It's been a very sad week over here at The Girl Who Loves Horror, and in the horror community in general. As you all know, we suffered the loss of one of horror's truly great directors, Wes Craven. He was always my favorite and I am incredibly sad that we won't get to see anymore work that he might have created. I have been honoring him this week in my own way, and still continue to do so, but for now, let's get back to the Hellraiser franchise with this eighth installment, Hellraiser: Hellworld.
In this film, Hellworld is a computer game about the Hellraiser world that a group of friends are addicted to playing. One of them got too deep into the game and committed suicide, for which the rest of them blame themselves. Two years later, they gather again to attend a Hellworld party at a remote mansion with other gamers. The party is put on by the Host, and as the friends explore what the house has to offer, it becomes apparent that Hellraiser might not just be a game after all.
You know, I actually had a partial, fairly positive review for this movie written out before I finished watching it. I had some thoughts that I didn't want to forget so I would pause it and jot some things down, kind of enjoying what the movie was doing and the approach it was taking. Then I got to the reveal at the end and that all went out the window. Once again, we have a Hellraiser movie that wasn't originally written to be a Hellraiser movie and was just adapted into the world, and not very well. The other times I felt that approach worked and they made for some good sequels, but here, I am not digging it.
So the plot goes meta here, where in the world of the movie, the Hellraiser films themselves don't actually exist but the legend or myth of Lemarchand and his box do. BUT THE MOVIE IS NOT REALLY ABOUT HELLRAISER. Or Pinhead, or anything really relating to the franchise at all. Spoiler pretty much right off the bat: the whole thing was a set-up by the dead friend Adam's father to get revenge on the other kids for losing his son. This is a huge disappointment because, like I said, I was actually accepting the whole self-aware aspect that Hellworld had going for it. At this point in the franchise's history, the audience knows what's going on, so here they give that knowledge to the characters and allow them to play around in the world, winking at the audience and saying, "Hey, we're doing something a little different here." But that difference ends up being kind of an insult to the franchise, taking advantage of its fantastical nature to give credence to this dumb story of an angry father and his use of some hallucinatory drug to mess with these kids. And really, that kind of makes me angry and makes me feel very, very cheated.
There were a few things that seemed very out of place and which should have tipped me off to the fact that we were being played with here. As one character, Chelsea, actually points out, nobody opened the box. There wasn't even a box at all (until the stupid ending), so how could all these hellish dream sequences be taking place? Another clue: the first murder isn't even committed by Pinhead or the other Cenobites, but by the Host, Lance Henriksen as Adam's father. The next death does actually involve Pinhead, but it's done by him actually taking a medical blade and decapitating a guy. Pinhead has most assuredly killed a bunch of people by now, but he's never actually physically done it himself, so this definitely made me question the movie a bit more. The filmmakers do plenty of things to trick you into thinking that this is still a Hellraiser movie because of all the odd events that happen and the lack of explanation for them. Something just always feels wrong, though.
You hope that this is just because they have some grand reveal in mind for the end, and while they do, it's not at all what you expect or want it to be. I'm just not buying it, and I don't think many other people did, either. Hellworld is sort of fun to begin with - even though it feels like the rock 'n' roll, music video-like installment in the franchise - and I have to say that the deaths were nice and well executed, although not as elaborate as what we have come to love from Hellraiser. But the ending really makes the whole thing fall apart and lose my respect. Watch it for Lance Henriksen being Lance Henriksen. Because you sure as hell won't get what you want in terms of Doug Bradley or Pinhead. Thumbs down, Hellworld, sorry.
Actually, you should also watch it to see a chick roundhouse kick Lance Henriksen in the face. I don't know where the fuck that came from, but it was hilarious.
Lol ah gutted you didn't like it as much as I did. It's dumb and I love it, but it's not a good movie at allReplyDelete
It's really not that bad of a movie technically, but I can't help that the twist totally ruined it for me!Delete
Weirdly, I didn't mind this one as much as you did. But I'm very partial to both Lance and Kathryn Winnick. Mileage may vary.ReplyDelete
Oh, Lance definitely did a great job here as always, and he helped the movie a lot.Delete
Lo and behold, Hellraiser: The Cliched Slasher Movie! Available in Dollar Bin stores near you!ReplyDelete
I think I should cover this. I really do. But You pretty much took every word from my mouth...^^;
I had been intrigued by Hellworld, but the "twist" sounds super annoying. It sounds like it's basically not a Hellraiser movie at all.ReplyDelete
How could they mess up a Hellraiser movie with Lance Henriksen?
It's really not a Hellraiser movie, they just tried to work an already existing story into the Hellraiser world. It's worked before in the series, but not here, IMO. Lance was supposed to be in the first Hellraiser, I think.Delete
I haven't seen this entry, but I've known about the twist for years. It reminds me of the upcoming Goosebumps movie. We've gotten so Meta that we've traded in our sincerity.ReplyDelete
What's going on with the Goosebumps movie? I'll have to look that up...Delete
Jack Black is playing RL Stine, and the monsters are all escaping from Goosebumps novels. Effectively, they're doing away with all the backstories in favor of "they came out of my imagination."Delete
I'm bummed they didn't go with the original plan of an anthology film.
Ah, poor Lance. He's always good in pretty much everything, so it might be fun to see him interacting with Doug. And the roundhouse kick to the face sounds hilarious. Might see this for cheesy goodness.ReplyDelete
Oh, I definitely recommend watching it for Lance because he is of course awesome! Just don't watch it and expect to see a true Hellraiser story...Delete