With a name like Deader we should only expect the best.
Deader? What the hell is that even supposed to mean? This one takes the cake for the most nonsensical title. It is also another film that was originally written as something completely different, and the studio added the Hellraiser elements after the fact. So, once again we have a horrid mismatch of tone and theme.
Anyway, the seventh installment follows another spunky reporter named Amy Klein, who is sent to Bucharest to investigate a cult that can resurrect themselves—called the Deaders—get it? The first jarring thing about this one is the film quality. It has a haze over everything that reminds me of films from the late 1980s. Aside from film quality, the directing is terrible. It is obvious the same person who filmed the tape Amy watched is the same cameraman filming her scene—sure, this is how film works, but the same oddities of zooming in every three seconds appear on the tape in the film and the film itself. For me, this broke any engagement with the story as it was painfully obvious that this was a film.
Another problem is the premise—someone sees a video of someone being shot and then brought back to life—wouldn’t everyone think this is a fake? Of course there is something else happening in this film, but I highly doubt a media company would waste resources with nothing more than a tape. I get that I am being nitpicky here, but the dreamy haze filters and bad 80s music made me focus a little too hard on the weak plot, lest I lose my mind.
The Bucharest setting—where everyone oddly speaks English—is a nice change of pace, I guess. The run down apartments look the same as they have in all of the previous films. Without some visual cues we are not in America I am willing to bet no one could tell much of a difference.
The scenes are so long. We watch Amy struggle around a dead body for what feels like an eternity. Any suspense or dread wears off long before these scenes end, and we are left with an extreme amount of tedium.
This is probably the sleaziest and most obnoxious of the Hellraiser series. We have an endless barrage of what people imagine raves look like (a party on a subway—really?) and a bunch of obnoxious characters who speak in plot contrivances. Don’t worry though, there is plenty of cheap nudity to keep the thirteen-year-old boys watching.
The cult itself is pretty boring. The leader doesn’t have any charisma, and the followers are obviously zombies. For example, the headshot wound does not go away past resurrection—so why is this a good idea? What is the appeal—particularly for people who seem to be otherwise healthy.
Further, the leader (named Winter) has some convoluted plan to use the puzzle box, but deny the Cenobites the souls, and he thinks this will give him dominion over hell—or something. The plan doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. We are also back to the whole “it’s a dream so anything goes” non-logic for the film, and this creates major rifts in the plot that aren’t ever fully explained.
The final act of the film falls into complete madness. I don’t even know if I could accurately summarize it here. Once again, the rules surrounding the puzzle box are bent to fit the narrative, and it is increasingly unclear what the point of it all is. Even Pinhead seems bored in this one. 2/10.