The Hellraiser franchise is one that has long been languishing in the underworld of direct to DVD follow-ups. It is a franchise that has its fans thanks to the undoubtedly rich and deep mythology at its centre, depicting a sadomasochistic realm of hell that is maintained by the iconic priest of hell Pinhead and his Cenobites. Clive Barker’s creations have certainly left their mark on horror iconography, but it has undoubtedly been somewhat watered down by a barrage of low budget sequels that have largely only been made so that the rights holders can maintain their hold on said rights by making a film every so many years.
There are rumblings of Barker returning for a reboot in the near future, but until then, there are still some low budget sequels to get to, with Hellraiser: Judgment being the latest to reach UK audiences, despite having been made nearly three years ago. It is the tenth instalment, and while it has long franchise-serving special effects artist Gary J. Tunnicliffe in the director’s chair, it is strictly only for the die-hard fans who are willing to go to hell and back for Pinhead and his fellow denizens of the hell dimension.
The film riffs on the concept of Se7en by largely following a trio of detectives, brothers Sean (Damon Carney) and David (Randy Wayne) and new to the case Christine (Alexandra Harris), who are investigating a series of murders based on The Ten Commandments. As they probe deeper into the unspeakable evils of this killer, who has been dubbed The Preceptor, they unwittingly step into a world not of this Earth, populated with the harvesters of souls that are Pinhead and his Cenobites.
Full review over at Filmhounds Magazine, originally published February 10th 2021.