Yes, Pinhead shows up for like two scenes, more of a cameo than a small
part. Yes, the film has nothing to do with the previous entries. Yes,
Hellraiser fans will feel cheated. But if you can get over being bummed
about not getting a true Hellraiser sequel, you might enjoy this grim
descent into hell.
This film plays like a
cross between Bad Lieutenant and Jacob’s Ladder. Joseph is my kind of
cop: he does coke, screws prostitutes (didn’t know street hookers were
that hot), ignores his wife/child and backstabs his partner. He’s an
a-hole looking for redemption (a la Bad Lieutenant) and that salvation is
finding this missing child. Once he opens the "Lament
Configuration" karma kicks in hard. He’s plunged into a confusing
world of demons, gore and weirdness. Joseph is forced to face his own
demons…and it’s not pleasant.
I will admit that I
laughed the first time I saw the creatures in action. But as the movie
moved forward it sucked me in and grabbed me by the jewels. The film has
this dream like quality that I really enjoyed. Some of the visuals are
very odd (loved the cowboy bar scene, shades of Twin Peaks) and reality is
always questioned. The film does bog down in the middle due to its
"who is The Engineer" subplot but its conclusion brings it home.
It’s filled with shotgun fun, spooky surprises and gives the film an
extra layer of depth. The ending makes everything worthwhile…I loved it.
After overusing Pinhead
in the last two sequels I heard that the goal with this film was to pull
him back in the trenches to become once again (like in the first one) hell’s
referee. They fail in that respect cause his presence is not felt enough
throughout the film. When he does show up his role in this morality play
is to be "the ghost of Christmas past", bringing Joseph back to
his youth. It would have worked better if it were another demon than Pin
Head showing Joseph the rounds. I couldn’t help but think to myself:
"Pin Head what the hell are you doing? I think you’re in the wrong
Without a doubt
the film’s biggest flaw is calling itself "Hellraiser". I know
the brand name will attract more people but it can also backfire (already
has, most reviews of this film are negative). The film does slap in some
"Hellraiser" ingredients for good measure: The box, the pillar
of souls, the hook ripping, Pinhead but they’re only there to justify
the title. The story could have existed easily without them. Don’t
promise the public ice cream if you’re going to give them cake.