Critic reviews for Hulu’s Hellraiser reboot have come out, and it looks like the franchise is getting back on track. Directed by David Bruckner, with a screenplay by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, the movie is the second adaptation of Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart, and serves as an overhaul of the popular horror franchise after a string of subpar sequels. Jamie Clayton takes over the role of Pinhead from Doug Bradley, Stephan Smith Collins, and Paul T. Taylor, with the film also starring Odessa A’zion, Drew Starkey, Brandon Flynn, Goran Višnjić, and Hiam Abbass.
The development of a Hellraiser remake began in 2006, with filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo attached to the project a year later. However, the adaptation was eventually canceled and retooled to another remake with director Pascal Laugier set to helm the movie. But that version, and many others, of the project were also canned, and Hellraiser was stuck in a perpetual state of development hell, until the success of David Gordon Green’s Halloween ignited Spyglass Media Group’s interest in developing a new version of The Hellbound Heart. With the Hellraiser reboot following a string of poorly received sequels, critics are finally sharing their thoughts on the film.
With the movie finally out on Hulu, critics have shared their thoughts on the latest installment in the Hellraiser franchise, and it’s now the best-reviewed installment in the series since the first one, sitting at a 68 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Check out what some critics are saying below:
Alexander Harrison, Screen Rant:
“David Bruckner’s new Hellraiser brings the structure that was missing by supplying both a Final Destination-esque narrative engine and actual, comprehensible rules governing its supernatural creatures, creating a sturdier story that’s easier to enjoy. On its journey to the horror-mainstream, however, it also sands down some of those sharp edges that made the original so compelling.”
Chris Evangelista, SlashFilm:
“Pinhead and the new cenobites here are effectively scary and strange — but good look trying to see them for most of the film. They all have slick new designs, but the film is so murky and dark that you might need to boost your TV brightness. Barker’s original film trafficked in darkness, too. But we could still see what the frig was happening on the screen. The real issue with Bruckner’s “Hellraiser,” however, is that it often feels kind of generic. I don’t even love Barker’s original film all that much, but it felt different. Barker was never the best filmmaker, but he knew how to create an otherworldly atmosphere that stuck in your brain.”
Jeremiah Monaghan, DiscussingFilm:
“Most people will probably be going into Hellraiser (2022) expecting another lackluster addition in this vein, especially with it being touted as a reboot and released directly to streaming on Hulu. However, in a shocking turn of events, this year’s Hellraiser is a much-welcomed return to glory, reinventing the series while honoring the decades of history that came before.”
Owen Gleiberman, Variety:
“Flesh gets torn and flayed, flesh gets peeled and sliced, flesh gets split wide open with mystical mechanical devices of invasive terror. The film’s brutal final act may remind you of such queasy landmarks of cinematic mutilation as “Audition,” “The Cell,” the “Saw” series, the 2018 remake of “Suspiria,” and David Cronenberg’s recent return to body horror “Crimes of the Future.””
“It accomplishes everything you want in a Hellraiser movie: Sensation, Gore, Puzzle Solving, Cenobites, and Camp. It’s a timely story about how far we will go to get what we want and whether will we really pay that price, however costly it may be. The score is delectable, sticking with you long after the credits roll. The special effects and the practicality are impressive and uniquely excellent; I love the designs of each Cenobite in their own, disgusting, way. While there are some pacing issues, particularly in the first act, the editing and the cinematography lean more toward being smooth, intense and vividly awesome.”
While many reviewers agree that it’s a step above the lackluster sequels of the franchise, some critics aren’t entirely convinced that this Hellraiser reboot is as memorable as the original. However, much like Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey, the latest installment in the franchise has renewed interest for horror fans to seek out the original film and watch the franchise to compare it with the 2022 reboot. However, Prey was generally better received than Hellraiser, with most critics agreeing that the leaner plot and action setpieces made it a unique entry in the Predator franchise, especially coming off the heels of Shane Black’s disastrous The Predator.
Still, the reboot’s generally positive reception may jumpstart a new franchise involving Pinhead and the Cenobites. Time will tell if audiences will want more Hellraiser. And just like Prey‘s social media reactions made fans want to see the movie in a theater, one would hope that Pinhead eventually returns to the big screen, where he belongs.