This year appears to be the dumping grounds for direct to home video sequels with the recent release of Victor Crowley (Hatchet 4), the soon to be released Children of The Corn: Runaway, and now Hellraiser: Judgement; I’m quite alright with this! It was an enjoyable moment to see Dimension films banner flash across the screen, something I haven’t seen for quite a while. I had a few doubts before diving into this movie and was afraid of a retread from previous films; my suspicion soon faded away immediately, I knew that this would be different.
Hellraiser: Judgment is the tenth movie in the franchise, with the first Hellraiser film releasing back in 1987 and this would mark the second film without the prominent Doug Bradley portraying Pinhead. Paul T. Taylor took the role of Pinhead this time around, and I felt did an outstanding job with the character. It is often difficult to accept the role of a new actor or actress in a familiar iconic role; this was quite evident with the A Nightmare On Elm Street remake back in 2010. Pinhead’s costume design was sleek consisting of a black robe and he had the darkest eyes, a doll’s eyes. Pinhead’s demeanor was unusually different [which was perfect] than in previous installments, I sensed real emotion, Pinhead had much confidence, and was very mean with a “do you know who the fuck I am” attitude.
The make-up effects team led by Mike Measimer and Mike Regan; this group was responsible for bringing life to not only Pinhead but other characters: Chatterer, The Butcher, The Surgeon, The Stitch Twins and The Auditor. The make-up effects and gags I felt were legit, I caught myself a few times turning away from the screen and squirming in my chair, money well spent! Specific environments were used quite often throughout this film; my guess is like always a money issue, this did not hinder my judgment of the movie too much.
One major problem existed for me with this film and, that was with the character of the landlady portrayed by Heather Langenkamp. I went into this film hoping to see Heather Langenkamp with some actual screen time, and I was disappointed and let down, we only see her for about twenty-five seconds, I guess little is better than none.
Hellraiser: Judgment isn’t a perfect film but the best film the series has seen in quite some time. The opening is strong and a familiar Saw feel to it. The film focuses more on Cenobites and the screenplay was decent, everything about this film was simple but effectively executed. The finale, I felt was surprising and can continue to give the series life, but in a totally different way. (I will say no more). Whether we see a remake of the first film or a continuation, has yet to be seen, I’m sure Dimension films has more up their sleeve.