Night #18: Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Directed By: Scott Derrickson

What’s an eight-letter word for “slaughterhouse”?”

 

I don’t know either. Sometimes you plan on watching Hellraiser II and you end up with the fifth film instead. Was it a fair trade? I don’t know, kind of.

The worst Hellraiser installment is arguably the one that’s linked to an online MMO. I don’t really understand where these ideas come from. Usually there’s some desire to tap into the zeitgeist but if you hand over the reigns to someone who’s probably never touched a game before, you just get something that has a lot of ‘geek’ speak and embarrassing scenes where people talking about mainframes while banging furiously on the keyboard.

In this one, a corrupt detective finds a puzzle box at the scene of a ritual murder. He’s then able to link it to a killer called ‘The Engineer’ who’s kidnapped a child at some point. The detective is stalked by visions and his friends start dying. All leading to a third-act twist.

It’s hard to gauge where Inferno really lies on that list because it’s unlike all of the others. The poster promises a ‘terrifying’ new chapter, but I would argue that’s not the case. It’s barely even a new chapter. Instead what we have is a kind of Tales From The Crypt –style story that packs a sting at the end. I get the idea. After the ambitious cluster-fuck of Hellraiser: Bloodlines (Part 4 – and the last part to be released in the Cinema) it’s not hard to see the need to scale things back. However instead of getting something that feels part of that world we get something that’s tangentially related. It feels like an off-shoot you find in a comic book: Never part of the canon, but a little ‘what if?’ scenario before you carry on with the real business (The next film in the saga Hellseeker – shares some similarities with this one but manages to both be better and tie itself in nicely with the other films).

The worst things to write about are the ones where you have nothing to say. If you can’t tell this is one of those occasions. I liked the film well enough, but it never rises above being ‘solid’. I still can’t decide if the inclusion of Pinhead helps or hinders the movie. There’s the thought that for a lot of these sequels, unrelated scripts were bought and then Pinhead was thrown in awkwardly at the last minute. That certainly seems the case here. When Pinhead shows up as an exposition machine at the end it’s pretty easy to see where he was hastily written in.

I’m struggling to put this above 500 words right now and I’d at least like to give you some value for your (lack of) money. So click here instead:

 

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