Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)

Many of you asked if I would cover any of the other Hellraiser movies after my previous review of one of them, but I wasn't sure. They're not all that great, mind you, but are any of them bad enough for me to skewer them like you desperately want me to? Well, yes, one of them was. It was such a bad idea from its conception that even Doug Bradley, the man who has always played Pinhead, refused to take part in this. He said yes to the movie where a guy has a camera grafted into his head but not to this one. Think about that.

Then think about how they replaced him with this.

This movie exists for much the same reason as another horrible film, which is because they wanted to retain the film rights. Yep, that always leads to cinematic gold, doesn't it? Normally I try to keep it somewhat of a mystery as to whether or not the film I'm reviewing will actually be good, but let's not kid ourselves here. This movie was dead on arrival and it becomes even worse when you realize the entire story is basically a really badly rewrite of the first film, complete with a skinless guy and incestuous shit. That's right, we're drifting once more down the incest trail, because if it doesn't have rape it's got to have incest. But do you know what is the worst part for me in regards to this film?

I paid full price for this when it came out. Fuck my entire life.
That is an entirely true statement too. I knew nothing about this film when it first came out and when I saw it on the shelf at the store I actually got excited. I love this series and I was at that point where I really wanted something new from it. I also had a job that allowed me to drop money on things without reading up on them first. I tend not to do that so much anymore because I am not pulling in the cash to make me be quite as dumb with my purchases. So, let's get comfortable and look into the movie that took a series known for psychological and fetishistic horror down in the septic tank of mediocrity.

It had plenty of company in that septic tank too.
Right out of the gate, this movie centers on my favourite type of horror film protagonists: drunk assholes looking to party and fuck strangers. I don't know if I can contain my excitement at such a blisteringly original concept that totally feels at home in the Hellraiser series and totally isn't jarring in the least. Yes, we have Steven and Nico, two friends looking for fun in all the wrong places. And their story is initially told in the greatest and not annoying at all style of shaky cam. Their car gets stolen along the way though and Steven ends up finding a puzzle box to open, because we've always got to have an asshole curious enough to let the Cenobites out.

It's a little known fact that summoning horrifying BDSM demons makes you nice and glisteny.
Pinhead shows up and makes his ales pitch, Nico seems a bit freaked out while Steven keeps recording, and then we get the reveal that all of this has already happened and that Steven's mother, Sarah, is watching what might be her son's last moments as the two idiots have been missing for an entire year. Where the mother is clearly deeply still affected by this, Steven's sister Emma seems rather indifferent about it all. She tells her mother to come down as Nico's family just arrived. Apparently it's pretty normal to all act friendly like this when your kids vanish and are presumed dead.

If these people decided to have an orgy right now, it would probably be more believable than their concern for their sons.
Emma brings up how they never talk about the boys and that it's weird, which is a pretty good point. This causes Sarah to tell her to shut up and we get to see Pinhead is listening in...I'm sorry, I can't do this. That's not Pinhead. Pinhead is actually threatening while this guy comes off as vaguely disinterested. No, this guy isn't Pinhead. We're going to call him Nailhead. Anyway, Nailhead is listening in on their "drama" and i can only figure it's because Hell has gotten pretty boring since the last film, what with no one involved in any previous installment being involved. Even Clive Barker said, "If they claim its from the mind of Clive Barker, it's a lie. It's not even from my butthole."

I believe him too, as I imagine his butthole is much more entertaining.
It's also good to note the Nico is Emma's boyfriend, yet she doesn't seem too bothered that he ran off to whore around with her brother. Pissed off about the adults basically ignoring the whole thing, Emma goes to her brother's room where she grabs his bag and takes a peek at his camera footage. This returns us to the "two drunk idiots looking to party and get laid" plot from earlier, as we see it flash back and forth from the camera perspective to a traditional movie perspective. This leads to Steven pursuing a girl who ends up instead fucking Nico in the bathroom, which upsets Steven. It also upsets Emma, as she just watched her boyfriend fucking a stranger in Tijuana. Back to the past events, Steven wakes up to Nico freaking out and it's because the girl he fucked is dead and it's looking pretty clearly like Nico murdered her. He decides to use the video Steven recorded to blackmail his drunk friend into silence and Emma goes fishing in the bag, pulling out a fun little toy.

I'd say opening it's a terrible idea if I cared even a little bit about these characters but the writing has made that impossible.
Her dad says maybe they should talk about it, but this just leads to the mothers saying they'd rather live on in denial. Nico's dad, while trying to figure out why his son ran off in the first place, asks if maybe it was Emma's fault. Right on cue, she walks in in time to hear, then leaves as only a passive aggressive teenager (or actor pretending to be one) can. While she's off being moody, she happens to discover her brother outside and they all crowd around him, asking the clearly partially unconscious young man where Nico is. He's laying on the couch, covered in someone's blood and stuttering about how he "doesn't want to go back".

