One more down, only one more to go in my quest to view all the HELLRAISER movies. For the most part, that law of diminishing returns I’d expected and feared didn’t materialize—until this particular movie, that is. I’ve found more to appreciate than not in the HELLRAISER movies prior to this, the ninth film in the series. Considering that it rushed, the whole process completed in a matter of weeks from start to finish, and for no other reason than that Dimension Films had to make another movie or else they’d lose the rights to the franchise, I’m surprised this one is as good as it is. Not that it’s good. It’s not terrible, but certainly not good. I’d give it maybe a C+ overall, if I’m feeling generous. But it’s the weakest entry in the franchise since the second one, which remains still my least favorite.
The acting from the two young male leads is actually good, and some of the other cast members hit their moments. (Some more sporadically by far than others.) But the biggest weakness, eclipsing all the others by comparison, is the lack of Pinhead. Oh, the character is in the film, sure. If anything he gets more lines than usual. But the guy they brought in to replace Doug Bradley—well, he ain’t no Doug Bradley. I’ll just leave it at that. It is funny that the screenwriters and the director seem determined to remind the audience as often as possible that they’re serving us an ersatz Pinhead. Or maybe it just *seems* like Pinhead gets more screen time this go-round, because he really ought not to have.
Clumsy writing, uneven acting, and an inferior Pinhead. This one does harken back to the original film, though, reviving the trope of blood sacrifice being needed to bring a person back from death, provided said person can find some new skin to wear. I’ll give it credit for that. But better direction, with a better fleshed-out screenplay (pardon the pun) and a bit of recasting, could have given us something superior to what we got. Laziness and greed hamstring this one from the get-go.