Hellraiser debuts on Hulu on Oct. 7, 2022. Review by Matt Donato.
Hellraiser is a soulful revival of a soulless horror legend that never tries to oust Clive Barker’s original. Director David Bruckner — alongside writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski — examines Hellraiser’s themes with spectacle styles through addition. Jamie Clayton is the Pinhead a new generation deserves, awash in Bruckner’s colder cinematography that stashes redder lighting to signify humanity is where true monsters reside. Hellraiser might be comparatively less grotesque, but a heady calibration of “pain or pleasure” storytelling brings Hellraiser 2022 screaming with glee into a reinvigorated ready-to-franchise configuration. It’s cleverly calculated by saving gore for maximum impact and valuing the psychological edginess inherent in Cenobite storytelling, never getting lost in gooier intentions just for masochistic midnighter distractions. There are developments that feel slighter and less explored even at almost two hours, but that doesn’t stop Bruckner from delivering one of the best Hellraiser films since the original.