Hellraiser (2022) starts off slow. However, once the film settles in, it erupts with blood, gore, and a gripping story — even if it is a bit predictable. Hellraiser might not be perfect, but for those who love the franchise, or just horror in general, it is definitely worth checking out.
This movie is a bit of a reboot, although it is also based off of a novella. Because of this, it welcomes newcomers to the franchise. There is no need to have seen any of the previous Hellraiser films (there are 10 of them, after all). That said, if you enjoy them, we highly recommend diving into them, especially the first few. The lore of the Cenobites and the Lament Configuration are heavily explained in Hellraiser (2022), which means it might come off as a bit redundant and slow for those who have been avid fans of the films. This can cause things to drag a bit at first, but at about the halfway mark, things pick up and, ultimately, never slow down.
The story follows a young addict named Riley who has worked very hard to get clean. She meets a guy in rehab, and things start to go very wrong for her — a bit of a classic story, isn’t it? The two form a relationship, and eventually, she crossed paths with a bizarre puzzle box (the Lament Configuration). The purpose of this box is to summon the Cenobites, a group of sadistic supernatural beings from another dimension.
In true Hellraiser fashion, the Cenobites are not the clear-cut villains of the story. These films shed a light on human nature, as they promise to grant a wish, so to speak, to those who vow to work with them. We won’t go into details to avoid spoilers for those who don’t know the lore, but things get intense as Riley and her friends get deeper and deeper into the hole that they have dug for themselves, thanks to the puzzle.
The majority of the effects used in Hellraiser (2022) are practical effects. This works extremely well in a film like this. It is updated for the modern day, of course, but also often feels like it is from the 80s — but not in a bad way. The look of the Cenobites is impressive, with each one that appears upping the creepiness from the one previously.
As for fan favorite, Pinhead, Jamie Clayton crushes the role. She brings something to this character that is absolutely bone-chilling. She is subtle, yet terrifying. The Pinhead in the novella that was adapted for this film is also female. This was a smart choice to make because Doug Bradley is so well known as the iconic character that going this route makes it impossible to compare the two. Still, Jamie holds her own and has secured her place in the legacy of Pinhead now.
The biggest issue with Hellraiser (2022) is the fact that the story itself is very predictable. There is a major twist that is well, not surprising or shocking at all. From very early on in the storytelling, it is clear they are going down this path. So when it is revealed, it is more of a ho-hum than an oh-wow! However, this doesn’t take away from the overall movie. Even if it is predictable, it makes sense for the plot, so we will allow it.
Somehow, in the midst of the suspenseful and intense moments, the bloody deaths, and the mesmerizing Cenobites, there is an important lesson or two buried in here about humanity. It isn’t a perfect movie, but it is a fun and entertaining watch, which is all you can ask for when it comes to something like this. Hellraiser (2022) drops on Hulu October 7th, and it is a great way to kick off the Halloween season!
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.