Detectives Sean and David Carter are on the case to find a gruesome serial killer terrorizing the city. Joining forces with Detective Christine Egerton, they dig deeper into a spiraling maze of horror that may not be of this world.
Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Doctor Channard is sent a new patient, a girl warning of the terrible creatures that have destroyed her family, Cenobites who offer the most intense sensations of pleasure and pain. But Channard has been searching for the doorway to Hell for years, and Kirsty must follow him to save her father and witness the power struggles among the newly damned.Written by
David Carroll <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Another uncut video version is reportedly available on a Japanese laserdisc edition and features an extra scene in hell where Kirsty finds herself in a normal-looking room she associates with her childhood; a framed photograph of her parents is displayed on a bureau. She admires the photo and looks yearningly at her mother. After taking a short look around the room, she finds that Julia has replaced her mother in the photo. Suddenly, it begins to ripple and a bevy of cockroaches burst forth from the frame. Roaches crawl forth from behind the bureau, toppling it, and she screams. This scene is inserted during the spinning shot of Kirsty screaming, but before the Cenobites appear. A subsequent shot of Kirsty running along a hellish path with Tiffany is also slightly extended. See more »
Despite appreciating horror very much (with a lot of classic ones out there, such as 'Halloween', 'Nightmare on Elm Street', 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Night of the Living Dead' and 'The Exorcist', plus the best of Hammer House of Horror), even if not my favourite genre, it took me a while to get round to watching the 'Hellraiser' franchise. Due to having so much to watch and review, and the list keeps getting longer and longer.
The film that started the franchise off is not only for me by far the best of the 'Hellraiser' films it also for me, and quite a few others it seems, is one of the stronger horror films of the 80s, though not quite of all time. What is meant by being by far the best of the 'Hellraiser' films is that it is the only one to be above very good, the nine sequels were very variable (leaning towards the disappointing) and the latter films particularly are suggestive of the franchise having run its course.
While the original 'Hellraiser' will always be the best of the series, its first sequel 'Hellbound: Hellraiser II' is one of its better sequels. Would go as far to say from personal opinion it's the best. Not as good as the original and understandably polarising, but it doesn't disgrace it. In some ways it is somewhat of a retread in terms of story except with more gore and less clarity of storytelling, though the imagination and ambition remains.
'Hellbound: Hellraiser II' has its problems. The script is not as vivid and thought-provoking this time round, numerous times being cheesy and muddled. Will Hope is very bland in an underwritten role.
Coming off worst for me was the ending, the Cenobites did deserve a much better defeat than the slapdash and silly one that is here while the staging of the ending itself is more like an incomprehensible parody complete with a terrible, unintentionally silly looking Channard.
On the other hand, the production values mostly were fine. It's very atmospherically shot and the hellish imagery is disturbingly vivid. Apart from Channard, the effects are hardly schlocky and while prominent they are not overused or abused. The music score is an improvement here, more fitting with the atmosphere and very haunting music on its own. Tony Randel does more than competently when it comes to the direction, staying loyal to the spirit of the original. The script is patchy but still intrigues.
Same goes for the story, regardless of whether sense is a strong suit or not (it isn't), which is most notable for Pinhead's very intriguing back-story and more of the Cenobites. Do prefer the mysteriousness they had in the original from being catalysts rather than being heavily focused on, but they are genuinely frightening, still look good and seeing more of and to them made them more interesting. While the ending disappoints, the twist is a clever one. Like the original, 'Hellbound: Hellraiser II' is genuinely disturbing while having tension, suspense and dread, the creativity of the set-pieces and deaths still remaining. The inmate skin flaying especially will be embedded in my mind forever. The gore is more in quantity and more graphic, but it didn't feel that pointless to me even if some parts serve more purpose to the story than others.
Characters have personality and don't do anything that makes one infuriated by them, the detail to characterisation that was present in the original is here too. Cannot say anything bad about the performances, apart from Hope. Imogen Boorman brings nuance to a role not easy to pull off, while Clare Higgins and especially Kenneth Cranham are deliciously evil. Ashley Laurence is appealing and Doug Bradley shows why Pinhead is justifiably a horror icon.
To conclude, worthy sequel. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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