We are in the back end of our Hellraiser series and it sure as hell isn’t getting better. This time out we effectively return to the plot of Hellraiser: Hell on Earth. Being creative isn’t for everyone it seems. Welcome to Hellraiser: Deader
Remember how we are left with Kirsty Cotton in control with one of the Lament Configurations, most likely unlikely to ever open it, but knowing that Pinhead and his cenobites desperately yearn for her? Seemed like a good starting point for Hellraiser: Deader right? Nope. Kirsty ain’t here folks and instead, we are left with the same writer and director of the previous film to lead us on a merry dance of Hellraiser characters jammed into non Hellraiser films. Let’s see what Deader brought to the table…
We follow Amy (Kari Wuhrer) who is a journalist working in London. A reporter who will go undercover to get the fullest story possible. Her next storylines her up with a cult group led by a man called Winter (Paul Rhys). After some investigating she discovers the Lament Configuration, opening up a world she could never believe.
Interestingly for this franchise and a lovely change, we are not in Hell from the beginning and are on Earth, living life as our characters should. Brilliant! A nice slow reversion back to what made the franchise in any way decent. Also, there are some great death and gore scenes here and you can see that Bota has gained in confidence (or budget) in what he can do here. With Amy’s scene the most gruesome and enough to make you feel as if you have an object in your back. That scene drags a little, and I imagine there were some issues with it in the final cuts.
As expected from Rick Bota, his direction is truly uninspired. We have lazy shots and some attempts of being creative. By having the camera tilted to the side to show how off-kilter things are getting. You are not going to get any memorable visuals from him. Which is disappointing as you would think that one of his back to back filmed Hellraisers. One would have a bit of personality to it. The entire picture is just flat and when the cast has flat direction and a flat script. It is going to take a lot to rise out of that depth of dull to create a film worth watching.
At no point does the film make much sense if we are honest. We venture away from a journalist trying to learn more and have a cult leader who wants to take control of hell and the cenobites for himself and he has found this lovely way of doing so. The worst part is, is that without the Hellraiser portions of the film, there is the stuff that could be of interest. But, welding two stories together can rarely work and It simply doesn’t with Hellraiser: Deader.
Kari Wuhrer is the best thing in the film by a long shot and it is difficult to imagine how bad the film would be if it had a lead who wasn’t as committed in the role. Everyone all around her is a shambles. The “Deaders” are… There I guess, the scenes on the train are interesting enough, but there are no feelings of importance. They via Winter want to take over hell. Winter, by the way, is a descendant of L’Merchant from Bloodlines. So that was one thing added into this non Hellraiser spec script. Yet, we are presented with hallucinations mixed with realities a little bit and it is enough to want to bash your head against a wall. There is no reason for the hallucinations if they aren’t in Pinheads realm.
As a stand-alone horror, this wouldn’t have been too bad, but by forcing (again) Hellraiser elements into the film. You lose what made the original script in any way decent. It is such a shame that Dimension studios did this so much. I am now getting the feeling that some potentially solid little horror movies are lost to us.
Hellraiser: Deader brings nothing new to the table other than we see another L’Merchant descendant battle Pinhead and a very able performance from the underrated Kari Wuhrer. It is faint praise, but this isn’t as bad as Hellseeker, but that doesn’t make it a good film. Watch if you dare.
If you enjoyed our review of Hellraiser: Deader then feel free to have a read of our review of the previous films from the franchise.
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