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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
(2021 Reissue)


Starring: Steven Brand Nick Eversman Tracey Fairaway Sebastien Roberts Devon Sorvari
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK


Certificate: 18
Release Date: 01 March 2021

American teenagers Steven Craven and Nico Bradley drive to Mexico for a holiday. When their car is stolen it is just the start of a downward spiral. After meeting a prostitute in a club, they take her back to their rented room. They get more than leathered overnight and wake to discover that the prostitute has been brutally murdered. Nico suspiciously wants to keep it quiet, fearing a notoriously tough Mexican prison. But when a vagrant approaches them in a bar and gives them a curious puzzle box, they unwittingly unleash a world of torment heralded by the notorious Pinhead and his Cenobites from hell. A year later, the boys’ parents are having a quiet get-together in memory of their missing sons, when Steven unexpectedly turns-up terrified, exhausted and confused. But is everything as it seems...?

This is the ninth film in the Hellraiser franchise based on British horror writer Clive Barker’s original story. The source, therefore, stems from a wealth of talent. The budget for this one was around $300,000 – and the lack of funds shows. However, it’s not exactly where you would think. What let’s this down more than anything else is the weak writing. There are several events in the plotline which don’t make sense, but the major mess is the confusing manor in which the returning boy turns from being the victim to revealing through his cruelness that he is the other boy in the first one’s body. I’ve found that the Hellraiser scenario often works better if the puzzle box and the Cenobites are kept to a minimum. This is something the movie does get right... to a certain extent – although the box is opened far too easily these days. There is also the nice connection that Steven’s sister is also Nico’s girlfriend, which adds emotional content and conflict.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. Stephen Smith Collins is acceptable in the role as Pinhead, but he’s not Doug Bradley who, over a number of sequels as well as the original, made the part his own. It really isn’t the same when, as a fan you have come to recognise his look and characterisation. It’s like making someone other than Robert Englund Freddy Krueger, it just wouldn’t work. It didn’t even work when Child’s Play was reworked with a slightly different look for Chucky.

It is gratifying that low budget horror movies are still being made on a regular basis. Many budding filmmakers use the genre as an entryway into the movie world. So, I wouldn’t write-off a film like this out of hand, because for one thing it’s keeping the Hellraiser franchise alive. However, certain aspects have to be right to help films succeed. Spanish director Victor Garcia has other projects under his belt – including Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007) – so he’s no slouch. Perhaps the Hellraiser franchise has simply become tired. Hellraiser: Revelations is available on Blu-ray and for Digital Download from Lionsgate UK.


Ty Power

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