hellraiser | hellraiser: judgment | gary j. tunnicliffe | damon carney | randy wayne | alexandra harris | pinhead | cenobite | united states | heather langenkamp | jeff fenter | tony payne | rheagan wallace | helena grace donald | paul t. taylor | sequel
Film: Hellraiser: Judgment
Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Writer: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Starring: Damon Carney, Randy Wayne and Alexandra Harris
For this tenth installment to the Hellraiser franchise, it introduces more new mythology of Pinhead (Paul T. Taylor) as he is out to collect souls for more cenobites. He has a way of deciding who is worthy and depraved enough and who is not. The official synopsis is detectives Sean and David Carter are on the case to find a gruesome serial killer terrorizing the city. Joining forces with Detective Christine Egerton, they dig deeper into a spiraling maze of horror that may not be of this world.
As alluded to above, this story once again introduces something different to this franchise. The beginning of the film shows us Carl Watkins (Jeff Fenter) as he is given a letter that is inviting him to a house. It is there that he meets The Auditor (Gary J. Tunnicliffe). He takes down all of the sins via a typewriter. The Assessor (John Gulager) then eats them and vomits up the contents into a tube where the jury decides. This is three nude women. He is chosen to be a new cenobite and is cleaned then skinned alive.
Running concurrent with this is that there is a murderer known as Preceptor. Murders are being committed to the sins of the Torah. Sean (Damon Carney) is working with his brother, David (Randy Wayne) to try to solve this case. Christine (Alexandra Harris) joins them at the crime scene of a young woman. Randy doesn’t trust her and he thinks she is spying on them. She recommends they go back through the evidence of all the murders, which leads them to the name of Carl Watkins. They check out his apartment, but don’t really find anything. Randy goes back later and finds the address to the house that he was judged. Something interesting happens though when they try to do the same to him.
I will say this film did try to do some different things, but it did run into issues late in the second and beginning of third act. It just becomes a little bit stale and I lost interest. Now the film does well in how it ends, it also has a nice little twist. I just think that the film kind of lost its way a bit when it started out so strong.
The acting for this film left a little bit to be desired. Carney was pretty good as the brother who is struggling with the case. I thought it was a decent reveal about his character in the film. Wayne was okay as his brother who has mental state more together. There’s a different reveal about him which I also didn’t mind. I thought Harris was cute and did well in her role. It was fun to see Heather Langenkamp as the Landlady. She is only in the film for a few seconds though. I did think that Taylor was good as Pinhead and much better than the last actor to play it. Tunnicliffe was also good as The Auditor. The rest of the cast I thought were fine, but no one blew me away.
For this film, I thought the effects were good actually. The blood looked pretty real, which is something you don’t see often for a lower budget. The gore and effects also seemed to be pretty solid as well. I thought the cenobites we see in the film had a good look. Tunnicliffe’s make-up for his role was a bright spot as well.
The film did have some editing issues. I was bored a bit in the middle and also got a bit lost. I thought this one did some interesting things with the mythology, but with Carney going off on his own it lost me a bit. This is an issue we see in films that are this far into the sequels, so that could be part of it. The ending was fine as feels like what Pinhead would do.
The sound design for this film was pretty good actually. I was surprised. I like the use of the song when people are entering the home where The Auditor does his work. There also was some industrial sounding music that had a good touch for what they were going for. I was quite impressed to be honest as well.
Overall, this film is better than many of the sequels that have come out for this series in recent memory. I like the new mythology they are trying to introduce to a series that has quite a bit of entries. The story does lose its way a bit and it is a shame. I don’t know if this was due to the writing or the editing of the film. The acting I thought was okay. Tunnicliffe, Taylor and Harris I thought were all good while Carney and Wayne were solid with the rest of the cast rounding out the film well. The effects of the film were good and a bright spot as well as the sound design. Not the best film in the series, but as I said one of the better installments. If you like the series I’d recommend it. If not, it is a very average film in my opinion. This can be watched without seeing any of the others as it is kind of a standalone film like many of the sequels.
My Rating: 5 out of 10