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Hellraiser: Inferno (2000) Review

Hellraiser Inferno Poster http://morehorror.com/hellraiser-inferno-reviewReviewed by Chris Wright, MoreHorror.com

Directed By: Scott Derrickson
Written By: Scott Derrickson & Paul Harris Boardman

Starring: Doug Bradley (Pinhead), Craig Sheffer Joseph Thorne), Nicholas Turturro (Det. Tony Nenonen), James Remar (Dr. Paul Gregory), Nicholas Sadler (Bernie), Noelle Evans (Melanie Thorne), Lindsay Taylor (Chloe), Matt George (Mr. Parmagi), Michael Wiles, Sasha Barrese (Daphne Sharp), Kathyrn Joosten (Mother), Jessica Elliot (Young Joseph’s Mother), Carmen Argenziano (Captain), J.B. Gaynor (Young Joseph)

If you listen to some fans of the series, every movie after the fourth film is not worth watching. With that viewpoint being told so often, I went into this movie with lower expectations. I thought my expectations couldn’t get much lower with “Hellraiser: Bloodline” which was a bit of a mess that even the director removed his name from it. I was pleasantly surprised at how much of an improvement this was! I am aware the term “direct to video” scares people off but this is one of the better sequels in this long franchise.

The story involves a police detective Joseph Thorne (played by Craig Sheffer) who gets involved in a crazy murder mystery that slowly turns in to something he wasn’t expecting. He becomes obsessed with a figure known as “The Engineer.” The plot is far different than any of the prior few sequels as it takes the focus right off of the Cenobites and Pinhead and focuses on a person who gets caught up in the events after opening the Box. What some people have complained about is “Not enough Pinhead.” I ask myself, “Did you watch the first film?” Pinhead and the Cenobites do not show up a lot and are not even the central focus of the original film. I read that was the director’s intent with this movie.

Craig Sheffer does a convincing job as the jerk detective Thorne. He is not the most likable character in the world. As the movie progressed, I started to feel a bit sorrier for him. Joseph Thorne’s life gets turned upside down and the fact that he isn’t “Mr. Perfect” makes him more realistic. Doug Bradley is excellent, as always, as Pinhead. He is sparser in it and turns up in random locations unlike what the third and forth sequel did. I commend the director for wanting to make him and the Cenobites mysterious again instead of turning the show in what some franchises do to milk a character out. James Remar as Dr. Gregory was solid in this as well as the other supporting actors.

The biggest highlight of this movie is the surreal atmosphere. I feel atmosphere had been dwindling in this franchise since the second film. The cinematography is gorgeous which enhances the nightmarish reality that Joseph Throne is going through. Pinhead’s makeup is probably the best in this one. It is cold and evil as I envision the character being. The gore isn’t that extreme in it as the focus of the elements is the psychological horror aspects. My favorite scene hands down is Pinhead’s speech to Joseph at the end of the movie.

I consider “Hellraiser: Inferno” one of the better sequels in this long franchise. It is very different than what came before it but it is a pretty good re-imagining to keep the franchise fresh. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of psychological horror. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It has a 5.4/10 on IMDB.

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