Movie Review: “Hellraiser” (Hulu) is a Return to Classic Horror

As a kid of the 80s, I was born during the height of the horror monsters. But the one film that always gave me nightmares — and not for the jump scares or what could be in my closet — was the original Hellraiser. I will admit that, after rewatching the original as an adult, I found that the movie was far more messed up (that is the technical term) than I remember it being. This gave me a deep sense of dread going into seeing the new Hellraiser (2022), and I can firmly say this film not only lives up to but exceeds the original in my opinion. With 35 years and nine films separating the original to this reimagining, the film keeps all the classic pieces that have kept this franchise alive but also does an excellent job starting the story anew.

The film opens, just as the original did, with a transaction to gain possession of the iconic puzzle box. From there, things processed just as you would expect. We are introduced to Roland Voigth (Goran Visnjic), a millionaire seeking pleasures beyond that which he can buy, who does just as so many before him did and seeks what promises come with opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box. The main focus is Riley (Odessa A’zion), a recovering drug addict who is in a tough spot. Through a bad scheme, Riley comes into possession of the puzzle box and, after a rough night dealing with her brother Matt (Brandon Flynn), reopens the box. This releases the Cenobites, a group of mutilated extra-dimensional creatures on a mission to capture and touture whoever opens the box. And, then, literally all hell breaks loose. The story goes deep into the mythology of the puzzle box and really delves into the origins of the Cenobites, which sets it apart from many current horror films and really made me excited to see where the franchise goes from here.

The Cenobites, led by The Priest aka Pinhead (Jamie Clayton), have taken the horror to the next level in this film. Between costumes that would scare even the most diehard horror fans to the mannerisms that just give you the creeps, this new batch will be nightmare fodder for years to come. As a fan of the original franchise, at first, I was a bit taken aback that Doug Bradley was not returning. However, as this is a reboot starting anew, Jamie Clayton was an excellent choice. She is as demonic and scary as Doug was. I hope she’s appreciated and goes on to carry the franchise for years to come.


This film also holds very true to the franchise by being more psychological scary than slasher. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of blood and chains to push its R-rating to the limit but, at the base, the story is of someone needing to find that next level and this entire movie does just that.

Overall this film is a great new start to the franchise. It has also done what many films have forgotten by laying out the mythology pretty clearly. While I do praise a lot of what was done in this new chapter, sadly, the plot is a bit on the predictable side with a few twists and turns that could be seen a mile away. Still, it’s not enough to keep the film from being fun and something people will talk about.

Hellraiser (2022) is a solid 4 out of 5 puzzle boxes.

Hellraiser will be released exclusively Hulu October 7th.

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Jeremiah Good
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.