Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Hellraiser: Judgment' (2018)
Slightly Better Than 'Inferno'
This installment of the Hellraiser franchise did one thing right. They picked a good actor for Pinhead. That, not surprisingly, is the beginning and the end of my accolades for this movie.
I knew right from the get-go that they'd fuck this movie up. It was in the opening scene where they flaunt their new Pinhead in a clear and shameless attempt to get fanboy squeals out of their audience. But that just proves they still don't remember who their audience is. They lost sight of it with the fourth installment "Timelines" or as I like to call it, "Hellraiser in Space," and it's been a steady downhill from there. They almost got it back with the horribly named "Deader" but still failed to deliver. So they really needed to understand that their fan base is use to and expecting disappointment. I mean, what would be required to redeem the franchise would have to be so perfect, I'm actually shocked that they went for this puddle of mediocrity.
But you could tell they had the right idea, they were on the right road to redemption. The Writer/Director clearly understood the franchise and what it needed to look like, or how it needed to be represented. This movie had the right feel and the right atmosphere. Everything was decaying around the characters. The sets were magnificently detailed with dust, grim, and rot. But that's it. They phoned in the rest.
Let's talk about the three main protagonists. Now, I'm not sure if I can blame this on shit acting or shit writing. All three characters, regardless of how dynamically different they are designed, are portrait exactly the same. There was no difference in style or even tone. All three protagonists are the exact same monotone, film noir, "seems some shit," cop character. Everything from their actions to their dialog is the same. Only their motivations differ but only slightly, and fucked if you could notice anyway.
And this movie really wasn't anything new. Yeah they claimed to be trying a new approach in the marketing, but we've already seen this movie. If you're a die hard follower of the franchise, you'll pick up what I mean long before the movie gets on. I can't really get into it before the spoilers, but needles to say I predicted the twist ending in the first twenty minutes just from how they set it up.
I do not recommend this movie. I don't even recommend it to die hard Hellraiser fan. Maybe it's time we abandon the franchise. They jumped the shark on Hell On Earth, the third installment, and I don't think there's any coming back from that.
This movie is essentially Inferno repackaged. While it doesn't follow the same script, it does follow the same premise and even the basic plot. It follows a cop, who is tracking this serial killer called The Preceptor, and just like Inferno where the cop turns out to be The Engineer, this cop turns out to be The Preceptor. The subtle difference is that the cop in "Inferno" doesn't know he's The Engineer. At the very least the cop in this movie is trying to set an elaborate trap for his partner so they were a little smarter with the writing.
But when I say this movie is only marginally better I mean marginally. It's the fucking high holey attitude of the script. Jesus fucking Christ, at least Inferno followed the slow decay of the cop towards the hell he earned. This movie treats The Preceptor like he's actually on a mission from God... cause he fucking is. You find out The Preceptor is actually full on sanctioned by the big man upstairs. They even have angels thrown into the mix. Fucking angels telling the Hell Priest what to fucking do. Jesus how full of their own shit were they when they fucking wrote this?
And that brings us to the shit hole ending after the fully predictable twist. In proper Pinhead fashion, the movie ends with cast members getting skewered by hooks and chains. Pinhead gets sick of taking orders from an angel and skewers her. That's perfectly fine. But then God apparently punishes Pinhead by banishing him from hell and making him mortal... K... fair enough. Go get the damn box like how you got to be the fucking hell priest to begin with. Fuck sake, not exactly a had to exploit loophole. You found it in the first fucking movie when it was a one of a kind item, and this movies has eight or nine of the fucking things lying around. Just go get another one and be Pinhead again.
Predictable, poorly written, unoriginal, and just flat out preachy. Fuck this movie.