Review Rating: 6
The 9th installment of the Hellraiser movies features a pair of friends vacationing to excess in Mexico, where they discover the puzzle box and unleash Pinhead and his murderous friends!
I am a Hellraiser fan, and have been since the beginning. Clive Barker is an utter genius at Horror, he’s generally considered to be one of the Godfathers of modern Horror, and the movies weren’t bad even after he stopped making them. Even Hellraiser: Hellworld, the 8th installment for those of you paying attention, at least had Lance Henriksen in a lead role and delved somewhat into the HR mythology. Unfortunately, this latest HR film, out 6 years after Hellworld, has far too many things working against it, and is likely to have ruined whatever was left of the franchise.
Problem #1: Fully half the movie is a found-footage nightmare tape of the two main characters, Steven and Nico, their dive into excess in Mexico, and blurry shots of Pinhead and the Cenobites coming to take them away, ha-ha. Found footage is a terrible trend plaguing the Horror film world, it’s hard to do even semi-well, and this movie failed utterly at it.
Problem #2: Yes it has to be said, they replaced the actor playing the pivotal role of Pinhead. Any true Hellraiser fan can tell you, throughout every single one of the previous films, the role went to Doug Bradley, who always did an astounding job. Stephan Smith Collins is the actor as the new Pinhead, and even though the iconic makeup is more or less the same, their faces are so dissimilar, one can’t help but stare. Also, I’m sorry, the actor actually has a rather odd accent that even speaking in the slow grand Pinhead manner, won’t save. Pinhead is the avatar of the puzzle box, the Commander of Hells army the Cenobites, Bringer of Pain and Pleasure wrapped altogether in chains, and yet this version of him is just a sad distorted copy.
Problem #3: The story in general. The boys Steve and Nico, they head to Mexico to escape their various familial stresses, oh so terrible and hard, and end up in an orgy of bloodshed and slaughter cycle from which there is no escape. Nothing to do but you know, involve both their parents and siblings, together in mutual grief since their boys disappeared, and make things remarkably worse when Steven abruptly shows back up in bad shape. Their effects brought back from Mexico include the box, and of course the box is opened to summon up Pinhead and pals so Steve can make a deal to get out of this mess. Any true HR fan who actually pays attention to the storylines can poke a million holes in this excuse for a story. Even the makeup jobs are slapdash; it’s just another excuse to try and cash in on a long-standing franchise.
It’s a sad day indeed for us Horror fans when we see what Hellraiser has morphed down into, in this latest installment to bear such a horrific name. Spare yourself the grief, and just don’t.
If you simply must open this particular puzzle box, Hellraiser Revelations can be caught on Amazon Prime Video!