Hellraiser: Judgement review by Bobby Blakey
While I admit there have been numerous missteps in the Hellraiser franchise I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a fan. When they talked about doing another entry I was excited until it was revealed that Doug Bradley would not be back in the role of Pinhead. After the disaster of Hellraiser: Revelations with Stephan Smith Collins in the role of Pinhead I thought they had learned their lesson, but the latest Hellraiser: Judgement looks to be trying to reinvent it again.
Hellraiser: Judgement follows three detectives trying to stop a diabolical serial killer who are sucked into a maze of otherworldly horror, where hellish denizens including the Auditor, the Assessor, and the Jury await to pass judgment along with the return of the dreaded Pinhead. Going into any Hellraiser film there are certain expectations with the most important being that Pinhead delivers. There will ever be anyone that can replace the greatness of Doug Bradley in the role, but I was happy to see that Paul T. Taylor does a great job here as the new Pinhead. Unlike Collins in Revelations, he seems to be channeling the same overall vibe of Bradley while still infusing his own take on the famed character. In the most memorable role outside of the always cool Pinhead this time around is Feast trilogy director John Gulager as The Assessor. He speaks little to no dialogue but offers up a grotesque memorable persona and performance.
The story here is just simple enough to keep things moving without bogging it down with too much extra nonsense. I love that it kicked things off running right into the literal meat of it all showcasing Pinhead and the cenobites doing what they do best. There is a gritty low budget tone to this film that takes it back to its roots and offers up plenty of gore to keep the fans happy. They aren’t doing anything overly new in this chapter, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Some of the acting is not all that great and I always hate when they use CGI for the gun shot blasts, but these are minor to the overall flick.
This is one that won’t work for everyone, but just like we have had better entries in the franchise we have also had way worse and I am just happy to see Pinhead back bringing the pain. I am bummed it isn’t Bradley, but if Taylor is to be his successor then at least they got someone that can carry the role well. If you are a fan of the franchise check it out for yourself and make your own decision, but is if you hate these films already then you will likely not like this one either.