Hi again ghosts and ghouls! I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve talked to you all about some of the latest and greatest in horror.
For those of you that have followed my horror journey over the last 5+ years, you’ll know that there have been quite a few horror movies (long franchises especially) that have played a huge role in shaping who I am as a horror fan. It started with Puppet Master and I believe most recently was the Wishmaster franchise. I kind of have a tendency to hop on the horror bandwagon after everyone else, and I try to enjoy franchises in their entirety long after they’ve already been released.
There was always one franchise that stood out to me as one of the most captivating, mystifying, and uncomfortable series’ in horror history. The Hellraiser franchise has solidified itself as my favorite horror franchise of all time, along with Hellraiser and Hellbound holding spots in my top 10 favorite horror films of all time. The Cenobites are some of my favorite film antagonists to ever exist, and Pinhead holds a very special place in my heart as the Hell Priest, and the ultimate giver of suffering.
My obsession with the Cenobites reached an all-time high a little over three years ago, and I went ahead and got one of Pinhead’s nails tattooed on the back of my neck. The films are permanently with me as a reminder that these movies shaped my love for horror more than any other film series.
With that being said, I’m sure you can all imagine that I’m about to review HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT, the first Hellraiser movie to come out since the disgrace that was Revelations. As the tenth installment in the series, I had high hopes that this could potentially put Hellraiser back on the map as a relevant film franchise again, and younger generations who didn’t know of Pinhead, Female, Chatterer and Butterball would get a chance to be introduced to so many hours of pain and suffering (and in my case, happiness).
I’ll get right into this. JUDGMENT tells the story of three detectives assigned to a case to catch a serial killer who murders his victims in ways that follow the Ten Commandments. Pretty sure this premise has been done before, but okay, we’ll roll with it. Anyways, the one detective gets captured by the Cenobites (in an attempt to throw off the storyline that you inevitably guess about halfway through the film anyway) and becomes completely engrossed by the case, and the Cenobites. Which still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because it’s like shoving two stories together like a Human Centipede and hoping one doesn’t shit all over the other. Spoiler alert: it shits all over itself.
I’m not going to be nice here, everyone. This movie was a hot dumpster fire. The inexplicable disaster that was JUDGMENT left me actually feeling a little bit nauseous, and not because it was visually gross or disturbing. Granted, some scenes are a little out-there and weird (they touch on the topic of pedophiles a few times), but the entire film is shot like an amateur film-student made it. Directed and written by the returning writer from Revelations, this man, Gary J. Tunnicliffe, has almost single-handedly burnt the Hellraiser franchise to the ground, and whoever gave him the rights to make another film after Revelations deserves a slap on the wrist. Or to the face. A good punch to the teeth might do.
Tunnicliffe absolutely destroyed any premise of what the Cenobites should be, coupled with the fact that I think he brings angels into this one? I’m not sure what her purpose was other than to be a blonde woman in half of a shirt who talks about how he’ll be judged if he doesn’t let his victims go. That’s beside the point. I guess. Tunnicliffe also places himself in the film as a stupid, useless character, created only to make you uncomfortable. Granted, it works, but he’s pointless. As most of the film is. Pointless. And bad. Very, very bad.
The story is all over the place. The cinematography is all over the place. It looks like absolute shit.
The one saving grace in this film is the practical makeup actually looked really great. Pinhead looked surprisingly good and the gore was realistic and pretty icky, which is a good thing when making a gory horror film. I really did like how the Cenobites looked (minus Chatterer, who had a mouth that was making chattering sounds but didn’t actually move, which I was a little confused about).
Everything else about this film was awful and really had zero redeeming qualities in my eyes. It really hurts me to have to write a review like this about a franchise that I love so passionately, but when you crap all over something I love, I guess my review will crap all over you too, Gary Tunnicliffe.
I guess I’ll wrap this up here before I go off on a tangent about all of the other mean things I want to say about this movie. I’ve seen a surprising amount of reviews where people say they enjoyed it. I want to ask these people what kind of drugs they’re taking, because I’d like to try them too. – insert long, sad sob here –
HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT is now available to own on Blu-ray, Digital, and DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.