At one time Hellraiser was one of the most original horror franchises to hit the market but with each instalment came a slight dip in quality that sped up very quickly after Part 4. Now we find ourselves on Part 10 of an instalment that has been used, abused, chewed up and spat out by every direct-to-video scriptwriter who adapted their script to “be a Hellraiser film.” With such a stink surrounding it these days what could a 10th instalment offer? Well to start with the early trailer gave us hope but we have had that before haven’t we?
Written and directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, Hellraiser – Judgment follows three detectives: Sean Carter (Damon Carney), his brother and fellow detective David Carter (Randy Wayne), and Christine Egerton (Alexandra Harris) who are investigating a vicious evil serial killer called The Preceptor who is killing people via each of the Ten Commandments.
The film opens with credits reminiscent of American Horror Story and aims to play the gross out card but with shows like Blood Drive on TV these days what people (especially horror fans) expect from their gross out scenes is way above what it used to be. That being said, meeting The Auditor is an interesting moment and how he goes to work is definitely interesting. It does seem that he spends his life in 1990’s Nine Inch Nails music videos though. We also catch a glimpse of the new Pinhead and it is so far so good, let us see some more…
Unfortunately for the next 55 minutes the film turns into a boring SAW/Seven hybrid that drags on for so long! One slight recess from the boredom is Heather Langenkamp‘s 20 seconds on screen as a land lady, then it is back to the sluggish story line again that ends with a twist Chubby Checker sang about years ago.
The final scene though is where all the cards are played. It is soaked in Hellraiser folk lore and both soothes appetites whilst creating desires for a new Hellraiser dish. Jophiel’s (Helena Grace Donald) links to Pinhead and the Order of the Gash remain mysterious and leave threads that could be picked up again in another instalment.
Make sure you stay after the credits too.
Verdict: 5/10. This is definitely a return to the Hellraiser we all know and love but pacing issues in the middle act drag out the plot far more than was needed to. I am looking forward to where they go from here though and have high hopes if those involved develop another Hellraiser movie.