Movie Review: Hellraiser (2022)

A reboot of the series of films by the same name, Hellraiser is a 2022 horror film directed by David Bruckner and based on The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. Recovering drug addict Riley (Odessa A’zion) soon comes into possession of a mysterious puzzle, which summons multiple deformed and demonic presences when each stage is solved. Riley, with the help of her boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkley), her brother Matt (Brandon Flynn), Matt’s boyfriend Colin (Adam Faison) and their friend Nora (Aoife Hinds), seeks to solve the puzzle box and avoid a seemingly fated confrontation with a Hell Priest with pins in its head (Jamie Clayton).

+ I found Riley to be a huge anti-hero, and I was never once rooting for her in this game of life and death. All of her friends were far nicer people than she was, and I was frustrated that she was the protagonist. However, this is listed as a positive because I think that was intentional. I wasn’t familiar with any of the actors themselves, so I felt I was able to judge the characters on their actions
+ the Cenobites are portrayed somewhat differently from their previous film appearances – physically, obviously, but also their interactions with humans. They seem to have a mild fascination with the humans, rather than direct contempt, and The Priest/Pinhead seems content to give the humans some leeway to ensure the Cenobites get what they want. I enjoyed this, and it was a welcome difference from the original film
+ obviously there are some fun kills, but frankly this was not nearly as gory as I was led to believe it would be. I would even argue that the opening scene from the 1987 movie (Frank being hooked) was more grotesque than anything here

– the plot is very obvious at times, with the twists and turns being something you’ll pick out well in advance. I don’t think anyone will be surprised watching this movie

> the only observation I would make about The Priest is about it’s voice, only because no amount of reverb effect will make Jamie Clayton sound anywhere near as menacing as Doug Bradley. But this is just a difference, and different is not always worse

Should you see this film: I liked this a lot more than I thought I was going to. It was too different to the original film to do a direct comparison, but it was what you would call a ‘2022 update of a 1987 horror movie’ and all that entails. If you’re a fan of the series, there is nothing to turn you off here.

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