The ninth installment of Hellraiser isn't bad for a direct-to-video offering (as the last few films of the franchise has been). I divide the Hellraiser films in two categories; films that develop the mythology of the Cenobites (the creatures that come from the other-world to collect those who solve the puzzle) and films that depict a Hellraiser story. All films have some overlap into each category. The first film in the series establishes the story-type model. The second film is the first to truly explore the mythology. With two types of Hellraiser films, you naturally have two types of fans. I strive to appreciate both types of films for their particular nuances.
The ninth installment is definitely a story-type Hellraiser. A couple of young men travel to Mexico to party, and get more than they bargained for. After struggling with the loss of their sons for months, missing and assumed to be dead, the families of the sons are shocked when one of them appears at their door-step, a bit worse-for-wear but alive. Not everything, however, is how it seems.
|Does this dress make me look fat?|
Like the first film, the story is more about the human-characters than the Cenobites, who are little more than a plot device. In fact, the problem is that the film is almost too much like the first film; an unsavory character cuts a deal with the Cenobites, is taken to the other-world, escapes, then assumes the identity of someone else. The Cenobites track down the escapee, with a young female character being the impetus of his downfall. There are some additional twists, but the story follows the model of the original too closely. Past story-type films provided a different spin, whereas this one does nothing really original with the model.
|Now we don't have to pay her.|
The special effects are great, and the acting is fair. I was disappointed to hear that Doug Bradley would not be reprising his role as Pinhead, but the replacement did a good job. Not as good as Bradley, but good enough. The first-person POV shots were interesting at first, but soon became annoying. My understanding is that this installment came about when the remake of the original fell-through, so it is expected that this would be a hack-kneed job.
If you have never seen a Hellraiser film, then this movie might be enjoyable. Fans of the franchise, if they can forgive its many flaws, might also appreciate the film.
|And this will put some real color in your cheeks.|