Hellraiser 2022 review: Pinhead is back on Hulu, but only deep skin cuts

Making one of the better Hellraiser movies isn’t that hard, to be honest. Any franchise with more than three or four certain entries will be uneven, but Hellraiser’s drop is particularly pronounced, stemming from an improved sequel over the original (Hellbound: Hellraiser II) to two movies no goodcorrect, but quite fun to watch (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth and Hellraiser: Bloodline) for a long time of direct-to-video sequels so bad, the movie starts to sound like a super-joke when the pain is inflicted on the audience instead of the characters. However, for nearly 35 years, fans are still devoted to 1987 Hellraiser and Clive Barker’s quirky vision.

Director David Bruckner is one such fan. It’s clear see his new Hellraiser reboot, without going back to the source material to be exact, but staying true to its spirit. The heroes of this Hulu direct-to-video adaptation are scumbags, geeks, and addicts. The tone of the film is serious and adult, an acclaim from teen-focused killers like Screaming (2022) and Bodies Bodies Bodies. The mystical art deco production design blows the original’s puzzle box to amazing architectural dimensions. The Cenobites inspire a breathtaking combination of awe and awe, voices soft and luminescent in the faint moonlight. And chains… oh yes, there are chains, flying in all directions and tearing people apart like milk bags.

However, the preference of Bruckner and that of screenwriters Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski (House at night), are somewhat different. While the 2022 movie has omnivorous sex, feels right for Hellraiser – we see gay and straight couples naked in bed together and there are more nudes of males than females – this version is less quirky than Barker’s sadistic original. In that film, the promise of eternity on the blade between joy and pain engenders a deep passion. Here, it’s an obvious evil, with no appeal to anyone but the leader of Cenobite, known as The Priest (Jamie Clayton), and her minions. Even HellraiserThe Fallen Billionaire (and there simply must be one) regrets his adventures “in the more distant regions of experience”.

The puzzling Grievance Configuration Box rests on an austere table

Photo: Spyglass Media Group / Hulu

Instead, Bruckner and company started the franchise lore. This movie expands on the world of the Cenobites in new and comprehensive ways, laying out exactly how the Sighing Configuration (i.e. the puzzle that summons the Cenobites) works and the seven steps a penitent must go through. over to ask, as the film puts it, “an audience with God.” Each of these steps requires human sacrifice and Hellraiser buys time for yourself by letting its protagonist figure this out and deliberately plotting time between these bloody services. Here, the movie begins to lose focus.

Hellraiser opens with a title tag that reads “Belgrade, Serbia,” replacing Morocco as the global capital of taboo pleasures. There, the Sighing Configuration is purchased and brought back to Voight (Goran Višnjić), the decadent billionaire mentioned above, who promptly sacrifices a young man to it and summons the god Leviathan. Six years passed quickly, and the box was abandoned in a shipping crate in an empty warehouse. Then the 20th metamorphose Riley (Odessa A’zion) and Trevor (Drew Starkey) “release” it while searching for valuables they can sell for quick cash.

The pair met at a 12-step meeting, but disposing of the box simply pushed addict Riley off the wagon. Here, Bruckner’s film reaches a more realistic tone, setting Hellraiser universe in something closer to our world than anything in the Barker original. The ensuing argument between Riley and her more responsible brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) also places the film in real-life conflicts and settings – until the arrival of the Cenobites turns a park public to a surreal nightmare, and Matt inexplicably disappears.

Overwhelmed with guilt and grief, Riley goes out in search of clues to the puzzle box she suspects may have caused Matt’s disappearance, quickly kicking off the film into a procedural storyline. which should have followed to the end. Instead, it shifts focus when Riley breaks into Voight’s Massachusetts mansion, with Matt’s boyfriend Colin (Adam Faison) and their roommate Nora (Aoife Hinds) closely following. There, Hellraiser turns from a mystery to a siege movie, as the group barricades themselves inside Voight’s palatial home while the Cenobites gather outside.

A shaggy-haired girl with peeling skin and a flat head walks in from the darkness in a mansion room

Photo: Spyglass Media Group / Hulu

This video highlights HellraiserThe two biggest weaknesses: characters and length. The movie earns most of its two-hour run, but Riley gets the rest of the gang up to speed to see what the heck those are and what they want to burden Bruckner’s re-imagining with a few Too much dialogue in an already slow movie. movie. And aside from the fact that she has an older brother and a weakness for alcohol and drugs, we know relatively little about Riley. We know even less about her friends – a moment of silence, please, for poor Nora, who has no distinct personality traits other than being “a roommate”. That makes it difficult to tie the drama between the characters, something that even the film’s screenwriters have shown indifference.

Perhaps logically, the most intriguing character in the film is a Cenobite. Of the five actors who have made their mark with the hellish management company commonly known as Pinhead, Jamie Clayton is the only one besides Doug Bradley to actually accept “Pinhead” as a character. Clayton’s version is softer and more feminine than Bradley’s authoritative priest figure; she’s more of a holy mystic than a papal king. Her black eyes looked at the humans begging for mercy before her with the cold curiosity of an alien scientist, and she patiently waited for them to come to her with regal and skillfully folded hands. Clayton’s Pinhead is a different, quieter type of scary, which makes the lengthy dialogues she presents in the film (more so than Bradley in the 1987 film) rather ironic.

Design Cenobite in Hellraiser were brilliant, taking advantage of advances in prosthetics to ditch the black leather fetish in favor of their own flaking leather garments. Familiar features are exaggerated – the female Cenobite’s throat folds have never looked like a vagina – and the new designs evoke the horrors of iron lungs, chipped hands and human taxa . The film is bloody and intense as needed, at one point following a pin through the character’s throat and out the other side. But its most innovative horror developments are built in sets, shifting and snapping in place like pieces of Sighing Configuration when the Cenobites are nearby.

Hellraiser 2022 easily erases the low threshold of being acknowledged as one of the best Hellraiser movies. It’s one of the best since Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and maybe even the second best entry in the series after that one. It has some amazing, grotesque visuals that make it a shame that this movie didn’t get to theatrical release. And it achieves what many fans (including this movie) wanted for the series, which is to pull the film out of the creative purgatory where it has been stuck for several decades now. The only things to wonder about at this point are the points where Barker’s quirky angle has been reduced to a more gender-averse age, and his enigmatic narrative is stripped of its own to get The presentation is easier to read, but less attractive. In addition, suffering is very subtle.

Hellraiser will be released on Hulu on October 7th.


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