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HELLRAISER: DEADER is pretty good, especially in the first half which
has two of the more intense and creepy scenes I have seen in a DTV
flick in a while. I'm talking, of course, about the first videotape and
when Amy explores the abandoned house.
Where DEADER fails is when it tries to tie into the HELLRAISER mythology. As has been well publicized, DEADER started out as an original screenplay by Neal Marshall Stevens that Dimension Films bought for no less than 1 million dollars. Then they lost faith in it and let it collect dust before hiring Tim Day to do a rewrite and turn it into a HELLRAISER sequel. I don't blame the guy, because he probably did the best he could, given such a ridiculous task. But it's a shame that DEADER did end up like this. Without the 30 seconds worth of Pinhead at the end this could have been a minor genre masterpiece. As it stands, it's just a bizarre, schizophrenic film with some outstanding moments, some scenes that really work and some that really don't. Once again, shame on Dimension Films for wasting this opportunity.
In addition to original screenwriter Stevens, director Rick Bota also deserves some praise. He's made a good looking and often tense film that is never less than competent. Hopefully he'll be able to break free from his current job at Dimension eventually. The guy has talent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a huge fan of the Hellraiser movies and the Hellraiser universe,
but the movies are getting worse and worse. To me, there are only 3
"real" Hellraiser movies, and that's the first 3. The fourth has some
ups and downs, but all in all, I think Pinhead's awesome dialog makes
up for the downs. The fifth is taking it all in a different direction,
a direction I strongly disagree with, but nevertheless, it's an
interesting movie, with pretty good acting and visually, it's very
Then this Rick Bota guy comes along... And just as I thought it couldn't get any worse, he delivers the deathblow to the Hellraiser franchise. His movies are messed up, the main characters in both hellseeker and deader keeps experiencing some horrible stuff, and just as it's about to get fun, they "wake up" to discover that they were just dreaming or had a vision - I hate that, it's messy and confusing! Also, Pinhead's role in these movies is not very well defined, which is also (sadly) very well shown by his absence. He only appear in a few minutes in both of Bota's miserable movies to deliver some nice one-liners.
This Bota guy is destroying what true fans love about these movies, I hope this will be the end, no need to make it a long a painful death, Hellraiser deserves better...
Well finally "Hellraiser: Deader" has arrived after a few years
gathering dust on the shelf.
I agree with other members that it does seem to breathe some life in to this once outstanding franchise, but as with the other sequels it just lacks what the earlier films had in abundance. My personal view is that you can really tell that this wasn't written as a "Hellraiser" film.
For the first half hour or so except with the odd reference to "The Box" this could have been any other horror film and it kind of remains that way throughout.
The one thing really missing for me as with "Hellraiser: Inferno" and "Hellraiser: Hellseaker" is we just don't see enough of the "Cenobites".
I don't just mean "Pinhead" I mean all of them. You see a few glancing shots of them, but I'm sorry its just not enough. Its does seem a waste not giving them screen time. There are 6 "Cenobites" in this movie ("Pinhead", "Chatterer", "Bound", "Stitch", "Little Sister") & ("Spike" in the bonus material!) why are all these needed for 5 minutes of screen time? To be fair they did seem to play a bigger part in this than Parts V or VI, however they have almost become extras or cameos these days.
I have read a few comments from other users saying that these films are not about "Pinhead" but there is a reason he has been in all of the franchise to date.
I agree that one of the strengths of "Hellraiser" is they are stand alone stories, but in any franchise you need a recurring factor and the "Cenobites" and in particular "Pinhead" is it.
The "Cenobites" are "Hellraiser", which is why the later films don't feel like "Hellraiser" movies at all.
"Hellraiser: Deader" is a good and one of the better sequels to date and should give all fans hope for "Hellraiser: Hellworld" but as I remarked with "Hellraiser: Hellseaker" the fleeting glimpses of the "Cenobites" just are not enough.
