This remake raises some Hell.
Before I watched the reboot of “Hellraiser,” I had to travel back in time to see the 1987 version, who was directed by Clive Barker, who adapted his own novella “The Hellbound Heart.” It’s an iconic horror movie that’s requires a puzzle cube that brings the villain Pinhead into the mortal world to raise some Hell. Dare I say it. He’s the leader of an extra-dimensional demonic group known as the Cenobites.
Now we’re in a time when remakes and reboots are required, Hulu releases the remake. And while, this one is a little long, it still pushes itself to new limits. It features a gender-bending Pinhead, people with contraptions inside them, and Gen Z characters who try to break tradition from horror movie characters.
The main heroine, this time, is the young recovering druggie Riley (Odessa A’zion), who helps her boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey) steal something valuable in a shipping container. They’re hoping it’s something money related, but they end up taking the cube.
Her gay brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) has booted her out of his home, because of her behavior. She’s still taking pills, and she thinks he’s just helping her to be the hero, and that’s when he tells her to pack her things and get the F out. Of course, any junkie or drunk would accuse their loved ones on being mean to them, so it’s exhausting. But it doesn’t last long, which is good. But bad considering what she’s getting herself into.
When she opens the cube, a knife pops out, and when Matt finds her, he gets pricked on the cube. And that’s when he gets taken by the Cenobites.
She must find out more about this cube in order to find her brother. She even comes across a mansion that’s protected by bars in the form of the cube, and brings her friends-Trevor, Nora (Aoife Hinds, daughter of Ciaran Hinds), and Colin (Adam Faison)-along to investigate. It really looks impressive, considered the production values and nostalgia to the franchise. And it also makes an ideal place for an evil billionaire (Goran Višnjić) to conjure up the Cenobites.
Speaking of which. The actor who took the cake in the franchise was Doug Bradley as Pinhead, A.K.A. Hellraiser A.K.A. the Hell Priest. This time, the filmmakers decided to make the character a female, because the iconic actor wanted to keep his version as a legacy, and if they kept Pinhead as a male, no male actor could replace him. So, they went with a female actress like Jamie Clayton. She was originally going to be ported by drag performer Gottnik, and that’s probably why Pinhead sounds like a transgender. It’s quite interesting, if you really look at this.
Director David Bruckner, who made last year’s “The Night House,” really sets a vibrant look and feel to the characters and story with the screenplay by David S. Goyer, Ben Collins, and Luke Piotrowski. Even if certain areas go on a little long, there are still challenges that fans may or may not be able to guess. I haven’t seen the whole franchise, so I can’t say definitely.
This has the kind of style and common sense of a horror movie that I looked for and missed in “Smile.” And A’zion does a good job at expressing a druggie finding herself in the horrors, and yet, is able to thrive on coming face-to-face with the Cenobites. I’ve enjoyed the original 1987 movie, and I like this version as well. It’s miles ahead of the 2010 “Nightmare on Elm Street” or even the “Hellboy” reboot. Be grateful for that.
Streaming on Hulu This Friday