YEEEAAAAHHHHH. It feels good to be back. It’s been almost three months since we last opened the Lament Configuration and watched a Hellraiser movie. I mean, I’ve seen a couple existential and nihilistic films since Hellraiser VII: Deader, but man, watching this last ‘Raiser flick is on a whole other level. Hellworld is the eighth and second-to-last bowel movement in the Hellraiser franchise. Released in the same year as its predecessor, I think this movie is the culmination of everything wrong that the later Hellraiser flicks have done.
Hellraiser: Hellworld takes place no discernible time after the previous movies, and honestly, it doesn’t even matter. We’re introduced to an intrepid band of super edgy goth nerds whom are all mourning the loss of their friend Adam. How did Adam pass? Oh, y’know, video games killed him! Pretty topical for 2005. Immediately after Adam’s funeral, they continue to play Hellworld, the Hellraiser-themed MMORPG that allegedly killed their friend because they’re insensitive fucks. Wait, back up. A Hellraiser-themed video game? What the fuck? Is the Hellraiser mythos that popular in this movie world that somebody made a video game about it?
Whatever, it’s not worth trying to fight this movie’s stupitidy.
They all individually beat the game (which usually isn’t possible in games like this, but whatever) and get invited to a secret and private Hellworld Party. It’s a super edgy mid-2000s Hard Rock And Metal Rave™ at a massive mansion owned by The Host (Lance Henriksen, looking for a paycheque). Sex, drugs, and rock and roll ensue in this Bacchanalian party, and this movie be like it do as it slowly picks off our main characters one by one in increasingly stupid and frustrating ways.
Hellraiser: Hellworld starts off by immediately stumbling out the gates with its self-aware bullshit. Not only do our main characters play a Hellraiser video game, but they own t-shirts with Pinhead’s face on them and wear rubber Chatterer masks to spook their friends. This worse than the Halloween movie where Michael Myers buys a fucking replacement mask from a gas station. Hellworld came out nine years after Scream kicked off the meta-horror trend, so Rick Bota (director of this and many other of the late Hellraiser sequels) kind of missed the boat on this one. It comes across as trying way too hard to be hip and edgy and relevant with the youths. Pair it up with the total lack of understanding of internet and gaming culture (which was going pretty strong in the 2000s), and you’ve got a main cast of characters ready to understudy the gang from Hackers.
Honestly, there’s so little for me to write about here. Everything is terrible. From mispronouncing the terms “Lament Configuration” and “Lemarchand’s Box” to the fact that while Pinhead appears, he’s just a hallucination the whole time, to the stupid, stupid, stupid twist at the end, there’s a laundry list of things to hate about this eighth Hellraiser flick, and not much to like. I guess I’ll try and rattle off what I didn’t loathe so this review isn’t just a steaming pile of salt.
Baby Henry Cavill makes an appearance as one of the main characters, which I guess is a plus because it’s always fun to see how big actors almost always get their starts in shitty, low budget horror flicks. Umm… Lance Henriksen is… Lance Henriksen, I don’t think he was really trying, though. He’s probably still living off of royalties from Aliens, so maybe he did this to pay off his new yacht or something. Doug Bradley is back! Still killing it as Pinhead, despite the continued lack of relevancy or screen time. He still dominates the scene whenever he steps foot in frame. Hmmm. That’s honestly about it. Oh, you get to see a couple pairs of boobs. So, y’know, if you’re classy like me then that’s a plus. The rest is undeniably garbage.
Not even hot garbage. This isn’t a so-bad-it’s-good movie, this is just boring, bland, rehashed horror tropes, shitty CGI, and sloppy practical effects. Obviously the writing and acting is terrible as is par for a deep Hellraiser sequel, but every once in a while it dips down even lower in quality. This was made about three months after Deader, and it really shows. They cranked this one out so quick they barely had time to cross check any of what they had written with the established Hellraiser backstory, contradicting themselves and making it up as they go.
My poor reception of the film is magnified by it’s complete subversion of my expectations too. Look at the poster/ DVD cover for this movie. Evil Goes Online. Evil Goes Online. EVIL GOES ONLINE. How greasy sweet would it have been if we got a movie where Pinhead and his Cenobites lived inside the internet?! They’ve already gone to space, and into the past, now in the bright, shiny, futuristic year of 2005, they needed to go online. Not just have a stupid game that is relevant for the first 12 minutes of the movie then is effectively useless to the narrative when our characters go to a generic house party/ rave. Let Pinhead run rampant through the internet. Let this be like Hackers meets Digimon: The Movie meets The Matrix. Fuckin’ A, I want that movie instead of this trash. Somebody get Dimension Films on the horn.
Hellraiser: Hellworld. Totally not worth it. Avoid. At least I only have one more Hellraiser movie to go. Unfortunatey, it’s the worst of the bunch. Strap in, kids.