After three decades and ten sequels, the Hellraiser franchise is getting rebooted on Hulu next week. Simply titled Hellraiser, David Bruckner‘s (The Night House) reimagining of Clive Barker‘s novel The Hellbound Heart promises to drag us all into hell, where the Cenobites will welcome us with new pleasures and pains. But is the Hellraiser reboot any good? Fortunately, the first Hellraiser reactions are overwhelmingly positive, with critics praising the movie for its gory and elegant approach to the plot.
The Hellraiser franchise revolves around a mysterious puzzle box that can open a portal to a hellish dimension where there’s no difference between pleasure and pain. Some people intentionally open the box, willing to give their bodies away to the Cenobites, creatures they see as angels. Others get trapped inside the box by mistake, and their eternal torture leads them to see the Cenobites as demons. Either way, the Cenobites are unique creatures in horror movies because they must always be summoned by their victims, making each tortured soul partially responsible for the gruesome destiny they meet.
Bruckner’s Hellraiser is bringing the franchise back to the basics, with a group of curious victims involved with occult forces they don’t fully understand. Every image we saw so far also underlines how the reboot sticks close to the iconic aesthetic created by Barker’s original film adaptation.
The reboot stars Jamie Clayton (Sense8) as the new Hell Priestess, Pinhead, the leader of the Cenobites. Clayton is taking over the role originally belonging to Doug Bradley, and some fans were worried she would not live up to the high expectations surrounding Pinhead. Fortunately, Clayton seems to deliver a worthy version of the character, as Hunter Bolding praises the cast on top of the visuals and “excellent kill.”
Graham Slipper also underlines how Bruckner’s Hellraiser is “poetic” besides “super violent,” which sounds like the perfect reboot. While Barker’s Hellraiser is truly scary, it also has some uncomfortable horniness about it, with a visual design clearly inspired by BDSM practices. So, it’s good to know the reboot is respecting the original work.
The praises don’t stop there, with Simon Thompson, C. Robert Cargill, and Cinema Stimulus’ James all underlining how Hellraiser is the nightmare we were all hoping it to be.
Cody Leach goes as far as calling the reboot the best Hellraiser movie since the original.
Bleeding Cool’s Scaremy K does point out that the reboot takes some time to get things going. Even so, once hell is unleashed, Hellraiser is “relentless and gory and pure horror bliss.”
Hellraiser will premiere exclusively on Hulu as part of their annual Huluween celebration on October 7. Check out the movie’s trailer below.