Ever since I first heard whispers of this movie some four or five years ago, I was elated with anticipation. Finally, we were going to get a ‘Hellraiser’ movie that was actually written to be a ‘Hellraiser’ movie and not just some horror script the studio had laying around with Pinhead thrown in. For those who aren’t aware, everything after ‘Hellraiser: Bloodline’ was originally based off an unused script the studio had possession of that they would occasionally throw Pinhead into in order to retain the ‘Hellraiser’ rights (with the exception of ‘Hellraiser: Revelations’, which is just a found-footage mess). At last, we – the fans – would get the ‘Hellraiser’ movie deserving of the title of the original Clive Barker masterpiece… or so we thought. What followed from these initial whispers was a rollercoaster of drama that would result in the pile of garbage that is ‘Hellraiser: Judgment’ and honestly there’s no excuse for it.
Naturally, as with any movie, over the years there were reports of inside information that required you to discern the truth from the rumors. There were rumors early on that Doug Bradley would return as the infamous Pinhead character and even more exciting were the rumors that Clive Barker himself would return to direct – an especially positive piece of information for fans of the original. Unfortunately, as the years went on, sources began to report that Barker was in fact returning to direct a ‘Hellraiser’ movie but that it wasn’t going to be this one. This led to confusion and disappointment from fans, but it wouldn’t be the only bit of bad news we’d receive. It wasn’t long after this that fans learned Doug Bradley would not be returning as Pinhead after all. Apparently the studio tried to get Bradley to sign a nondisclosure agreement before they would let him play the role he honestly created, and he – rightfully so – felt slighted by this move by the studio. This sequel that initially brought fans to the edge of their seats was already beginning to show some red flags.
Although no release date had been published, the studio was quick to regain its momentum by releasing some still photos of their new Pinhead – actor Paul Taylor – in full makeup behind a dimly lit room. Honestly, he looked pretty good all things considered, and this was enough to give hope to the movie and pull some fans back in. Slowly afterward, the studio began releasing photos of the new cenobites in full make-up: The Auditor, The Assessor, The Butcher, and returning cenobite Chatterer (with the same actor who had played Chatterer since ‘Hellraiser: Inferno’). The pictures were dark and gritty and it actually appeared that the studio cared about creating a good movie, and things were starting to look up. When the release date of 2017 was finally announced, fans went crazy. Finally, we had a date to mark in our calendars to go see the new ‘Hellraiser’ movie. Six years after the abysmal sequel of ‘Revelations’ we would finally get a good sequel. After all, six years is a long time, and any movie that takes that long to make has to be good, right?
Well, it turns out the movie didn’t release in 2017. After sitting on IMDb with a nonspecific “2017” release date for the entirety of the year, the date finally changed in December to a nonspecific “2018” release date. This meant only one thing – we had no idea when the movie was going to be released. Sources started reporting from the director that the movie was in fact complete, but that it was up to the studio when it would be released. This created even more anticipation among fans and inadvertently set expectations even higher for the movie. Eventually, I stopped paying attention to the news surrounding the movie and just moved on to other things. Then one day, as casually as bumping into an old friend while standing in line at the grocery store, I came across ‘Hellraiser: Judgment’ while scrolling through Netflix. I couldn’t believe it. Content that I would be spending my lazy Saturday afternoon watching some B-Horror movie on Netflix, I would now get to spend it watching a movie that I’d been waiting to watch for years. Spoiler alert: I still ended up watching some B-Horror movie on Netflix.
As the movie began, I couldn’t help but notice the cheap, cheesy sound effects and how they detracted from what would have otherwise been actually intense scenes – this is a common problem with low budget horror movies; if they’d actually leave the scene quieter, it would help the scene. For some reason they feel the need to add in cheap music and sound effects which instead hurts them. The cinematography was very one-note and stationary throughout, instead of giving each scene its own tone and “feel”. It’s the director’s job to make audiences feel a certain way in each scene and to have those scenes flow into one another seamlessly, but that was not the case here. It felt cheap. The scenes that presumably were meant to be scary were just gross for the sake of being gross, and vulgar for the sake of being vulgar. It was like the writer didn’t know how to cohesively tie-in “minions of hell” to a plot about a detective hunting down a serial killer, so instead he created something juvenile that lacked any sense of creativity. It takes more than just some gross scenes to make a good horror movie. You have to care about the work otherwise it comes through in the final product.
This is what I’ve been waiting for? A cheap, carelessly thrown together cop story with occasional scenes of Pinhead thrown in? This was terrible! It was like going through a cheap haunted house on Halloween that was created by someone who saw ‘Hellraiser’ once. No, scratch that. It was like if someone just saw a picture of Pinhead and decided to create a haunted house based on that one picture. The only reason I would say this is better than ‘Revelations’ is because it’s not a found footage movie. Instead of being the sequel we fans thought we were getting, this just turned out to be another crap sequel created for the studio to retain the rights to the franchise. I felt let down and robbed. This movie sucked.
So, what about the Clive Barker, Doug Bradley ‘Hellraiser’ movie? This is the plot from IMDb:
“27 years after the incident with Frank and Julia in the Cotton home, Kirsty Cotton returns home to attend a funeral of a close friend. During these strange events, the same strange creatures that terrorized her as a teenager are haunting her daughter. Maybe attending the funeral wasn’t such a good idea, especially when the belongings of the deceased is actually a gift from Hell given to the daughter of Kirsty (aka “The Box”).”
The last update I could find was from July of 2017 when the movie status changed from “In Production” to “Most likely to not happen now”, which is a terrible shame.
This movie is…
Not worth the film it’s printed on.
Cheers and goodnight.