I got nothing. This film is nuts.
I’m going to be honest, the magnitude of this series is starting to annoy me. We are now at more than a 2:1 ratio of bad to good in the franchise, and I think I can safely say there is no recovery possible.
It is never a good sign when technology is forced into a horror series that is based around the occult. Too much explanation is needed for hard (or soft) science fiction for the two to mesh well. Sure, there are some excellent examples to the contrary, but Hellraiser is not one of those.
This time around, we follow a group of obnoxious teens who are addicted to a videogame called Hellworld. One of their friends, (Adam—I had to look it up) committed suicide when becoming too addicted. Oddly, this might be the timeliest Hellraiser film as we are back to that ridiculous argument of videogames being dangerous and blah blah blah. The teens are invited to a mysterious party through the game—but more on that in a bit.
The Hellworld game is based on the Hellraiser lore—it even has Pinhead’s voice. I guess this film might be working on some sort of meta level in that it is trying to kill the franchise once and for all by making it self-aware. On the other hand, the film might just be a flaming, physics defying, flying, liquid piece of shit. Seeing a Pinhead shirt on a character in a Hellraiser film is perhaps the best image for how far down the tubes this series has gone.
Anyway, all of these teens—who don’t seem to have anything in common, and don’t seem like gamer types (not a knock on gamers—I am one, but we don’t act like this) end up going to the party. The film presents itself like another dumbass teen slasher flick, and I suppose it could have worked on this level—maybe. The dialogue is so bad that I don’t know if even 10-year-olds would accept this level of crap.
However, the strangest (and oddly best) part of the film is the host is played by Lance Henriksen! I love Henriksen, but he has been in some bad movies over the years—and watching him slum it up here is almost hard to believe. Henriksen’s performance is hard to put into words—it is so over-the-top and corny, but somehow still kind of awesome. The whole thing is a train wreck and he is another perplexing piece in this mess.
The obnoxious teens are hard to tell apart, and knowing that most of them are going to croak won’t elicit any emotion out of the viewer. The directing is likewise weird. This feels absolutely nothing like a Hellraiser film, and instead is more in line with I Know What You Did Last Summer or The House on Haunted Hill remake. The designers seemed more interested in capturing a cool looking party than setting up any sort of plot.
I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to guess this was not originally penned as a Hellraiser film, and all of the occult stuff was put in as a placeholder for just another slasher flick.
We do get more Pinhead, but it doesn’t feel like Pinhead at all. Instead of being a poetic demon of the nether realm, he now offers tough guy one liners as people are being killed. The teens become further obnoxious—one calls a friend for help, but he blows her off for stupid reasons. Two of them become invisible to the other guests, for some reason? It is never really explained. A lot of the film doesn’t make sense, and the meta-commentary from the characters drags the whole thing down.
This one goes completely off the rails as a film. What is sad is that this is probably the last time we will see Doug Bradley play pinhead—and he chose to go out on a note not worth watching. Watch this one if you want to see a series completely collapse. 1/10