There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
If you have been following along, you know that these past few weeks I have been covering the Hellraiser franchise film by film. While this series is typically about my favorite films, this and the remaining entries about the Hellraiser movies will be more of a new movie review as I gave up on this series of films after Bloodline. However, since I started diving into this inticate puzzle of movies, I couldn’t just stop at Bloodline when there was so much more to watch. Oh no, we had to see just how deep this hell hole goes. Surprisingly, I was rather pleased with the previous entry and have high hopes for today’s film.
So, riding off of my appreciation for the previous entry, lets jump into Hellraiser Hellseeker and the return of the original survivor of the Cenobites, Kristy Cotton.
Today’s Key Movie:
After the death of his wife in a car accident, shady businessman Trevor Gooden finds himself missing memories and facing the dark machinations of the Cenobites. Starring Dean Winters, Ashley Laurance, Doug Bradley and Rachel Hayward, Hellseeker is the story of dark secrets and even darker revenge.
Why this movie?
As I have previously mentioned, I quit this franchise after Bloodline but, after watching Hellraiser Inferno for this review series, I found myself a little reinvigorated for this franchise. Inferno was rather impressive in it’s Noir take on the characters so figured I had really missed out not continuing past part five.
The story of Hellraiser Hellseeker is, much like the previous entry, a very slow burn. We follow Trevor Gooden after the death of his wife Kristy Cotton as he tries to piece together his memories of the past and the events of his wife’s death. You see, her body has gone missing yet he distinctly remembers watching her drowned. What follows is another psychological horror as we watch Trevor slowly lose his mind as he pieces together his life. Soon, we discover that he had not only been cheating on Kristy but also planning to remove her from the equation and, well, she decided to call on some old friends to help her out.
Interestingly, in my research for this review, I discovered that Clive Barker himself consulted on the story for Hellseeker, contributing some of the aspects of the final act and some story beats. While he did not take a writer’s credit, this would mark the final time Barker was directly involved in the Hellraiser universe until his return to the characters in comics and prose. Now, the question is, is this really a good sequel or does it fail at bringing about the darkness you expect from a Hellraiser film?
Well is it any good?
When I say that Hellraiser Hellseeker is a slow burn, I am not kidding. This is one of the most plodding and drawn out story lines that I have seen in a while. Throughout the film we are supposed to wonder if Kristy is actually dead and if her husband Trevor killed her but instead we get a ridiculous amount of setup with an eventual payoff that is actually rather decent yet one that doesn’t quite fit the narrative that has been established. We are getting into spoiler territory here so be warned, but there is really no other way to do this.
You see, when we last saw Kristy Cotton, she had pretty much pissed off the Cenobites, especially Pinhead by ending their reign of terror by sealing them in a demonic obelisk. However, in this story she somehow makes a deal with Pinhead and his ilk in order to get back at her terrible husband for his extra-marital transgressions after he tries to get rid of her using the Lament Configuration. In fact, it goes even further when it was Kristy herself who kills Trevor (and his lovers) because he had planned on killing her for her fortune. Yeah, it’s a bit of a convoluted mess in the guise of a horror mystery thriller under a layer of pale Cenobite skin. Sadly, none of it works and really doesn’t fit in with the story of Kristy Cotton. In fact, her story is MUCH more interesting when Barker returns to it in comic book form. Trust me, read those instead.
Although the story is rather disappointing, the film itself is actually pretty well made, just not really a Hellraiser film. Even with Barker’s loose involvement, this film feels like a repurposed script that was used just to keep the license from expiring and, who knows, maybe it was? Regardless, the special effects and cinematography are actually pretty solid as are the cast involved with the film. Everyone involved seemed to really want to make this movie work but instead found themselves in a mixed up hell much like their actual characters. I really wish this movie had been given a better treatment because it is so full of potential and it was really a waste of Ashley Laurence’s (Kristy) talents.
Hellraiser Hellseeker is ultimately a disappointment that reminded me why I walked away from this franchise to begin with. There is not much to like in Hellseeker and what little moments that are enjoyable are brief and fleeting leaving me feeling like I was the one being tortured by the Cenobites by watching this long drawn-out utterly pointless story. Bottom line, I would say it is as boring as hell but we have seen from the previous films that Hell can actually be pretty interesting.
OK, where do I get this movie?
The only way I could possibly recommend buying this one is in the set with Bloodline and Inferno. Otherwise, just skip it. Next week we keep this going with Hellraiser Deader…because although Hellseeker was DOA, apparently it wasn’t dead enough. Until then…
Late To The Game 7/8/2021
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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