Hellraiser ★★½

i think i made a mistake watching this and the original back to back. there is definitely some good here - i think that overall the plot is a good idea and a nice spin on the hellraiser mythos, jamie clayton is deliciously alluring and malevolent aura as pinhead and there are definitely a lot of really interesting visual ideas around the lament configuration. but i can't help but feel that it falls short on capturing what makes the original and the source material stand out in the horror landscape. there's gore aplenty, but the whole thing ends up feeling oddly sexless. there's a lot of lip service paid to the idea that the cenobites have this siren-like quality, that there are untold pleasures of the flesh just beyond your reach if you just take that step into the dark and get your hands dirty... and then they end up mostly being utilised as humanoid saw traps, there to rend flesh from bone and tear you from arse to tit. outside of a couple of moments there's no sense of physicality or intimacy before the ripping or the tearing, there's a sterility despite all of the brutality - all pain and no pleasure, violent ends with no violent delights.

the human characters don't really have enough depth to deliver the message either, thanks in large part to a lacklustre script. we're told that voight wanted pleasure above all else but we only really see a glimpse of him enjoying anything, and our main character never really comes close to giving in to temptation beyond a couple of sad looks at a bottle of pills. i don't even believe for a second that the gay brother, the other gay or the roommate have ever fucked anyone, they're entirely here as meat for the cenobites to tear into along the way (i do believe that hiam abbass' character fucks thought, fwiw).

i think that there's definitely room for exploring addiction using the world and lore of hellraiser, but you have to be willing to show the allure as opposed to just the damage it can cause. you have to get down in the dirt in order to really serve up the feeling of triumph that comes with the rejection of whatever has you metaphorically hooked (and in the case of the cenobites, physically, literally hooked).

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