You may recall that during our Hellraiser episode, we mentioned that a new installment of the franchise was in production. At that time, details were very vague about Hellraiser Judgement and it was only a month ago that we got an official trailer. My initial thought was that it looked halfway decent, at best. Now, after seeing it, I can say that was a pretty fair assessment.
After the lackluster Revelations, I had pretty much given up hope on Hellraiser. It was pretty clear that Dimension only cared about holding on to the rights. With Judgement, it does seem like the people involved were at least trying. The script contains quite a few callbacks to the original and was written and directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe. He was trying to do the best he could with an obviously low budget and made it work pretty well. The plot centers around an old house, where Pinhead waits for worthy souls to come knocking on his door. Sadly, there is still no Doug Bradley to be found though I can happily say that Paul T. Taylor gives an adequate performance as the Hell Lord. We are also introduced to a new character, The Auditor, played by Tunnicliffe himself. His performance is just as effective as his direction, doing his best to draw you into the movie. Another cool aspect was the introduction of an angel, who talks to Pinhead as a representative of Heaven. We’ve never seen this in a Hellraiser movie before. Judgement also follows three detectives working a murder case, and this is where the movie starts to lag a bit. Every time they were on screen, I found myself just waiting for the Cenobites to show up again. Randy Wayne and Damon Carney play the two main detectives, who are also brothers… yeah. The dialogue between the two is passable at best. We have Alexandra Harris as Detective Christine Egerton, who does a really solid job in her role. Make-up effects are what the Hellraiser films are best known for and this one does a pretty good job with that overall. I couldn’t help noticing some problems here and there but, again, you can tell that they were working with a low budget. The plot also runs into some problems towards the end. It almost felt like Tunnicliffe had written himself into a corner, and has Pinhead do something that seemed very much out of character. Overall though, Judgement was definitely a much better film than Revelations. If you are a Hellraiser fan, I’d say give it chance. There’s definitely worse ways you could spend an hour and a half.
Hellraiser Judgement will be available on VOD and Blu-Ray on February 13th, 2018