We follow three detectives; Sean Carter (Damon Carney), his brother David Carter (Randy Wayne) and Christine Egerton (Alexandra Harris), as they work on a serial killer case. However, as the case progresses, they begin to find themselves involved into something a lot more hellish...
First off the bat, I went into this film with an open mind and I left fairly satisfied. "Hellraiser: Judgment" is innovative but fits into the Universe of Hellraiser well. While it is not devoid of flaws, it is an engaging film and one I will certainly watch again as I do the first 3 Hellraiser movies.
The opening of the film is very strong, with an introduction not only to the familiar, but different face of Pinhead (Paul T. Taylor), but also to an intriguing collection of new characters belonging, not to the Order of the Gash, but to the Stygian Inquisition; The charismatic Auditor (played by Tunnicliffe himself), the gruesomely gluttonous Assessor (John Gulager), a group of ageing naked ladies called The Cleaners and three young naked ladies with flayed faces called the Jury. Together, these loathsome creatures are in charge of assessing and condemning souls to hell. We also enjoy the brief presence of Cenobite Chatterer (Mike Jay Regan) and of Heather Langenkamp (of "Nightmare on Elm Street" fame).
The film doesn't precisely tie in to any of the other films, but enjoys a lot of nods to the previous films including, but not limited to, lament configuration/Lemarchand's boxes, the house at 55 Ludovico Place, a soldier past, the pillar from Hellraiser III and a few deliciously nostalgic lines of dialogue.
The new characters feel totally at home in the universe and the overarching murder mystery plot lines ties up nicely into the plot.
Where the film feels weakest are simply its fairly slow pace and a strange deviation near the end that felt a little out of place but was saved by a fun ending sequence. Pinhead is noticeably different, due mostly to simply being portrayed by a different actor. I hope that, given further opportunities, Taylor is allowed some more screen time in which to get his menace on.
The gore is good and in a pretty good abundance and there's enough twists and turns to keep you engaged. It feels a little like "Se7en" mixed in with "Hellraiser". And it was a refreshing change to the same old, same old concepts of the last few Hellraiser sequels.
[image: Dimension Films]