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Review: ‘Hellraiser: Judgement’ Gives Promise for the Franchise to Continue

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Hellraiser: Judgement Review

In order to give this movie a chance you have to get past the changes that have happened since the first Hellraiser. After all, this is the tenth one. If it wasn’t going to be different then it needn’t have been made. The most obvious change is that Doug Bradley is gone. Pinhead is his character and the idea of replacing him will be a turn off for many. Thankfully, Paul T. Taylor does the character justice, bringing his own interpretation to the part. However, Pinhead is outshone by a new demon, the Auditor. He is the best thing about Judgement.

The beautiful sweeping score of the original has been replaced with an appropriate industrial soundtrack. There are visual references to the first two Hellraisers integrated into the film subtly, for instance S&M imagery and skinless flesh.

It begins by introducing the Auditor, brilliantly played by the film’s director, Gary J. Tunnicliffe. He and Pinhead discuss how the advent of technology has made the idea of a Hell portal box obsolete. They need to adapt with the times. It’s an interesting concept but it isn’t explored enough. Instead the film gets padded out with a much less interesting story.

The Auditor Hellraiser Judgement

If there is one thing that the horror genre doesn’t need it is scenes involving detectives. Focusing on characters who investigate scenes of murder have been so overdone and are almost always boring. They are the reason the Saw films have dropped so low in quality. Unfortunately a large portion of Hellraiser: Judgement is dedicated to a team of police investigators. This worked better in Hellraiser Inferno, mostly because the main character had some charisma. But in Judgement it is the weakest part of the film.

The production design is great, except for the interior of the police station which looks like someone’s living room. The dialogue has never been the strong point of a Hellraiser movie. Here the characters speak the obvious, not letting the audience think for themselves. The conversations between otherworldly and underworldly creatures is much more interesting and should have been the main focus of the film.

Hellraiser: Judgement Pinhead Still

Heather Langenkamp shows up at one point. However her appearance is so short that fans of her work shouldn’t get their hopes up.

Hellraiser: Judgement is much better than it should be for the tenth film in a series which until now has been going downhill. If this is the last one the series has ended on a high note. It’s a new direction that gives promise for the franchise to continue.

The style has changed. It’s much more gross and inventive. The gag inducing imagery and sickening sound design are similar to the Human Centipede and Guinea Pig films. They will stick in your mind long after the movie has finished.

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