We are in the end game now gang. We are in the penultimate film of our series and I can almost guess that if you asked people how many Hellraiser films there are, they would not get close to 10. Anyway, Here we go Hellraiser: Revelations!
Two friends Steven Craven (Nick Eversman) and Nico Bradley (Jay Gillespie) go on a wild trip to Mexico and go missing. Their families, trying to recover from the boys being missing meet up for dinner with Stevens sister Emma (Tracey Fairaway) finding the Lament Configuration and opens it bringing Steven back to the home, but awakening the Cenobites.
Our main draw is gone. As we mentioned in our last review Doug Bradley does not return to the franchise and his replacement is left in an unenviable position here and he never really stood a chance bless him. Though from the stories coming from this production, it doesn’t seem the film or the filmmakers had much of a chance.
Who is our writer this time out? The special effects artist of some of the previous Hellraisers. Now I am not knocking Gary J Tunnicliffe, but that is a strange step up. Usually, they would go towards directing, like Greg Nicotero, Tom Savini and that one-off from Stan Winston, solely writing a film is a tad strange. But as I said I can’t knock it. He has a strong relationship with this franchise, he, in theory, should know the Cenobites very well. So where is the harm in an original Hellraiser script right?
Well, our first cause for concern is in finding out that Dimensions pushed this production along at a hectic pace as they realised the rights to the franchise were coming up and they couldn’t just let Pinhead and crew go off on their merry way now good they? So we get Hellraiser: Revelations.
A film that was had very short pre-production and was shot in 21 days. Dimension Films sure love short turnarounds after Hellworld was released 91 days after its predecessor. We get a mess of a film that had a killer idea. Sigh.
The script issues are clear right away, why is the camera footage not with the police? The bag with all the evidence? Why are these families casually having dinner as their respective sons are missing presumed dead? Why is Emma sleeping or maybe sleeping with everyone? Also, why is everyone sleeping with everyone? Is this to show sexual degradation? Is Niko just a poor man’s Frank? How did Steven return via this new way? If you are following so much of the series, why deviate so much from what worked?
Hellraiser: Revelations is a disaster of a film and there is no getting around that very sane and thoughtful fact. It is 2011 and it is peak found footage era, so why the hell not make a Hellraiser film a found footage (or at least partly so) film? He has been in space, in a game, being a marketing tool. A found-footage version is almost fresh in comparison. (Though seriously how is there, not a Friday the 13th Found footage film? That is the one that makes all the sense).
Now to its credit during these sequences, we do not see everything, or maybe they did film everything and it was carefully edited. But there is a feeling of the camera being picked up and used for a purpose. They want to record the fact their car was stolen. That makes sense one is sitting topless for some reason fiddling with a little box that is film worthy. We’re not stuck in long pointless shots with the duo and that is at least a positive. I have to assume that the opening of the Lament Configuration is a homage to the first film as it is almost exactly in its method. A topless sweaty man surrounded by candles. We are just minus his mate who is recording him.
Now that we are out of the found footage section we can carry on normally without it, even when we return to the boys in Mexico. Should that not constantly be the found footage? You will learn to stop asking questions regarding the story. Eventually, this found footage film becomes a home invasion film. It is all a tad weird and feels like so much was flung at the wall. In the final act, the most innocent character is dragged to be tortured by Cenobites. This is utter madness and so unlike anything, a Hellraiser film should be.
Worryingly we do not see Pinheads face in this opening exchange, which is odd as we are so used to seeing him and we know he is a new Pinhead, so are the filmmakers just teasing the audience or did they know they hired a guy who when bald had the facial features of a toddler? I don’t know if it is because the pins have turned to thicker nails, but this design doesn’t quite work and that is a shame. It was worth a go though.
The design and scenes of him creating a new Pinhead work far more. I think the torn away skin accentuates the pins in that design and maybe they should have tweaked it that way, to fully step away from Doug Bradley’s version.
We also have a slight issue in that it is very obvious that the voice in Pinhead that we are hearing, is not in fact from the actor. It doesn’t suit him and although audio technology has improved where we can alter voices, we sadly have to get a dubbing and as mentioned, you can tell, to the point of distraction.
Hellraiser: Revelations is a film that after a draft was completed, casting and filming was completed in less than 4 weeks. These actors don’t know their characters because they had less than a week to read, learn and create their characters. Our director had less than a month to work out everything. These are almost unworkable situations for the crew and it is no wonder, we got what we eventually did. Such a shame, and not the first to be classed as a shame in the franchise.
If you enjoyed our review of Hellraiser: Revelations then feel free to have a read of our review of the previous films from the franchise.
8 Hellraiser: Hellworld (2008)
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