Hello everybody and welcome to my review of Hellraiser I know this article is posted a little bit late that’s because I am putting this review out right when the Embargo drops except for all the other reviews that have been out for days I don’t know how it’s working but anyway I guess I’m a sucker 35 years after the original Hellraiser was released we get this reimagining from director David Bruckner and writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski.
They are the team behind last year’s the night house which I thought was a really really interesting atmospheric horror film with a fantastic performance from Rebecca Hall this version of Hellraiser really isn’t a remake of the original film as much as it is as its crediting itself a reimagining of the original Source material Clive Barker’s Novels the Hellbound heart and having seen the original Hellraiser I can say that this version of the movie shares very little in common with the one that came out 35 years ago other than the basic setup and the premise if you are new to the Hellraiser Universe, It Centers primarily around a puzzle box which, when solved, opens the door to some form of hell and allows beings called cenobites to enter our universe.
The cinebites are here to seek different forms of sensation and inflict them on other people usually in the form of pain, but their goal ultimately is to find this ultimate Sensational Enlightenment where Pleasure and Pain intersect in case you haven’t figured it out, by the way, the Hellraiser franchise kinky now the characters in this version of Hellraiser don’t matter because the characters in every version of Hellraiser don’t matter they’re people that are just there to spin the puzzle box into a different configuration to open the door to the cinebites.
So that we can get some more Gore effects and some more set pieces, and the cinebites are fascinating creatures they are simultaneously menacing grotesque vaguely seductive, and there’s been a lot of discussion about the casting of the hell priest in this film the hell priest is better known as Pinhead which is what everybody’s been calling this character pretty much from the second movie Pinhead is the mouthpiece of the cinebites the Ambassador if you will take the role of this demon wishing to experience the limits of torture sensation was originated many years ago by Doug Bradley who played it for quite a while you solved the Box we came now you must come with us and for this version of Hellraiser, a woman named Jamie Clayton, is taking over the role of Pinhead.
Now I have about as much interest in discussing and trying to examine the gender of the Tunebite as I do discuss and trying to examine the race of an elf, which is none of the critical things that Jamie Clayton takes over this role ably bringing this new version of Pinhead the requisite seductive grotesque nature the character requires Pinhead I think is one of the more exciting movie Monsters if you want to kind of label pin head that way in that he or she isn’t really rooted in this sort of malice that you see with a lot of people like Freddy Krueger or even Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.
This intent to murder the cinebites may be demons from some form of hell but at their heart, they’re kind of seekers they’re like often summoned by humans looking to experience unknown levels of pleasure, and is it really their fault if the humans didn’t quite know what the terms of this deal were going to be so while I don’t necessarily root for Pinhead and the cenobites in these films you don’t actively root against them either because they’re not the traditional black hat villains this is actually a really interesting movie for me to try to break down because my enjoyment and I think that your enjoyment of this movie is mainly going to rest on how much you have enjoyed the other Hellraiser films and in particular how much you enjoyed the original 1987 Hellraiser the reason I bring up why Pinhead is such a different kind of movie monster is that Hellraiser is also a different kind of horror franchise I Didn’t see it for the first time until a few years ago.
I’m kind of a late Comer to the horror genre, and I found 1987’s Hellraiser to be impressive on a filmmaking level but also really weird, pretty slow cerebral full of humans who are much less attractive than the cenobites even though the humans take up most of the screen time and overall I found that the film was admirable but not quite my taste in a very similar way to how I regard a lot of David Lynch’s movies so perhaps it’s an endorsement for this remake is that I found 2022’s Hellraiser to be weird, very slow cerebral full of humans who are much less attractive than the line bites but get much more screen time and again, not quite my taste or my Tempo we’ve talked about this a lot with other reviews that’s what makes the sort of binary level of criticism so tricky because there are movies that I will give a bad review to because I think that they’re poorly made they have lousy acting or a lousy script Etc, but then there are movies that I have a hard time recommending not because of really anything to do with the film itself but because it just doesn’t quite align with my tastes I think the movie’s adequately acted by its non-cenobite cast and I really can’t fault the movie on a filmmaking level it looks good I think it’s well directed.
The special effects makeup, in particular, is disgusting at times, which means that it’s been exceptionally well executed. I like the Tunebite design in this in that they are the familiar creatures that we’ve seen before, but the look of them now is a little bit more organic, a little less matrix with the black leather, and a little bit more like these creatures again from what I’ve read as they were initially intended to be which is just their former humans.
But now they don’t resemble any person that anybody has seen before they’re gruesome they’re grotesque they’re horrifying, and I think that they’re well done, so it’s tough for me to make a call here because I think that this is a well-executed Hellraiser movie if you like Hellraiser movie so I’m not going to say that I don’t recommend it.
I will say that it wasn’t a movie that I sat back and loved, but it wasn’t because it was poorly made it’s just because it was just on a different wavelength than I usually enjoy this can be chalked up a hundred percent to personal taste, so I will say that if you love Hellraiser movies, I think that you’re probably going to like this too because it’s a lot like 1987 original but with some upgrades to it that I think Bring It Forward technologically and I think it tells a pretty good story as well, although it’s not the most outstanding element of the film.
If you don’t like Hellraiser movies, I don’t think there’s anything in this movie that’s going to turn you around. This is very much leaning into the Clive Barker of it all, the thing that made this Ranch so unique, to begin with.
It’s not making this play to be the more mainstream Hellraiser movie or taking the name. Hellraiser and put it on some generic slasher movie, kind of banking of the Goodwill of the original this is very much the roots and the origins of the Hellraiser franchise, so I will say that I think your enjoyment of this movie is going to be in direct correlation to how much you like that how much you dig that sort of Clive Barker vibe from the original.
I think your takeaway is going to be very closely linked to that as well, so those are my thoughts on Hellraiser again, one of those movies I think I don’t even know which way I’m going to go because you have to do it when I post on Rotten Tomatoes like red or green, you know, fresh or Splat. If you see the Splat next to it, it’s not because I didn’t think the movie was well done.
It’s just that it wasn’t my bag, but I think there will be many people who love it. I think they’re going to be a lot of horror fans who are going to be impressed by it. Are you going to be watching it this weekend? It’ll be streaming on Hulu here in the United States in the domestic Market. You can look elsewhere if you are outside of the US to see where it will be available. Let me know in the comments below.