Blu-ray Review: Hellraiser: Judgment
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Hellraiser: Judgment
Blu-ray | DVD
Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Screenwriter: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Randy Wayne, Rheagan Wallace, Paul T. Taylor, Damon Carney
Distributor: Lionsgate
Not Rated | 81 Minutes
Release Date: February 13, 2018

Hellraiser: Judgment is the 10th (!) film in the horror franchise, a series that once dripped of promise. The original film, which celebrated its 30th birthday last year, was written and directed by Clive Barker, adapted from his own novella The Hellbound Heart. The original quickly became a horror classic and spawned a great sequel in Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), and subsequently two more theatrical sequels, each with diminishing returns. The series fell into direct-to-video territory as the new millennium arrived, but at least iconic Doug Bradley remained as lead Cenobite, Pinhead. That was until the awful 2011 Hellraiser: Revelations, a film which Bradley passed on, made solely to keep the Hellraiser property at Dimension Films.

Hellraiser: Judgment debuted a pretty cool trailer and looked a lot more promising than what Hellraiser fans have come to expect from this once great franchise. Gary Tunnicliffe, an acclaimed makeup and effects wiz, wrote several Hellraiser shorts before scripting Revelations, and now serves as a jack-of-all-trades on this one. Judgment debuted on Blu-ray and digital last week, and while not a great film, it far surpasses Revelations, as well as the other direct-to-video sequels.

More below.

Hellraiser: Judgment introduces fans to some intriguing new characters and bizarre motivations behind the Cenobites. Whereas usually hapless victims seeking ultimate pleasures open the Lament Configuration puzzle box unknowing of the horrors they’ll encounter, here evil souls are harvested by The Auditor (Tunnicliffe in legit scary makeup). He is step one on a bizarre and disgusting process that readies victims for Pinhead (Paul T. Taylor). It’s a Hellraiser movie so expect some gross-out effects. The story, however, keeps the Cenobites and “hellraising” in the background as we follow a Se7en-style serial killer investigation led by brothers in arms Sean & David Carter (Damon Carney & Randy Wayne). Sean, the older brother, is a recovering drunk and has a ton of issues and it’s dreadfully apparent the case is bringing him in way too deep.

Sean has an encounter with The Auditor and his team of nasties, which further scars him and haunts him as the killer’s clues get stranger and victims pile up. There is far too much serial killer crime drama here and not nearly enough Pinhead/Cenobite level violence. The sequels post Part 4, (the underrated Hellraiser: Bloodline), all focus far too much on boring human stories rather than what the fans want, which is unbridled Hellraiser gore. Barker’s first two are classics for that reason. The 2000s d-t-v crap were all taken from stock scripts and adjusted to include Pinhead and this feels at times along those lines. What saves the film for me at least was a unique twist ending and some obvious, yet fun callbacks to the earlier and better films. There’s also a blink and you miss her cameo from my personal favorite scream queen, Heather Langenkamp.

Hellraiser: Judgment was better than I expected primarily because I had no expectations. If you’re a die hard Hellraiser fan or a franchise completist, this is a perfectly acceptable way to kill off 80+ minutes. The Blu-ray has deleted and extended scenes as well as a gag reel. I don’t know why, but watching Cenobites stumble through lines and break on camera was really funny. Look for Hellraiser: Judgment wherever Blu-rays are sold. Check out the trailer here below.


HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT (2018) Exclusive World Trailer Premiere HD

Experience a terrifying new chapter in the legendary Hellraiser series when Hellraiser: Judgment arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD, Digital, and On Demand February 13 from Lionsgate. The tenth film in the classic horror series tells the story of three detectives as they struggle to solve a horrifying murder, but instead find themselves thrust into the depths of Pinhead’s hellacious landscape. Including horror icon Heather Langenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare), it was written and directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe (Hansel & Gretel).

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