Main cast: Damon Carney (Detective Sean Carter), Randy Wayne (Detective David Carter), Alexandra Harris (Detective Christine Egerton), Heather Langenkamp (The Landlady), Gary J Tunnicliffe (The Auditor), Paul T Taylor (Pinhead), Mike Jay Regan (The Chatterer), John Gulager (The Assessor), Rheagan Wallace (Alison Carter), Jeff Fenter (Karl Watkins), and Helena Grace Donald (Jophiel)
Director: Gary J Tunnicliffe
This tenth Hellraiser installment is also meant to be a… reboot, I guess? I’m not sure, and to be honest, I stopped following this franchise since the fourth movie, Hellraiser; Bloodlines, because I became annoyed by how Pinhead seemed to be a different creature in every movie. Hellraiser: Judgment is a shockingly low budget movie that feels more like a some fan film than an official movie in the franchise, and worse, given how tacked on Pinhead and friends are, they could be excised from the whole thing and the movie will still be fine. It was as if someone just fished out a serial movie script from some reject bin and tacked on Pinhead and friends just to be able to call this movie a Hellraiser film.
Interestingly, this one has a stronger heaven and hell theme than I remembered in the previous movies I’ve watched, as there is even an angel, Jophiel, here meddling in the Cenobite crew’s affairs on behalf of God. However, this movie screws that up and like it does everything else.
The premise has potential, but quickly becomes stupid. Pinhead and his crew are not happy these days because social media allows people to get all kinds of instant gratification, and hence, there are fewer people these days that care about playing with the Lemarchand’s box – the puzzle box that, when solved, summons the Cenobite crew to seize and commit all kinds of gruesome torture on the puzzle solver. Pinhead’s second in command, the Auditor (who actually plays a bigger role in this movie than Pinhead), has a plan. In this modern age, he will send actual, physical letters to various people, asking them to go to an address if they wanted to experience something special.
As pointless victim Karl Watkins finds out, this means walking into this creepy house, in which he gets knocked out and later tied to a chair. The Auditor will pleasantly asks him to confess his sins – wait, doesn’t he already know the victim’s sins, since he invited the victim over? – and types the response down using a typewriter. A fat man called the Assessor will then eat the confession, puke into a sink, and the puke will then be poured into another room. In this room, three bare-chested women wearing cheap Halloween masks will stick their hands into the puke and then tell the Auditor whether or not the victim is “guilty”. Again, I’d think they will all know of this earlier since they know to pick him out in the first place.
Anyway, then Karl is strapped on a dais, and more naked women show up – apparently showing your breasts is good enough to make you a Cenobite if you’re female, because, hello, no make up budget, so just take the clothes off, lady – to stick their tongues all over and down Karl in a “cleansing” ritual. Why do you need cleansing if you’re going to get… you know what, let’s just go along. And wait, I don’t think the naked women are Cenobites, they are part of the Stygian inquisition, and this I know only because I have just read the Wikipedia page of this movie that was clearly written by the morons behind the film, eager to big up what is essentially a Z-rated movie. Back to Karl, after getting cleansed, he is skinned alive by the Butcher and then transformed by the Surgeon… or is it the other way around?
The whole thing is a dumb, unnecessarily convoluted nonsense that makes no sense, especially considering that it is supposed to be measure to counter competition from social media. So, so dumb.
So, anyway, the main plot. Three detectives investigate a series of murder done by a serial killer who calls himself the Preceptor. This fellow is murdering people and propping up the murder scene after the Ten Commandments, and if you think that this whole thing sounds like a low budget emulation of Se7en and American Horror Story: Hotel, you’re wrong. You’re wrong because this take is so devoid of any entertainment value that comparing it to those two things is a mortal insult to them. All three actors are wooden beyond belief, especially Alexandra Harris who utters her lines as if a big part of her throat had been turned into concrete. To be fair, though, the lines they have to utter alternate between cheesy and painfully bad, so maybe they had to partake stronger libations before each scene had to be shot. The police procedural scene just lumbers on and on in a joyless mosaic of bad acting, bad lines, and boring so-called “twists” that can be seen coming from a mile away. Worse, even the gory murder scenes end up looking cheap and fake, thanks to the budget constraints.
More annoyingly, the Pinhead crew and the three detectives intersect apparently at random. Perhaps one can argue that God had a hand in it, since He is in this movie, but as Jophiel says, He doesn’t want anyone to meddle in the activities of the Preceptor, so yes, random. The denouement feels even more random, and the climax of this movie involves several hilariously inserted stock footage of clouds to drive home the fact that this movie is both awful and cheap.
At any rate, Hellraiser: Judgment is awful in every conceivable way. The only reason to watch this is that you are related to the cast and you decide to show some support. Everyone else, just don’t bother with this terminal cancer of a flick.