Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)


REVIEWER RATING: 
5/10


It's been a good seven years since we last had to suffer through a Hellraiser sequel, but the studio just keeps cramming these unwanted additions to the long-running series down our throats in an attempt to hang onto the franchise rights. Though unlike the last sequel, this movie actually started out as something else entirely, as FX guru-turned-writer/director Gary Tunnicliffe tried years to get his own Hellraiser-inspired project off the ground to no avail. The studio eventually reached out to the guy, who was able to throw in Pinhead and Chatterer into the mix, essentially turning it into a Hellraiser movie.

The film opens up with discount Pinhead talking to a new character named The Auditor about having to change their ways to gather victims since technology has made things a bit more difficult for them as of late. Now, instead of people simply "opening the box" a note will be left for guilty people telling them to go to a certain address for a "reward." So Pinhead has now essentially resorted to spamming to get new victims, like one of those dubious emails from a newsletter you didn't sign up for asking you to visit a link: "We have such sights to show you, please click here to open the box and verify your account..." But anyway, I digress.



The Auditor basically sits the guilty party down and has them recount their sins and types it all up on his poorly inked typewriter before passing it on to someone named The Assessor, who proceeds to eat the paper (WTF?) and then it gets passed on to some naked big-breasted ladies with skin missing on their faces, who then licks the person clean and prepares them for an obese man named The Butcher and his little buddy called The Surgeon, and oh man this is all getting hard to follow... Anyway, as the film's title suggests, these guilty peeps are being judged and dealt with by these otherworldly beings who aren't exactly Cenobites, but they kinda fit somewhere in the same underworld, I guess, like they're all sharing same apartment building or something.

Meanwhile, discount Pinhead is shown several times leaning against a block wall and looking as though he's in deep thought or reflecting back on his life. It's not until later on when someone messes with the Lament Configuration that quasi Pinhead decides to get up off his ass and do something. As expected, Doug Bradley once again turned down the chance to play Pinhead (he probably read the script) and instead of getting Great Value Pinhead to come back for a second round, the filmmakers opted to once again recast the role and brought in actor Paul T. Taylor, who tries his damnedest to bring back the serious intensity of the role made popular by Doug. While nobody will ever top the original, Paul does a fairly decent job, even trying hard to somewhat mimic the original voice.



My biggest issue with the movie is the fact that it simply doesn't look or feel like a Hellraiser movie. In fact,  had Pinhead not even shown up I'd say that it was just another underground no budget horror flick, because that's pretty much what it felt like. Next to that the pacing is just terrible, made even worse by these unlikable characters that we're forced to follow around the entire movie. It was honestly a real struggle to stay awake by the end, especially with the poor twist thrown at us and the shitty final scene.

On the plus side, I did actually like some of these new characters, like The Auditor, who was actually in the movie the most when compared to the other villains. I also liked the concept of these people being judged and going through different beings and stages of punishment. The blood is also decent, along with the fact that they pretty much kept everything practical and didn't rely much on CG effects (not that it was really needed anyway).

Hellraiser: Judgment offers some interesting new characters and ideas, but fails to really explore or explain much beyond what little we're shown. Aside from that the movie doesn't even feel like a Hellraiser film, as it could have easily been passed off as another underground no-budget horror movie had discount Pinhead not shown up. In the end, the poorly-paced film is what you'd expect from a rushed low budget sequel, down to the overused sets and dreadful script, but at least they tried to do something a little different this time 'round.
OVERALL: 
Hellraiser: Judgment offers some interesting new characters and ideas, but fails to really explore or explain much beyond what little we're shown. Aside from that the movie doesn't even feel like a Hellraiser film, as it could have easily been passed off as another underground no-budget horror movie had discount Pinhead not shown up. In the end, the poorly-paced film is what you'd expect from a rushed low budget sequel, down to the overused sets and dreadful script, but at least they tried to do something a little different this time 'round.