aka: Hellraiser 5: Inferno
Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Nicholas Turturro, James Remar, Doug Bradley, Nicholas Sadler
The terrifying new chapter in the “Hellraiser” legacy!
Joseph Thorne is a working detective in Denver that takes everything he has for granted. He has a beautiful wife, a lovely young daughter and a respectable job, but he still can’t let go of living a life of sin. He cheats on his wife, is hardly home and doesn’t play it straight at his job.
After investigating a strange murder, he finds a puzzle box that he takes with him home. After opening the box he Thorne opens up the doors to another dimension that will mess with him while he is still trying to solve the murder case by hunting down an evil being named “The Engineer”.
This fifth entry in the Hellraiser series marks a change in the direction. No longer does the story really revolve around the puzzle box and the cenobites, instead the fans got several sequels that felt like they were original scripts that they just found a way to add the cenobites and the puzzle box into. Why the studios decided to go this way with such a fantastic and popular franchise is beyond me and is the biggest puzzle of the entire franchise.
Inferno is one of the better efforts of this half of the franchise. It’s a clever written film that is able to still make the addition of the Hellraiser saga become a part of it and make it all work. It does feel more like a psychological thriller than a horror film though, and some of the “horror scenes” seems a bit added on.
The addition of the Hellraiser franchise works well here because we are invited into the inner personal hell of Joseph Thorne, a hell he has created for himself. It is not surprising to see that this was material that attracted the young director Scott Derrickson to the project. Although he first got his big hit with The Exorcism of Emily Rose five years after Inferno, and made even a bigger dent in the horror world with the scary 2012 effort Sinister, this film still feels like a fitting project for him to experiment with.
Although his later efforts have been more visually striking and better put together, Inferno does feel very competently made. It does lack any scares though, but does have some decent special effects. There are a few cheesy flaws (the cowboy and ninja girls?) that shouldn’t have been here though. It will also not help horror fans that Pinhead only makes a big entry after approximately 80 minutes into the film. The acting is decent and Craig Sheffer does a good job with his part as detective Thorne.
Hellraiser: Inferno is not a bad film, it should just never have been a part of the Hellraiser franchise. The filmmakers did the best they could with the source material and somehow made it work with the addition of Pinhead. It’s not what Hellraiser fans wanted, but if you look past that then you should find enough to keep you entertained here.