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Hellraiser: Hellseeker – 5

Director – Rick Bota

Cast – Dean Winters, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley, Rachel Hayward, Sarah-Jane Redmond, Jody Thompson, Kaaren de Zilva, William S. Taylor, Michael Rogers

Release Year – 2002

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After viewing the pathetic Hellraiser: Inferno I ventured to the next film in the series, appearing two years later, Hellraiser: Hellseeker. Much like its predecessor, Hellraiser: Hellseeker was written as its own film separate from the Hellraiser series but was then purchased and rewritten a little to match up (somewhat) with the Hellraiser story. While this effort was definitely an improvement over Hellraiser: Inferno it did not come without its numerous faults, and ultimately failed to deliver a good story and instead just a less messy one.

Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) is now a grown woman, far away from the mental institutions and troubles associated with her bouts with the cenobites almost two decades prior, and married to the love of her life, Trevor Gooden. While traveling they suffer a terrible car crash were Kirsty is killed and Trevor is left with amnesia. As Trevor recovers and tries to piece his life and memories back together he finds himself being blamed for his wife’s death, but that is the last of his problems when he discovers a strange puzzle box that summons the Cenobites.

I was not sure whether or not I would enjoy the writers bringing Kirsty Cotton back into the franchise, but seeing her die during the opening sequences of the film had me assured this would be a much different film than I expected. From then on out the film focuses on Trevor as he must deal with piecing his life together and two annoying police detectives who believe foul play on his part is involved in his wife’s death. As the film progresses and he learns more about the events surrounding his wife’s death we also experience the same confusion that he is feeling. I enjoyed that as the film went on we learned that this honest-looking businessman was actually involved in some very sleazy and questionable relationships with people other than his wife, and the more he learns about himself the more he feels that he may have in fact purposely caused his wife’s death. Eventually the Lament Configuration is brought into the mix about 35 minutes into the film, and unlike Hellraiser: Inferno we are actually given more than five minutes of Pinhead action. The rest of the story gets a bit messy as Trevor must deal with the constant revelations as well as his constant headaches and hallucinations resulting from the Lament Configuration, but it was nowhere near as messy as the previous film in series. Eventually things build up to a pretty decent twist in the end that I did not see coming, but found satisfying and pretty horrific.

Hellraiser: Hellseeker marks director Rick Bota’s first film, and while his direction was decent it would up being good enough for producers to bring him back and direct the next two Hellraiser installments, Deader and Hellworld. Right away I noticed that the production value had increased in comparison to the film’s predecessor, Inferno, bringing it from a crappy look to a decent one with OK atmosphere. The horror hits early on and Bota does a decent job executing it, and the same goes for the usage of the Cenobites and eventually Pinhead. There is a high mystery element provided by the storyline, but I never really felt that Bota’s execution of the mystery was very good. He kept me watching, but I cannot say that he kept me “interested”. On top of that there are some pretty piss-poor performances in the film, with the worst coming from Kaaren de Zilva as Sage – one of Trevor’s whores. I would love to say that despite everything that went wrong with the direction, Rick Bota managed to provide good horror and plenty of gore, but loads of cheap CGI served as the only real FX we get and you know how well such FX bide over with me in the horror genre.

Overall, Hellraiser: Hellseeker is an improvement over Hellraiser: Inferno but is nowhere near a good film that I would recommend. The problems suffered by the Hellrasier series after Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth are still in full effect three films later.

Rating: 5/10

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