Throwback Thursday ‘Hellraiser: Bloodline’ (1996) Movie Review
In the 22nd century, a scientist attempts to right the wrong his ancestor created: the puzzle box that opens the gates of Hell and unleashes Pinhead and his Cenobite legions.
I originally gave up on Hellraiser after the third film in the franchise. Like countless other horror franchises, it outgrows its beginnings, weakens the collective impact of the Cenobites, and sends former fans away in droves. So, imagine my surprise when Bloodline turned out to be a fairly entertaining film. I laughed when the opening scene takes place in 2127, but before images of space Jason creep into your mind, there’s a legit reason to set the film in the distant future.
Bruce Ramsay stars as Phillip L’Merchant / John Merchant / Dr. Paul Merchant, the man responsible for creating the cursed puzzlebox for all seasons. The film begins in 2127, aboard a curiously shaped spaceship where Dr. Merchant experiments on the box by mechanical proxy. After successfully solving the puzzle, we learn its genealogical origin story, travelling back to the 18th century where a talented toy maker opens a door.
I think it’s normal to expect sub par acting in a flick like this, but young Adam Scott (Parks & Recreations, Party Down) delivers his lines with skill. Doug Bradley and his noble cadence are great as usual, setting at least one positive constant for the franchise thus far. The film jumps through time, exploring the first summoning of Cenobites and other creatures of Hell. I liked the history of the infamous box, and I was glad to see the franchise move away from the standard human excess meets profound misery plot. Parts of the film were well-written and it’s a fun visual flick. If you hated the terrible special effects of the last couple of films, this should be a high point no matter how fleeting. The giant artsy puzzlebox makes for a cool set.
Overall, I don’t think anything past the first two films (so far) are considered to be “real” Hellraiser films, but I applaud the filmmakers for taking a chance with the deep space theme. It’s fun to see origins and not have to deal with further humanization of Pinhead. If you feel like watching halfway decent horror movie you haven’t seen; then this might be a fun option.
Enjoy it because the next review is very negative.
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