Hellraiser Judgment: A Damning Review!

Hellraiser Judgment: A Damning Review!

Scified2018-02-15 13:31:23https://www.scified.com/articles/hellraiser-judgment-a-damning-review-47.jpg
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Hellraiser: Judgment is the tenth movie in the painfully long Hellraiser franchise, which is written by, directed by and starring Gary J. Tunnicliffe, a British special make-up effects artist, screenwriter, and director. Released direct-to-video February 13th, 2018, Judgment is also the second Hellraiser movie, after 2011's Hellraiser: Revelations (also written by Tunnicliffe) to not feature British actor Doug Bradley as the franchises antagonist the Hell Priest or Lead Cenobite, more commonly recognized in popular culture as Pinhead. Replacing Revelations' much-criticized Stephan Smith Collins, Paul T. Taylor tries his best to emulate Bradley's iconic portrayal of one of Hollywoods most underrated horror movie villains.

From the movies opening moment's one thing is made abundantly clear, although fans will find themselves enduring the movies tired premise in the vain hope that this truth is but a falsehood - This is not a Hellraiser movie. Although the Hell Priest does appear sparingly throughout (accompanied by a non-chattering Chatterer, the Stitch Twins and a collection of Lament Configurations) the movies primary antagonistic focus is on Tunnicliffe's addition to the series, the Stygian Inquisition. This peculiar group of souls process guilty souls in a peculiar manner - the accused is interviewed by the Auditor (portrayed by Tunnicliffe himself), who types their sins in their own blood onto sheets of paper. These pages are then eaten by The Assessor, who then regurgitates them into a trough where they are felt by The Jury (three topless women with mutilated faces). If the verdict is guilty the accused is bound to a large slab before being stripped and licked cleaned by the Cleaners (three aged naked women), before having their skin removed by the Surgeon - a gas mask wearing gimp (think Metal Gear Solid's Psycho Mantis) with savage blades that appears from the back of the Butcher, a large, obese man who is vaguely reminiscent of Leatherface from the classic chiller the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

As interesting as the Stygian Inquisition may be to fans of gore, the whole process, while darkly imaginative is out of place in a Hellraiser movie. The Lament Configuration, AKA the puzzle box is a simple and ambiguous object sought by those looking for experiences beyond those available in the mortal world. The mystery of the box and the vague promises suggested to be within is what makes it one of Hollywoods greatest treasures. Had the Cenobites not been in this movie it would have been a half interesting standalone horror movie, but as a Hellraiser movie, it falls very short of the mark of what fans of the Order of the Gash, explorers of pleasure and pain, have been waiting so long for - a fitting sequel to the first two installments.

Macabre antagonists aside, the bulk of Hellraiser: Judgment tells the story of three cops tracking down a serial killer calling himself the Preceptor, who has been killing victims in line with the Ten Commandments. If you are thinking this sounds eerily like David Fincher's Se7en, its because it is a blatant rip-off; even the movies opening credit sequence emulates that of Fincher's cult classic, complete with a sub-par emulation of Nine Inch Nails' Closer Precursor remix. The movies somewhat restrictive budget limits the sets constructed to a small handful which does add to the movies claustrophobic feeling, but when viewed all too often through a shaky handheld camera with an overbearing use of sepia lighting and color gradation with only the minimal use of a music score, the movies pace slows to a crawl making the reveal that one of the cops investigating the murders is in actuality the murderer a welcome relief that the movie is drawing to a close, until you realize we have seen all of this before, and within the same franchise no less - the fifth movie of the franchise - 2000's Hellraiser: Inferno which starred Craig Sheffer (Nightbreed) and was directed by Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange).

Finally, towards the conclusion of the movie, we are introduced to Jophiel an angel in human form, much similar to how they are depicted in the long-running cult TV phenomenon Supernatural. Hardcore fans of the original Hellraiser will remember the Hell Priests immortal words to Kirsty Cotton "Demons to some, Angels to others", which inferred that Hell was not a place, but a point of view. Jophiels inclusion may have suited a movie solely about the Stygian Inquisition, but serves no purpose being in a Hellraiser movie.


In summary Hellraiser: Judgment is a bizarre, low budget cross-breed of Se7en and Hellraiser: Inferno, with the addition of a new order of characters that should really exist within their own, separate franchise. Fans will, of course, miss Doug Bradley in the role, but it has to be said that Taylor does a much more admirable job than what we were subjected to in Revelations. Overall Judgment is watchable, but only for the inclusion of the Stygian Inquisition. Auditor and co. aside, most fans would probably prefer Hellraiser: Inferno's slightly better acting and marginally bigger budget visuals. Sadly, the truth is that instead of Judgment we should have had a reboot penned by Clive Barker himself, but for the foreseeable future, it looks as though studio Dimension Films is going to continue drip feeding horror fans micro-budget Hellraiser sequels up to every six years so as to retain the rights to the intellectual property.

Written by GavinPublished on 2018-02-15 13:31:23
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3 Fan responses to Hellraiser Judgment: A Damning Review!


NoobMember49 XPFeb-16-2018 9:17 AM

Nice review, but (forgive me) I'm a copy-editor, and you could improve your English for clarity. When you talk about a 'movies opening moment's' you are talking about the qualities of the movie, so it is possession, so 'movie's' - and 'moments' is not possession, so no apostrophe needed. Also, names of actors and directors should not be in italics, but names of movies should be: David Fincher, Se7en. I may be annoying, but your articles will be more professional if you follow the accepted rules ;) (disarming wink)....


NoobMember49 XPFeb-16-2018 9:18 AM

...nice review though, makes me want to go back and watch the original Hellraiser and sequel....


LegendMember9516 XPFeb-16-2018 9:35 AM

Grammar, as with spelling is dependent upon which countries language you use. The bulk of our audience is from the US, so as such we write in US English. Unfortunately, I am British and thus must rely on Grammarly to translate accordingly. Ideally, we would have a copy editor to double check everyone's articles, but being as the staff here on Scified (including the admins) are all unpaid volunteers, none of us have the time to take on such a role.

Glad you enjoyed the review though, more than I enjoyed the actual movie it seems.

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