Blu-ray Review: HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT

HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT is based characters created by Clive Barker. This tenth installment in the horror franchise was written and directed by long-time special effects master Gary J.Tunnicliffe and stars Damon Carney, Randy Wayne, Alexandra Harris, Helena Grace Donald, John Gulager, Heather Langenkamp and Paul T. Taylor who takes over the role of Pinhead.

The dreaded Pinhead returns in the next terrifying chapter of the classic Hellraiser series. Three detectives trying to stop a diabolical serial killer are sucked into a maze of otherworldly horror, where hellish denizens including the Auditor, the Assessor, and the Jury await to pass judgment.

The opening scene for Hellraiser: Judgment shows Pinhead (Paul T. Taylor) and the Auditor (Gary J. Tunnicliffe) discussing a different kind of strategy to lure in some new lambs to the slaughter. Long story short, the Lament Configuration has become sort of outdated so they’ve open up shop in an old abandoned house where they can hold court for a new batch of victims. Don’t worry because the box still works! There’s also Detectives Sean Carter (Damon Carney) and David Carter (Randy Wayne ) who team up with Detective Christine Egerton (Alexandra Harris) on a case to track down a serial killer who is going around the city and murdering people who have broken the Ten Commandments. Their investigation slowly uncovers clues that get them closer to the mysterious killer until he ultimately reveals himself. Once the reveal takes place, this is where the killer must pay the ultimate price for the crimes that he’s committed an the Hell Priest arrives to oversee it.

Okay, I would say that Hellraiser: Judgment falls somewhere in the middle of the pack as far as the Hellraiser movies go but it’s the best one to come along in a really long time because it’s something new and original for the franchise. Pinhead, Chatterer and the Stitch Twins are joined by the Auditor, the Butcher and the Surgeon who sort of act as a court for those who are to be judged. It’s always cool to see other Cenobites show up for some carnage but the introduction to these three new characters from Hell was a nice addition, especially the Auditor. These three new characters are part of a faction known as the Stygian Inquisition where the Cenobites serve the Order of the Gash. Hell is full of different factions so these are just two of many that try to coexist in the domain of the damned.

As you can imagine, Hellraiser: Judgment didn’t have a big budget at all and as a matter of fact I read where it only cost around $350,000 to make. It’s a shame that Dimension didn’t want to sink any more money into this horror franchise that has brought in so much revenue for it over the years. What’s amazing here is the fact that Gary J. Tunnicliffe and his team pulled off something pretty darn cool. This is an ambitious low budget production that shows die hard fans things they haven’t seen in a long time. I guess the only thing I didn’t like about the movie is the crime story with the detectives because we’ve already gotten that a few times in other Hellraiser movies. Tunnicliffe’s story for this movie was also original where many of the previous sequels simply took an existing script and placed the Cenobites in them.

There’s several nice surprises here as well as nods to some previous Hellraiser films and it all looks really impressive. Pinhead has gotten a slight change with his appearance and Paul T. Taylor did a great job with his performance as the Hell Priest. Look, nobody will ever replace Doug Bradley but if we want more Hellraiser movies then we’re going to have to get over it and move on – and I have! Let’s just forget about the turd that dropped in Hellraiser: Revelations because this new movie easily makes up for that mistake. Hellraiser: Judgment also features some interesting and unique characters that are complimented by some impressive special effects. There’s plenty of blood and gore so the horror hounds out there should hopefully be satisfied.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, more artwork and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I went into Hellraiser: Judgment with some extremely low expectations and came out of it pleasantly surprised. Gary J. Tunnicliffe has been with this franchise since the third movie and this time he decided to get behind the camera and tell a story that he came up with. The original story was interesting but it was also a little confusing at times with all that’s going on with some of these characters. The small cast did a really good job with their characters and once again it’s Tunnicliffe whose new character “the Auditor” kind of steals the show and hopefully we’ll see more of him in future installments. Tunnicliffe and his team did a really good job with the makeup effects, blood and gore in the movie plus there’s a little visual effects added in where it’s needed. All in all, this tenth installment was such a better watch than Hellraiser: Revelations and it’s sort of a return to form for the franchise.  Hellraiser: Judgment will be available on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) on February 13th. Remember to watch through the end credits.

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Run Time: 81 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: There’s not much but we do get two deleted/extended scenes, a gag reel and digital copy of the movie.

  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (07:10)
  • Gag Reel (4:23)
  • Digital HD Copy

 

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