The 2022 “Hellraiser” the horror franchise reboot, often resembles an artful and over-produced tribute to “Hellraiser,” Clive Barker’s kinky and sometimes genuinely nightmarish 1987 shocker. The halting pace, scattered focus, and potent ghastliness of Barker’s movie reflects its nature as Barker’s feature directorial debut, a decent adaptation of his 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart. This “Hellraiser,” made 35 years and nine sequels after the original, feels dutiful and staid where Barker’s version reflected his unique sensibility and preoccupations. The cleverest additions to the “Hellraiser” canon will only be apparent to established fans since the makers of the latest movie awkwardly graft a sometimes-inspired monster movie onto the back of a trauma-focused character study.
The remaining characters in this new “Hellraiser,” including Matt’s boyfriend Colin and Riley’s roommate Nora only have personalities enough to react to whatever circumstantial peril arises from Riley’s quest for answers. That general lack of personality wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t so much dead air throughout—seriously, one hundred and twenty-one—which mainly gives viewers time to wonder who exactly these new Cenobites are and why their opaque personalities now have all of the charm of well-restored hand-me-downs.