The desire of filmmakers to somehow refresh and rethink cult horrors of the past may be noble, but in practice all these remakes and reboots rarely turn out to be successful. Now it’s the turn of “Hell Risen”. In the review below, we take a look at what’s wrong with the reboot of a great 80s film that looks great in almost everything, even today.
“Hellraiser” / Hellraiser
The genre is a mystical horror film
Directed by David Bruckner
Starring Jamie Clayton, Goran Visnich, Hiam Abbass, Brandon Flynn, Drew Starkey
Premiere on Hulu
Release year 2022
A young girl Riley McKendy lives with her brother Matt, his boyfriend Colin and their neighbor Nora. While Riley tries to get rid of alcohol and drug addiction and spends free time with her boyfriend Trevor, Matt tries to reach his sister and keep her from making fatal mistakes.
One day, Trevor offers the heroine to commit a robbery at a warehouse. When they manage to open the safe, the new criminals find inside not a lot of money or jewels, but a strange puzzle box. Riley takes the find to sell it later. But the naive girl does not yet suspect that the mysterious contraption will turn out to be the key to the gate to hell itself.
It was planned to make a remake of “Hellraiser” since 2006, but it was not so easy to realize the idea. While the film was in production hell, the rights holders of the franchise continued to squeeze the last juices out of the subject and rivet one low-quality part after another, reaching the mark of ten films. It seemed that there would be no end to this exploitation of the long-suffering Pinhead, until in 2019 it became known that Spyglass Media Group, which also participated in the creation of the new Scream, would undertake a reboot.
But if someone was hoping for a bloody, stylish, exciting, and most importantly, creepy spectacle in the spirit of the original, he risks being very disappointed. In 1987, probably no one could feel the material and convey the necessary atmosphere as well as the author of the novel “Infernal Heart” Clive Barker. As a result, he became the screenwriter and director of its film adaptation.
In an hour and a half, Barker managed to thoroughly shock the audience with his bold and uncompromising splatterpunk show and literally chain him to the screen. He was able not only to dilute the then genre filled with endless slashers with something fresh, but also to create a whole cult. Over time, it will become clear that Pinhead is a real pop culture find.
In the 2022 version of Hellraiser, the authors only manage to irritate and incite hatred for worthless characters in a very long two hours of running time. And it’s not that none of them are able to evoke sympathy due to the lack of revelation of their characters, but that each behaves like an idiot. This especially applies to the main character: while watching, you really want one of the demons to get to the empty-headed girl!
As for the cenobites, these insufferable connoisseurs of hellish torture porn in BDSM clothing, old acquaintances have been joined by new comrades. Some of them look really convincing, like Weeper, who has her arms cut in half, like a character from this year’s Men by Alex Garland. Others, like the Asian girl Gasp, seem more funny than scary.
The main star of this infernal monster team has also undergone certain changes. Pinhead is now a woman (played by transgender actress Jamie Clayton) who doesn’t like walking around with men’s studs on her head, so the demon has more “glamorous” ones instead.
The film works poorly as a supernatural horror and doesn’t work at all as a story. Probably, the plot here can be perceived as a metaphor for fighting one’s own demons, because Riley is a drug addict. But this line is revealed so weakly that it does not play a noticeable role at all. There are some really fun and inventive scenes here – try not to look away when Pinhead sticks one of his pins in the neck of an unfortunate victim. But this is too little for two hours of a boring story with uninteresting characters.
There is also a plot line in the film with a cruel rich man who seeks an audience with the deity and is ready for anything for this. But if you put aside the last scene with his participation, which is really luxurious, this character does not arouse much interest either. So it may happen that the new “Hellraiser” will not become a lifeline for an over-tired franchise, but on the contrary – will drive the last nail into the lid of its cozy coffin.
Pros: several inventive horror scenes, interesting cenobites, a more decent budget and, accordingly, the level of production than in previous parts Cons: overloaded plot and its sluggish development, helpless characters, their stupid behavior, drawn-out, stupid even in the performance of cenobites, full of creative a failure compared to the original film Conclusion:
This reboot was probably not going to compete with the outstanding original. But even apart from it, and somewhat of an improvement over the junk the franchise has become, the film offers too little for horror fans.