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  • Writer's pictureMatthieu Côté

HELLRAISER Review: A Satisfying Return For "Pinhead"

I didn't grew up as a fan of Clive Barker's Hellraiser, in fact I saw the original 1987 film for the very first time last night in preparation of the new remake by David Bruckner. This is part of my "31 Days Of Horror" that I will be covering soon on the website: I am watching one new horror film each day during the month of October. I loved the 1987 version that I saw yesterday, a bloody good fun with impressive practical effects. It was time to see what they did with the remake...

Synopsis: "A take on Clive Barker's 1987 horror classic where a young woman struggling with addiction comes into possession of an ancient puzzle box, unaware that its purpose is to summon the Cenobites."

The new Hellraiser pays homage to the original with its brutality on-screen & creativity behind the camera, it's a glorious new take on Pinhead & the Cenobites. Thrilling & exciting in parts, I didn't think it was a complete triumph but it's still pretty frickin' rad. They really manage to find their own identity in the 2nd half and once they get there, it doesn't let go.

It's not as metal as 1987's Hellraiser, but at some point they get to an abandoned manor (I won't go into details) and the whole movie becomes so much more interesting, delving into its horror roots and making smart use of an exciting location with creepy & effective results. I got strong "Resident Evil" vibes from that moment on and it doesn't disappoint.

The main characters & storyline are not exactly captivating and they decided to go with a 2-hour runtime which might hurt the film a little bit in parts. They do make an effort creating a backstory for Riley (Odessa A'zion) our protagonist, for that reason I think there is some emotional core and something to chew on for a legitimate payoff. At the end of the day, the real stars are Pinhead & the Cenobites. The casting of Jamie Clayton as Pinhead (The Priest) is quite brilliant, I love the work they did with the mix of CG & practical effects, her voice is chilling and just the sight of Pinhead lurking in the background creeps me out.

It's been a great year for horror in 2022 and it's fair to say that we can add this new iteration of Hellraiser in the win column. A scary & gory throwback to the genius of Clive Barker with a modern spin on it. It has that polished & digital look most modern horror films have these days which is a contrast to the original, but I think the cinematography was inspired, although a bit dim at times. Some nightmarish imagery will stick in my head and that's something fans of this universe will most likely appreciate.

Initial Score: 7.5/10

Hellraiser is now streaming on Hulu.

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