Hellraiser Revelations: a movie so horribly criticized you’ll want to watch and immediately wish you hadn’t
Hellraiser Revelations revealed to fans how far Dimension films would go in retaining the rights to long loved franchise. Opening back in 2011, with one theater screening for the crew and then subsequently released to DVD, Hellraiser Revelations has since been received, unanimously, with negative reception. Film critic Scott Weinberg from Rotten Tomatoes had this to say regarding the new Hellraiser: “contractually-mandated piece of intentional garbage that exists for no other reason than pure, simple greed…This is amateur hour stuff all the way, and it’d be almost endearingly, stupidly enjoyable if this witless cinematic refuse wasn’t dancing on the grave of a true classic of the genre.” Couldn’t agree more. Watching this movie, you definitely feel how rushed everything was. From the script, casting, and even the one thing marginally making it bearable, the special effects. (More on that later.)
In review, lets take this piece by piece. The film opens with the recently popular “home camera” shot. Friends, Steven Craven and Nico Bradley are taking a trip south of the boarder for a little impromptu getaway, full of booze, parities, and women…keeping somewhat to the whole “pleasures” bit familiar in the Hellraiser lexicon. The “home camera” beginning is, in my humble opinion, an interesting introduction into this new story. Thanks to movies like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, if done right, this style of filming is popular and could have created some rather terrifying moments. However, in Revelations, the feeling wasn’t real; it was horrible and cheesy. Instead of having the puzzle-box glowing blue and Pinhead walking into the room all polite, asking for young Nico to come with him to hell, the camera should have been unsteady and full of static. If my horror watching obsession has taught me anything, its that when another dimension is opening up, signals get broken. If hell is at your door step, the camera is the last thing on your mind. And then there was Pinhead, just standing…retarded. Save the duke of pain for a later shot; use the tension home videos are best at with the less is more concept. The only thing you should have been able to make out during this bit of videoing are chains, a flash of spatter and some screams, nothing else.
Revelations continues in a confusing back and forth between the present dinner party and Steven and Nico’s bogus adventure. So much so that a lot of the plot gets lost in translation, with a ton of information being given in the beginning and not enough towards the end. The casting was also horrible. I have a hard time following character portrayal’s, such as: the mother, father, son or daughters when the acting is terrible. And lets not even mention the script, yuk. In the midst of all this B-ness, the only positive thing was the special effects. Thank God they didn’t go all CGI with this one, but again, that was probably due to production time limits than actually making a genuine Hellraiser. Despite the positive, the gore was still only marginal. The big blemish for me was how white the cenobites teeth were… wow, shiny! A lot of critics didn’t like the look of Pinhead, but I think the problem has more to do with the guy under the nails (Stephan Smith Collins) then the effects itself. Just look at him in the picture gallery below. And the list goes on and on. Here are a few more unforgivable mistakes I jotted down during the hour long screening:
1. No Doug Bradley- because the film was being rushed, Bradley didn’t want anything to do with it. Eventually Doug will physically no longer be able to wear the mantle as Pinhead, but that day is still a long way off. But I am thankful he refused this mockery, seeing it for what it is or was going to be.
2. No Clive Barker- originally, neither Doug or Clive had any comment regarding Revelations, but after the movie poster credited to be from the mind of Barker, the Hellbound Heart king released the following statement on twitter:
I have NOTHING to do with the fuckin’ thing. If they claim its from the mind of Clive Barker,it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole.
— Clive Barker (@RealCliveBarker) August 21, 2011
3. Goofy Puzzle Guardian- sitting down at the bar is understandable, but not showing up at the dinner party with a knife. The guardian should only have a small part on screen, if you want to keep to the original mystery of the character.
4. Obligation trumped Storytelling- as mentioned before, in a mad rush to retain franchise rights, Dimension Film skipped over responsible story crafting and basically pooped this film out with the name “Hellraiser” on the cover.
5. Toilet paper script- enough said….hire real writers!
6. Victor Garcia is no del Toro- there have been many and fine directors south of the boarder, but Garcia just ain’t one of them. His last film was Return to House on Haunted Hill for Pete’s sake!!! Though I doubt Guillermo del Toro would have touched something as graphic as a Hellraiser picture; could you imagine if he had or even Babel (2006) famed Alejandro Gonzalez had directed Revelations with a multiple story concept? Mind = blown!!!
Bottom line: Hellraiser Revelations could have been good. There were some interesting concepts that simply needed further development. Because, I think, Hellraiser fans are ready for a new original story. Its long overdue. But this movies script was awful and needed more time. The actors needed more time researching their characters and motives. The special effects guys needed more time. Everything needed more time. For me, the ending was the only part worth seeing, though I’m still questioning how long it would take to die from a shotgun wound in the gut. Though now regretting it, thanks to how horribly criticized Revelations was, I had to watch it, I was curious. Satisfied and blogged, its now time to delete the last hour and fifteen minutes from my memory.