

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