When a tenth installment in the Hellraiser franchise was announced, most of the horror community reacted with a sigh. Considering an iconic character such as Pinhead, not to mention the other cenobites as well, were going to be drawn out and cashed in on one again.
Looking at the previous entry in the series, Revelations, and how they decided to use a larger version of Pinhead was slightly ridiculous to start, but the film itself was no better and considered by most fans, to be the worse entry in the franchise.
Some time had gone by and the film went through its production. Once it was completed, the film was slated for a 2017 release but nothing ever came of it. Rumors of the film possibly getting a theatrical release we spread around with nothing of the sort taking place.
When a trailer had been finally dropped, we were given an actual release date.
The reason for this according to Paul T. Taylor, was that the only reason the film was released was in order for the production company to make money amid what took place late last year with Harvey Weinstein. Otherwise, had these incidents never occured, the film would have likely been shelved for much longer if not forever.
But let's get away from the depressing stuff and get into the film!
I was pleasantly surprised coming out of Judgment. Writer and director Gary J. Tunnicliffe was able to come back from the crapfest he wrote in revelations (not saying the film being poor was his fault, it takes a team effort to screw things up that royally) and brought the Hellraiser franchise back to a certain type of greatness. I would say, following the original trilogy, Judgement is likely the next best film for the franchise as it displays a great series of dialogue between characters, a slightly complex storyline which mixes together horror and a police procedural in a unique way.
The acting was much better than anything I was expecting, especially when it came to the newest Pinhead, played by Paul T. Taylor. I personally thought that his portrayal started off a little weak throughout the earlier portions of the film, but he is really able to pull it all together in the final scene making the character feel powerful and iconic once more.
Another thing I absolutely need to point out are a few scenes that made this veteran horror fan gag at what he witnessed. These scenes will not have the same effect on everyone who watches them, but something about what they were doing just got to me. And when this happens, I can’t help but appreciate and admire the creator's abilities in making this happen.
There are a few small issues with how the plot unravels as portions are not thoroughly explained or pieced together well enough which could cause problems for the viewer but rest assured that they will give you a blatant answer to all questions you may pose by the films close.
Tunnicliffe may have also found a way to end the franchise for good in order to have a proper series reboot in the future or even a brand new way of continuing the series, something I'm hoping doesn't happen considering the way the ending played out, but I don't run the studio, so it's not my call.
People may also be a little upset with the appearance of Nightmare On Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp seeing as all the films promotion materials, other than the trailer, ensured to make mention of her being part of the film when she is in literally a single scene and had roughly two lines of dialogue and did nothing more for the film than u lock a door for the films protagonist's. Even then, it was nice to see her, even if it was just for a brief moment.
In all, this was a fairly good film considering that the franchise was basically left for use only as a money grab and not for something horror fans would be happy with. But Judgment may be a turning point for the franchise allowing a follow up film to likely get a larger budget or once again get a full fledged reboot .
6.5 out of 10
*** Hellraiser Judgement is out now!
Have you listened to the newest Beyond The Void Episode? It's about carnivals with cthulhu like creatures. CLICK HERE or press the play button.