Review of Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

10 Jun

Hellraiser: Inferno (2000) is a straight to video mystery/thriller/horror film and the fifth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)).

Written by Paul Harris Boardman (Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)) and Scott Derrickson (Land of Plenty (2004), Sinister (2012)).

Starring: Craig Sheffer, Nicholas Turturro, Doug Bradley, James Remar, Nicholas Sadler, Lindsay Taylor and others.

With this one the Hellraiser series dropped into the almost guaranteed shittiness, that the straight-to-video format brings. However, sometimes horror movies benefit from the lack of restraints of theatrical releases. Is it the case with this one? Yes and no.

We follow a crooked cop, who snorts coke and is good at chess. A three-dimensional character if there ever was one. He goes to a crime scene where a guy is ripped apart. He is not as familiar with a scene like that as we are. Of course there’s the puzzle box somewhere lying around.

The cop goes home and he has a wife and a young daughter. Oh, he’s a family man, that’s nice. Then he leaves and fucks a prostitute in a motel room. Him being this total sleazebag helps to create this mood of dreariness, lust, perversion. After banging the hooker, the bad lieutenant goes into the bathroom and opens the box.

I don’t get why every time the box works differently. This time the Pinhead doesn’t instantly come, he’s transported to a weird house, where there’s some cenobite chicks, and the upper  body half version of Chatterer. The cenobite effects are really good, they look creepy. He runs into Pinhead and… wakes up on the bathroom floor.

From then on various shit starts happening to the cop. People he knows start dying and by their dead bodies fingers of a child are left. He must investigate, because that’s what he does. That and being a dick.

Craig Sheffer is really good as the cop, you feel him slowly descending into paranoia and madness and his untrustworthy face is suited for the role, because he’s a good guy, who is also a total asshole. James Remar has an interesting role as a priest/psychiatrist.

Here the tone of the series also shifted dramatically, it’s not so much a horror movie, than a psychological thriller, although, both of the terms are kind of loose and often interchangeable. I didn’t mind it much, because at least this dark thriller encapsulates the themes of rage, sex, pain, pleasure and nightmares a lot better than Bloodline or even Hell On Earth. Also at some parts the detective starts talking in voice over, so the movie feels like film noir.

People have complained that Pinhead barely appears, but come on, he’s not a slasher movie villain, he’s this mysterious figure who does what he is told and not some one-liner whore. He is basically an angel of death, just a messenger.

There’s a peculiar scene, where the cop sees various people attacking him and one of them is his partner, who repeats „I trusted you!” and throws knives at him. Guess where he gets the knives from? His back! Clever or cheesy? I think both. The ending is really cool, although, a bit predictable.

It doesn’t feel like a Hellraiser movie, but for an unrelated script, it certainly hits most of the right themes and offers a lot more satisfying use of the mythos than the previous two movies.

Overall, a very atmospheric thriller, I enjoyed it quite a bit, definitely my favourite Hellraiser sequel, although Hellraiser II is very close. Recommended.

“Ah, yes, that’s the spot, yeah, scratch it, look, my leg is shaking!”

7 Responses to “Review of Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)”

  1. rochpikey June 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I must admit I am very impressed you decided to watch another Hellraiser movie after watching Bloodline. That is where I stopped because I could not believe how bad it was. But I guess I gave up too soon and should give this one a watch. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    • karlails June 11, 2012 at 12:35 am #

      Oh yeah, Bloodline was crap. Inferno might not be what one would expect from a Hellraiser film, but it’s definitely worth at least a watch.

  2. Aloha Mister Hand June 11, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    Very nice post! 🙂

    • karlails June 11, 2012 at 9:29 am #


      • Aloha Mister Hand June 11, 2012 at 9:46 am #

        I was wondering what you might have thought of my poems, or whatever you wanna call ’em, lol

        • karlails June 11, 2012 at 9:51 am #

          Oh, I haven’t had the time to really check them out, I’ll take a look and share my opinions.

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