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What it’s about:

A woman suffering from addiction experiences a major life change after she gains possession of a mysterious puzzle box that summons extra-dimensional beings known as the Cenobites.

Names you might know:

Odessa A’zion (Grand Army) plays the lead Riley. Jamie Clayton (The L Word: Generation Q) is Pinhead.  Adam Faison (Everything’s Gonna Be Okay), Drew Starkey (The Devil All the Time), and Brandon Flynn (13 Reasons Why) play new characters.

Why it’s worth your time:

A more sophisticated re-imagining of the original 1987 film that became a cult classic, Hellraiser’s infamous Pin-Head haunted the minds of a generation. It haunted mine as a kid, and now as an adult watching this remake, it still managed to shock me — despite the films homage to horror films of the 80’s and 90’s.

While other horror film reboots can feel formulaic or overly familiar, Hellraiser takes things up several notches.  First, there’s the story:  Drug addict Riley (A’zion) is struggling with sobriety and trying to keep her life in order when she comes across a mystical puzzle box that summons Cenobites, extra-dimensional demonic beings that require sacrifices for the box until the final puzzle is solved. It tortures Riley, representing her addiction and temptation. New characters are introduced, departing from the original, and their motivations set them up for various perils, adding new layers to the plot.

While the story unfolds slowly, it escalates into some of the most gruesome and brutal kill scenes I’ve seen in a long time, with sound editing that captures each ripping of flesh, a cringe-worthy reminder of why the original was so popular amongst horror lovers. The film builds to a pulse-pounding third act where all the remaining characters are faced with critical decisions. There’s a twist — set up from the beginning, but you almost forget about it — and with it the film ends with a pay-off worthy of horror fans’ approval.

With a bigger budget and up-to-date technology, the Cenobites were all petrifying. These physically-altered beings each had body modifications that represented their obsession/addiction, and you can see the textures of their muscles and ligaments put into every inch of the costumes. The actors portraying the Cenobites move and interact with impending victims in haunting ways, and the new Pinhead, aka the Hell Priest (played by Jamie Clayton), was one of the most terrifying of all, with a modified voice made her that much scarier.

The takeaway:

Hellraiser has the same blood and gore from the original film but ups the ante with new characters, the latest CGI, and creature design to provide enough scares to give you nightmares for a week! Despite the lack of success from the previous sequels, this Hellraiser does not disappoint.

Watch it with:

…the lights on! Trust me, you won’t want to stay in the dark for too long. This film doesn’t rely on jump scares, only the terrifying Cenobites. If you love scary movies of the 80s and 90s, this has got to be on your must-see list of films.

Worth noting:

Caution: This film has sex, gore and bloody scenes that warrant (some would say exceed) it’s R rating.

What to watch after: 

I recommend Bullet Train starring Brad Pitt. It’s heavy with humor and action that will help you recover from the Hellraiser experience so you can sleep peacefully.

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