Hellraiser is back with a reboot/reimagining based on the original 1987 Clive Barker horror film which is also a adaption of 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart. The Cenobytes make a return as angels of sensation and pleasure beyond human comprehension. Riley is sought after by the Cenobytes after she is caught up in a family dispute and finds herself in the possession of a mysterious puzzle box.
This re-adaptions plot takes Riley, who is participating in a 12 step program, on a mission to find her missing brother Matt while losing the people around her. Riley has a knack for being somewhat irresponsible in the company she chooses, drugs she takes and her low income job she has. This puts her at odds with her concerned and somewhat overbearing older brother Matt which sparks the series of events that come next. Due to Riley's habits, the 2 have a argument and is kicked out when tensions reached their peak which prompts Riley to hit the streets and sleep in her car. With puzzle box in her position and drugs in her system, Riley solves the puzzle but misses the blood sacrifice and ends up spilling Matt's blood when he comes to find her. With Matt sacrificed, Riley must now save her brother by unlocked the mystery behind the object that is her only clue to his disappearance. Rileys reasons for her hunt made sense but my issue with the writing was the lack of convincing the audience she would go through the problem of getting him back. Show and convince us deep down she loves him prior to losing him. I can't see her working against demon creatures and certain death to save a brother she resents.
Riley is a edgy young woman, a bit on the careless side and doesn't take life as serious her brother would like. It takes her brothers disappearance for her to get it together, all in the name of love. Trevor is Riley's love interest and plot device that ends with the puzzle box in her possession. He comes off caring, and the voice of reason to alot of her brash decisions. Not much to say about Matt as he is just plays his protective role and becomes Cenobyte fodder but that's most of the cast here. Let's get to the reason we are here though, the Cenobytes! The unholy angels make their appearance 1 by 1 in such a creepy yet lazy way that rings home to their style of stalking. Their designs are a modern take of the old characters who were more white and black on color with more leather. Pinhead is a female which calls back to the novella which had him with a more feminine voice rather than the deep throaty version in the original films. Expect all the almost masochistic body torture, skin ripping, needles and blood that the Cenobytes display on their bodies like before. Most of the cast felt like Cenobyte fodder since they were not
Hellraiser has a nice nostalgic 80's and early 90's horror movie feel and look to it that I appreciated. The Cenobytes appearance always changed the scenery to welcome the other dimension in its dark blues and shadowy interiors. You become immersed and almost feel a sense of being trapped with nowhere to hide with the victims. Only thing cutting the tension is the lazy way Cenobytes stalk victims but that's their style for the last 35 years. There isn't alot of daylight which is welcome to set the tone for this dark and gritty hellish of horror fest.
Do you like teeth chattering? Do you like the sound of slow foot dragging steps? How about hard breathing? The sound production is top notch as you get just about every creepy sound note possible from each Cenobyte. The kills bring is the sounds of chains and tearing fleshing the most uncomfortable way. Closing your eyes during these scenes won't save you from the gruesome nature of each torture since the sound is great enough to paint a picture of what is happening in the scenes.
As a horror movie, Hellraiser has been more about design and aesthetic for me so the typical parts of the genre haven't been what I expected. This movie keeps the formula the same. There's a flaw to it as the slow paced chases do not capture the suspense and fear viewers should feel from seeing creatures with gory designs that cenobytes have. Cenobytes move like runway models from hell if that's your thing, more to view than fear. Bottom line, Hellraiser does gore well without being too over the top for those that don't care for disfigurement.
Plot - 7
Characters - 4
Visuals - 7.5
Sound - 9
Horror - 4
Total score - 6.5