Now, me? I'd love to go back. Going back means watching better movies.
They soon discover their cars are gone and that they're seemingly stranded in their big fancy house. How terrifying. However shall they survive in such a hostile environment? A small confrontation erupts over Steven not being in any condition to answer questions and it's agreed they'll all hunker down until morning while he rests. I mean, that is pretty reasonable, as they don't know who could be out there since someone clearly took their cars. If only they had devices capable of contacting outside help...oh wait. That stupidity aside, we're next returned to Nailhead who is hanging out with someone I shall refer to as Chinese Checkers, because this Cenobite has no real name that I can find. He's also another crappier version of Pinhead.

Imagine going to Cracker Barrel and having him sitting there on your table.
From here, the drunk parents wander about and act fairly paranoid and thing s descend into weird territory. Well, weird-er. Nailhead nails a piece of flesh onto Chinese Checkers' head and the adults finally notice that Emma is playing with the puzzle box. We get some flashes of light and chain noises, which make the family all freak out, and we see Chinese Checkers nailing faces to a wall while a female version of Chatterer wanders by in the background. I can honestly say that I could've gone happily through life without ever needing to see Chatterer with tits. Oh, and we also see some faceless ladies making out in the background too. Remember when we had interesting Cenobites on display in some of the other movies? You know, like the Chatterer Beast?

I would gladly trade everyone in this movie just for one scene of this guy running around.
Now's that point where I start to get annoyed, so I try to muddle through this at a slightly increased pace. I'll try and go over the most important stuff, if anything in this movie can even be considered important. Steven ends up waking up and is clearly not normal. How so? Well, he makes out with his sister, which she seems into. See what I meant earlier about the incest? And he continues to keep acting weird until we learn the truth: he's not actually Steven. Nope, it turns out that it's Nico in Steven's skin.

GASP!!!
Yeah, they stole the whole skin stealing thing from the first film, what a massive shock. We learn the whole story about how he ended up getting brought to Hell like Frank where he got the flesh ripped from him, but he ends up escaping and manipulates Steven into bringing him people to basically feed on. But that proves not to be enough as the bastard decides to sell Steven out and leave him with the Cenobites while he goes to make out with his ex while wearing her dead brother's skin.

Stevie here learned the hard way that bros are not always before hos.
Among some of his other lovely antics, Nico makes out with his own mother, informs everyone of the affair his mom had with Ross (Steven and Emma's dad), blows a hole in someone, and forces Emma to solve the puzzle so they all will end up getting to meet the Cenobites. But here's where the big rug gets pulled out from under him because Chinese Checkers is actually Steven and Nico isn't getting away again. He dies and Emma almost gets to join him but Nico's mom informs the Cenobites that Emma was forced to solve the box at gunpoint.

Which means we may not get to see any really awful Chatterer on Emma action.
For her trouble, Nico's mom dies. And Sarah gets taken in Emma's place, leaving Emma with Nico's dead dad and her own dying father who apologizes to his daughter. Emma, clearly a fucked up person who was into the idea of making out with her brother, then reaches for the puzzle box again. I guess she wants to go see how the other half live. Either that or her brother-lust is so powerful that she doesn't mind a few hooks and knives in her flesh.

Ah, horrible bloody faceless incestuous love. It's a beautiful thing.
This was a very bland rehash of some of the first film and it probably shouldn't shock you to learn that I didn't much care for it at all. I thought maybe it might be better after watching it again, but I have now watched it four times and it still feels terrible. As a Hellraiser film, it does nothing to stand out or really feel like a proper continuation of the series. It really does feel like a bad attempt to remake the first movie, only they replaced interesting characters with boring whiny rich people who are all fucking one another. None of the characters really feel sympathetic, with the most sympathetic character (Steven) murdering people for his buddy to feed on. There's no one to pull for in here.

Except maybe for the poor maid who had to clean that up. Eugh.
I also downright found myself despising most of these people for being shitty in one way or another, both to one another and as humans in general. Emma does the least to be a shitty person, but I loathed her because of how stupid she comes off as being. In the original film, Kirsty was a likable protagonist who you want to see overcome the evil set upon her. Emma is just an annoying idiot who wants to bang her brother and that's not someone I can find myself pulling for. The movies in this series may not always be great, but this one is so far to the bottom of the barrel, it's buried under the barrel. Do what most fans do: ignore it and go read the Hellraiser comics. So, until we get a proper new Hellraiser film with Doug Bradley doing what he does best, I'll be here writing Chatterer Beast fanfics. Later days, bleeders.

And please remember to exfoliate.

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