Movie Review – Hellraiser: Judgement (2018)

Movie Review – Hellraiser: Judgement (2018)


Martin Adil-Smith

For those of a certain age, Hellraiser holds a certain immutable charm. The brainchild of Clive Barker, it is an adventure of repressed BDSM coupled with, what was at the time, outlandish gory effects.

However, as with too many sequels, the franchise committed the sin of retreading the same ground over and over, before seemingly dying an overdue death with the ninth instalment, Hellraiser: Revelations in 2011.

It was therefore a bit of surprise to see a tenth instalment pushed out as a soft reboot, helmed by Gary Tuncliffe in the role of both writer and director (one of my warning flags), and with a credit to Bob Weinstein as an executive producer… which is certainly interesting given the subject matter and the times we live in.

The plot, such as it is, sees two and a half cops attempting to catch the mysterious Preceptor who is responsible for a rash of highly ritualised slayings, before falling into the clutches on Pinhead and his coterie.

The thing is, this is not the worst film in the franchise, but equally that does not make it a must-see either. There is an excessive amount of retconning, and to be honest there are large chunks of script that just don’t make sense, including a 10 minute long opening sequence that has little bearing on the movie, other than to inform us that the Lament Configuration is no longer a suitable harvester of souls (was it ever?).

The best that I can say is that this movie is deeply flawed on just about every level. An excessive prologue gives way to wooden acting, hammy dialogue, and pretty ropey cinematography.

The problem is that I can see what this movie wants to be – it wants to retell Se7en for the Saw generation, in the Hellbound Heart format. The issue is that this is a clumsy attempt lacking in courage and originality to deliver the goods.

The “surprise twist” was obvious from the end of the first act, and the open ending did little to win me over.

Some of the murder ideas were inventive, but not enough time was given over to their symbolism. The result is a film that lacked depth whilst ignoring many of the things that made the original good.

In summation, this is why writer-directors should be tightly controlled, if not outlawed altogether.

Final verdict: 2/6