When Hellraiser 2022 was first released there was some controversy over this film starring a trans-woman as the Cenobite leader “Pinhead”. Personally I don’t go much for people trying to be “woke” just to appeal to a certain demographic. It comes across as fake and a cash grab. Why do we need a black mermaid, why do we need a trans-woman on a beer can? This movie copped a lot of heat online for that issue as well. With that in mind I left the movie alone for a while to let the publicity die down a little and judge it on its own merits without the internet arguements going on in my head.
ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY
This is one of those rare occasions I will say re-casting the main character and his / her sexuality or another key part of their identity actually didn’t detract from the movie. The Cenobites are basically (for lack of a better way to describe it) agents of hell, that deal out their victims perverted fantasies multiplied for their eternity in the afterlife. For that reason I’m going to say I don’t think it felt out of the norm that they could use a trans-woman to play the part of the previously male “pinhead”. The Cenobites kind of remind me of an S and M party anyway. A gruesome, horrible S and M party but hopefully you get where I’m coming from.
The bigger issue, rather than the one that stole the spotlight is “is the film any good?” I’ll say this. Not much is going to live up to the original Hellraiser. That movie came at a particular time where it really struck the imaginations of horror fans around the world. I’m not going to say it lived up to the original, but it wasn’t a bad effort either. I didn’t mind the second Hellraiser and the third lost me a little. The rest of them that I saw (I think I’ve seen most of them) were nothing to write home about. They basically had that “made to fulfill contractual obligations feel” about them. Most of them were decent stories but felt stitched together for the sake of getting another movie about. Some barely featuring Pinhead or the Cenobites.
The plot revolves around the “Lament Configuration” (The box that features in every installment of the film) that has the power to open the gates of hell and allow the Cenobites to enter the world and claim their intended targets. Plot wise its basically another installment of “some one finds the box, opens it… blah blah blah”. It would have been easy for this to fall into just another installment of the series (which parts 4 onwards felt like to me) and in a lot of ways it is, but there is some actual work put into this and the special effects on the Cenobites are great. The story is pretty cool and the gore is well done too. As a film this is reasonably solid. As an installment in the “Hellraiser” its basically up there (or better than) anything after the original film in my opinion.
Hellraiser 2022, I have to say surpassed the later Hellraiser efforts. In fact I’d say it would be up there or not too far behind the second and third installments of the film. If you kept watching Hellraiser past the third installment, this is a welcome return to form. If you’ve only seen the first one, this may leave you a little underwhelmed. Over all its a pretty cool film and I think its definitely worth anyones time time to check it out.
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