Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)
Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)

Genre: Slasher Running Time: 1 hr. 21 min.

Release Date: February 3rd, 2018 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe Actors: Damon Carney, Randy Wayne, Alexandra Harris, Paul T. Taylor, Gary J. Tunnicliffe, Rheagan Wallace, Helena Grace Donald, Grace Montie

 


 

“S

in remains unchanged.” Mankind has advanced to seek out greater and greater forms of degradation and decadence to the point that pleasure is essentially pain. This makes the job of demon Pinhead (Paul T. Taylor) and his satanic Cenobites particularly difficult, as they seek out heightened forms of sadomasochism to experiment on wayward souls.

Their otherworldly domain has shifted, however, as they are apparently no longer summoned by the mysterious puzzle box, “a conduit to the unimaginable”; instead, a separate faction of hellions systematically processes reprobates. The Auditor (Gary J. Tunnicliffe, who is also the writer and director), a hideously scarred, bespectacled humanoid, works from a dilapidated building at 55 Ludovico Place, where he lures depraved individuals to be analyzed for their transgressions, then judged by The Assessor (John Gulager), given a verdict by a jury (Andi Leah Powers, Mary Kathryn Bryant, and Valerie Sharp), bathed by a trio of cleaners (Diane Ayala Goldner, Molly Nikki Anderson, and Christina Parson), and finally slaughtered by The Butcher (Joel Decker) and The Surgeon (Jilly Blundell). And their latest subject is flasher and pedophile Karl Watkins (Jeff Fenter), who arrives at the address in search of a promised reward by likeminded individuals.

“Clearly, this is a place where the rules of your world do not apply.” Meanwhile, back in a more earthly realm, Sean (Damon Carney) and David Carter (Randy Wayne), brothers and detectives, join forces with fellow inspector Christine Egerton (Alexandra Harris) to track down a serial killer dubbed the Preceptor, who has already murdered 14 people in exceptionally heinous, religiously-linked ways (not entirely unlike those seen in “Se7en”) – including cutting out tongues, severing limbs, and sewing animals into abdomens. Could this string of slayings be linked to Watkins? Or Pinhead?

The attention to certain details, such as a building that simply says “Police Department” or an office that says “Detectives,” is astonishingly deficient. Even the murder/mystery concepts are so uninteresting (irrespective of their gruesomeness and the unlikely final reveal) that arriving at a solution and nabbing the perpetrator feel unimportant. But when it comes to the bloodletting, the focus is exceptional. It’s quite obvious that Tunnicliffe, who also designed the special makeup effects and created key props, is interested solely in visual nastiness, which he brings to tremendously disturbing new areas. “I would like to dig a little deeper.”

With a general cinematographic ugliness, desaturated to the point of virtual colorlessness, paired with uninspired sets, terribly bland supporting characters (along with a curious cameo by Heather Langenkamp), routine familial and social interactions (including a single line of comic relief), and generic dialogue (references to Charles Dickens are meant to suggest some sort of loftier culture), there’s no question that this is a low-budget endeavor (further supported by an unusually brief runtime) – and ultimately a rights-retaining production on the part of Dimension Films. Yet all of the resources available are poured into the gore and violence (though even this might not appease fans); merging the torture-porn subgenre with upsettingly creative, morbid debauchery introduces wild concepts never before seen in the Hellraiser franchise (and this is the heavily-edited end result, as the original script was far too extreme for the producers to sanction). One such notion deals with emetophilia, a fetish so specific and bizarre that it doesn’t appear in standard dictionaries. Of course, it doesn’t contribute to much of an entertainment value, either.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10

 

Hellraiser: Judgment

 


The Hellraiser Franchise


Hellraiser (1987)

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

Hellraiser III: Hell on Heart (1992)

Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)

Hellraiser: Deader (2005)

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)

Hellraiser: Judgment (2018)

Hellraiser (2022)