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Hellraiser (2022) – Overall review and feedback!




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The 2022 “Hellraiser,” the horror franchise reboot, often resembles an artful and over-produced tribute to “Hellraiser,” Clive Barker’s kinky and sometimes genuinely nightmarish 1987 shocker. The halting pace, scattered focus, and potent ghastliness of Barker’s movie reflects its nature as Barker’s feature directorial debut, a decent adaptation of his 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart. Watching the original “Hellraiser” still feels like happening upon a profane, if by now familiar, event. In that movie, Barker introduces readers to the Cenobites, a race of God-like sadists who threaten their human victims with sensual experiences far beyond their (or our) tired understanding of pleasure and pain. The new “Hellraiser” evokes Barker’s original adaptation in the same way a good cover song recalls its source material: with love, intelligence, and an inevitably crushing sort of redundancy. Nobody really needs “Hellraiser,” but it can sometimes be fun anyway, especially if you haven’t seen “Hellraiser” in a while. This “Hellraiser,” made 35 years and nine sequels after the original, feels dutiful and staid where Barker’s version reflected his unique sensibility and preoccupations. The cleverest additions to the “Hellraiser” canon will only be apparent to established fans since the makers of the latest movie awkwardly graft a sometimes-inspired monster movie onto the back of a trauma-focused character study. Riley (Odessa A’zion), a grieving former addict, runs into the Cenobites while chasing after her missing brother Matt (Brandon Flynn), who previously scolded Riley for sticking with her sketchy boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey). Director David Bruckner (“The Night House,” “The Ritual”) and co-writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski’s devoted retread does not, however, meaningfully connect the Cenobites with Riley or her character-defining certainty that she’s the target of forces that are well beyond her control. She’s right, of course, and so is Matt, who disappears soon after he and Riley have a bad falling out. They argue about Riley’s erratic behavior, which really means her relationship with cavalier Trevor, who drinks around Riley despite her being participation in a 12-step program.