Every horror movie is about pain, but only the Hellraiser series is about sadomasochism – the electricity and torment, the higher calling of it. Hellraiser, a reboot of the franchise that began in 1987 and has given us nine sequels (time flies when you imagine being tortured for fun), is a film that captures the transgressive streak of Clive Barker’s novella of 1986 honors. The heart of hell.” But it’s a long time coming for the new Hellraiser to get what fans of the series would call the good stuff. When it does, however, the film doesn’t hold back. Flesh is torn and skinned, flesh is peeled and sliced, flesh is torn wide with mystical mechanical devices. The film’s brutal final act might remind you of such queasy milestones in cinematic mayhem as Audition, The Cell, the Saw series, 2018’s remake of Suspiria, and David Cronenberg’s recent return to body horror.” Crimes of the Future.”
But even before it reaches that lurid under-the-skin climax, the new Hellraiser might be considered one of the more perverted horror movies in recent memory. It’s a walk-on-the-wild-side horror movie being released by Disney, and if you’re wondering how Disney – apart from the fact that they own everything in sight, including Hulu, the platform that ” Hellraiser” – would now associate his brand with a horror series devoted to the nightmarish assertion of outré sexuality, the answer is: “Hellraiser” actually feels like a Disney movie for most of its two-hour run… except for those moments when it seems taken over by the spirit of the Marquis de Sade.
What sets the characters apart – Riley (Odessa A’zion), who’s like a rebellious liturgical major, plus her dimwitted boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey), her overprotective brother Matt (Brandon Flynn), and his friend Colin (Adam Faison) – as ” Disney Characters” is that they don’t have any of the hidden edges or flourishes of the characters in, say, “Bodies Bodies Bodies”. They are youth film ciphers; they have almost no self-interest. For an hour or so as it builds things up, the film is almost deadly. The characters here are really walking meat wardens. The film could also have been called “Bodies Bodies Bodies (with Chain Hooks)”.
Then again, the Hellraiser movies were never worth much in that regard. Pinhead, the show’s solemn S&M ringleader/esthete/guru (his white bald head with his checkerboard lines and perfectly ordered rows of pins was like a sinister art installation), became a perverted Freddy Krueger character, an unholy mascot of megaplex terror. But who remembers or cares about the people they infected with their pleasure-pain virus?
In the new “Hellraiser,” Pinhead – better known as the Hell Priest – arrives with a team of other spirit-demons of the Kink, who bring new meaning to the phrase “exposed body parts” (one of whom has had a spine laid). open as if someone is operating on it). One saunters around like an out-of-space geisha, one is like a robot with the rictus grin of the nun’s jaws, and one resembles a Francis Bacon portrait of a mouth frozen in mid-scream. As for Pinhead, he’s been transformed into a soft, creepy doll version of himself, with starchild eyes and a voice made of sexually ambiguous velvet. Having the Priest of Hell now played by an actress, Jamie Clayton, brings the film closer in some ways to the spirit of Barker’s novel. But while Pinhead and his fellow Ghosts are lurking around, they’re such a valuable group of creatures that I half-expected to hear someone say, “Collect all five.”
The film stops whenever they do are not on screen as the only plot seems to be Riley’s desire to get her brother back after he was absorbed into the cosmic pain sphere. Trevor, who may know more than he’s letting on, says things like, “How did you get it to change from the cube to this?” He’s, of course, talking about Lemarchand’s Box, the engraved mechanical puzzle box that bears the emblem of the ” Hellraiser” series is – it separates pain from pleasure and takes your soul to a new world. Even the tricky logistics of the crate is in a way a metaphor. It starts out as a cube that, if you click the right buttons and turn the right corners, will reveal its hidden parts and rearrange it, at which point it’s no longer square. Just as you are no longer square once you get a taste for kicks twisted into forbidden shapes.
The new “Hellraiser” works as a metaphor, as a flesh-destroying spectacle. But it doesn’t work as a story. And maybe that’s because the film’s vision of pain-free sensuality as a one-way ticket to the inferno is a bit dated. The movie wants to take you to hell and back, but these days that sounds like something you’d find in a hook-up app.
https://variety.com/2022/film/reviews/hellraiser-review-clive-barker-1235393339/ Hellraiser Review: The World’s Most Outlandish Disney Movie