Hellraiser (2022, David Bruckner)

The latest reboot is a Hulu Original from Serbia – not promising, but we only get one Hellraiser movie every five or six years now, so better give it a shot. Does a good job following current trends: it’s too long (the longest Hellraiser by far), the dialogue gets buried under bassy music/fx, it’s got trans representation, gay characters quoting Lord Byron, and young people with trauma.

New box, new rules – box has six configurations, solver has to make six sacrifices then can choose from six rewards. Playboy art dealer (not that one) has box in prologue, prays to Leviathan and disappears. Years later, drug addict’s new bf, secretly working for art dealer, leads her to box. Conveniently for the box’s rule of sixes, we’ve got nearly that many characters: addict, her bf, her brother, his bf, their weirdly loyal roommate. Brother goes first, the movie showing us glimpses of demons and shifting walls then vanishing the kids offscreen, then we get a freebie sacrifice by visiting the art dealer’s box-supplier in hospital, then goes the roommate, then another freebie as she stabs a cenobite (!). Perhaps I lost count, but the traitor goes to hell, the man hiding in the walls ascends and is flayed into a rad cenobite, and the addict chooses life and walks away.

From the director of Night House and writers of Super Dark Times. Lead girl is from one-take horror Let’s Scare Julie, the brother is from a couple TV movies where he plays guys who are too powerfully handsome, his bf from a Scooby Doo spinoff prequel, her bf an American Animal, the art dealer from Elektra, the roommate is Ciaran Hinds’ daughter, original box-deliverer was in the latest Blade Runner, and head hell-priest cenobite from Neon Demon.

Charles Bramesco on twitter:

There’s no belief in pleasure here, Barker’s conflicted psychosexual overtones replaced by the deadening, simply opposed evils of drugs. Instead of a perverse negotiation of desires, everything is motivated by the logistics of getting poked by a box. And for the love of god (a malevolent giant rhombus, as we all know), will someone turn on a fucking light and let me get a good look at the clearly labored-over cenobite designs.


This needed to be way hornier. Hellraiser movies work better when they’re about getting a bit carried away with your kink than when they’re about some monkey’s paw thing, or owning the cenobites with facts and logic.

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