Hellraiser Judgment (Gary J. Tunnicliffe, 2018)
My relationship with the Hellraiser sequels, even after the first two, have been very uncomplicated. I don’t consider it heretic to make DTV continuations to beloved horror films, and Clive Barker’s seminal Hellraiser is no exeception. It’s just movies with their own mythology, dreams and twists, far from the original maybe, but still entities of their own. Nostalgia killed the geek culture, where something abstract far away, a dream of something “original” and unique have killed more good movies and books than movies outside the franchise series.
After the universally hated Hellraiser Revelations (Victor Garcia, 2011) - a movie that actually boasts a pretty good script and fine ideas, but hated because of its cheap estetics and a (I’ll admit) miscasted Pinhead - the fans have been prepared for a new film. For a while it seemed to be going the right way, with Barker clamining he was writing something new and wanted Doug Bradley back in the series, but nothing happened and soon Dimension ordrered a new quickie, to be able to keep the rights to the material. Enter Hellraiser Judgment, this time directed and written by, the to the Hellraiser series loyal make up artist and special effects wizard, Gary J. Tunnicliffe.
I understand the skepticism even if I enjoyed Revelations, but as some clickbait nerd sites claimed, Hellraiser Judgment dosen’t include any animal cruelty outside a rather wet dog. But instead it gives us a lot of cruelty towards humans instead. This might be the nastiest Hellraiser in a long time, with a lot of stuff pretty extrem for the genre today. The gore and effects is pretty well made, even if the low budget shines through here and there. But the gorehounds won’t be disappointed, at least according to my prefrerred level of violence. Tunnifcliffe makes a fine turn as a director, and makes it work as sibling to Hellraiser Inferno, but more 90’s Seven-ish.
It kinda falls a part towards the end, but I feel I will appreciate it more a second time. The cheesiness is there, but as stated above it’s mainly because of a low budget. No coincidence it’s pretty claustrophobic and with few extras or actors in all the scenes. But it’s also very ambitious and uses is money very well. I’m impressed how good it looks and what an excellent work Tunnicliffe has done with it.
Oh, yes. How about Pinhead himself? Paul T. Taylor makes a very worthy and classy performance as our favorite Cenobite, and echoes a lot of Doug Bradley’s theatrical, british karisma. I would glady see him doing this again. So, is this a film for everyone? No, it’s isn’t. I don’t can, but I guess one might simply accept that these films are their own mythology by now (which is pretty exciting actually) and it’s under those rules and not Barker’s the Hellraiser series have turned. Hellaiser have a few things here and there I would say dosen’t hold up - but I rather focus on how much that’s great in this film - from the great cast and photo to editing and production design.
I won’t see that form of dedication in other, more expensive and celebrated, franchises.
#Hellraiser #HellraiserJudgment #Pinhead #Cenobite #CliveBarker #Horrorfilm