Monday, July 26, 2010

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

Director: Rick Bota
Notable Cast: Lance Henriksen, Katheryn Winnick, Christopher Jacot, Khary Payton, Henry Cavill, Doug Bradley

The Hellraiser franchise has once again spiraled downwards since the impressive Inferno leading into this eighth installment entitled Hellraiser: Hellworld. Although the concept of the puzzle box and mythology of the hell it raises becoming an online video game fad might seem interesting, the film comes off as a rather stale and poor attempt to intertwine the Hellraiser universe into a low brow slasher. There are moments that prove that this could have been an interesting installment for the franchise, for some it still might be, but the rest is face palm inducing silliness and haphazardly strewn together concepts that never finds a pulse.

A group of late teen/early twenty year olds find themselves addicted to a new online computer game called Hellworld. This game is based on the puzzle box of legend and when these youngsters finally finish out the computer game, they get a special invitation to a Hellworld party hosted by an illusive expert (Henriksen) on all things puzzle box oriented. Soon though these young people find themselves at the mercy of hell like visions of demons and are slowly getting knocked off one by one.

Originally the script for Hellworld wasn't meant to be a Hellraiser film and its pretty obvious that the rewrites adding in Pinhead, his cohorts (whom we only see briefly), and general story line threads to the series are kind of just thrown in. In fact, this film feels more like a poor haunted house story than it does a Hellraiser film at all. Throw in a few Pinhead shots and we're good right? Not this time guys. It may have worked slightly better last time, but you can't fool me twice. In fact, it's hard not to say that this film isn't worse off for being converted into a Hellraiser sequel. There are some fun ideas in play here, but being part of this franchise comes with some lofty expectations with it and it hinders the entire experience. Instead of being a mediocre slasher, Hellworld ends up being a worse sequel. If that makes sense.

Throw on top of a poorly pieced idea and a script that rarely makes sense (although the ending 'supposedly' takes care of any continuity fuck ups but ends in more questions than it actually answers) that has some sincerely poor dialogue and even worse acting from our main stars. Henriksen excluded since he always carries some charisma of sorts. The directing is your average point and shoot style based on the teeny-bopper slashers of the 90sand early 00s and we rarely feel like we are descending into the hell we should be, but just a hell of direct to video suck.

Hellworld is a film that couldn't decide what it wanted to be. It's a Hellraiser film. No, it's a haunted house film. It's a revenge thriller. It's a slasher. It just never blends any of them together in any way that makes sense and ends up a jumbled up mess. That leaves the audience confused, disoriented, and slightly pissed off. That's how I felt by the time the film quit dragging on and finally ended.

BONUS RANT: What's with all the random nudity and sex in this film? It's seriously thrown in for shits and giggles in this film and really has no place in a film that should be taken seriously. Another reason it feels more like a low budget B-slasher instead of a thoughtful look at desires that this series is known for. It gives new meaning to needless padding for the sake of being 'edgy'. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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