Get back to the essence of the movies and set the story around them or let them play a major part again. The later films in this series sadly, could have been so much more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was a little reluctant to watch this installment, mostly because of
the small little plot details that emerged many month's before the
movie actually came out. HOWEVER, being an avid Hellraiser fan, I went
out and bought the movie, much to my delight, I truly enjoyed it.
Before I go into too much detail, let me state that I, in no way,
compare any movie to any other. Every movie is an entry into the
mythos, and should be treated as such. With that being said, let me
elaborate. First, I felt this movie had a very dark feel, more so than
Hellseeker and Inferno. The imagery in this one was very powerful (ala
The Ring style) and deserves some much needed praise. The ending I
thought was one of the better endings I've seen since Hellraiser III.
It was a nice touch to link this one back to Bloodlines, though it did
feel like it was an afterthought. The acting was very good, and it was
nice to see a female in the lead again. I have to say though, New
Hellriaser (i.e Post Hellraiser:Bloondlines) is starting to develop a
very predictable style. Let me explain. 1) Man/Woman opens box 2)
Visions and dreams haunt him 3) Man finds himself in hell without his
knowing 4) Pinhead emerges to say "Welcome to Hell"
Now with that being said, as I was watching Deader, I was saying to myself "Yawn, here we go again". About an hour into it, I started to really like it. Not that it detracted to much from that formula, but it did so just enough that you stop yawning and start to really wonder what it going on. Unlike Hellseeker, the flashback/hunting's and reality wasn't not that intricately tied together so that it confuses the #### out of you. This one pulls it off very well. It's my opinion that if this was the first entry after Bloodlines, it would not have been bashed so hard. It's a great stand-alone Hellraiser film, though it doesn't have the power of the first 3, it still is a worthwhile watch
The latest installment in the Hellraiser series is by far and wide the worst entry. Fans seem to be torn in regards to the direction the direct to video sequels have taken. Some are upset Pinhead is no longer a central character, some don't care. I love Hellraiser II which features Pinhead prominently and I also love Inferno in which he barely has a cameo. So I am not biased either way. I will not tear this movie down just because Doug Bradley has a minuscule role. I will tear it down for being an incoherent piece of crap. This particular script was pre-existing (simply titled Deader) and the good folks at Dimension decided that they could turn it into a stellar Hellraiser film. It didn't work. Clive Barker's Cenobites just don't fit into this story. It's as simple as that. And that title: Deader. Talk about poor English. Expect yet another Hellraiser sequel (again directed by Rick Bota) in September.
I thought this movie was really good. I found myself interested the whole time in what was happening, and liked seeing the main character falling deeper into what she was trying to undercover. I liked the idea of the movie - I thought the "Deaders" were pretty cool. Some of the sequences were absolutely awesome. Lots of blood and horrific moments. Aside from that though, I felt like something was missing. It wasn't quite like the other Hellraiser movies, even the bad ones. It didn't seem like much of a Hellraiser movie at all, especially since Pinhead and the cenobites only get a tad amount of screen time. This movie wasn't originally written as a Hellraiser movie, so that explains the missing link. It was a definite improvement over the last couple in the Hellraiser series, and was a really great movie; but I'm not too sure if I'd really call it much of a Hellraiser movie.
Hellraiser: Deader is a Hellraiser film for the latest generation. Gone
are the 80's style dialog, poor characterization and thin plots.
Critics will be disappointed, however, because gone as well are the
Cenobites, including Pinhead, until the last reel. However, unlike the
last film (Hellseeker) which reduced Pinhead to a poor plot device,
Deader makes the chief Cenobite a key player in the entire story, and
his final appearance helps bring the story to a gruesome, and scary
Again, those older folks looking to recapture the Freddy/Jason era goofiness of 80's horror films will be disappointed. This is a psychological tale, but peppered with enough Hellraiser horror and blood to satisfy today's horror fan. It's also -- surprise! -- a SMART film.
Chain-smoking reporter Amy Klein is fresh off her hot underbelly expose on crack whores when she is assigned to investigate a Romanian cult called The Deaders, who appear to be cheating death through the ministrations of their leader Winter. During the investigation she not only uncovers the secret of their snuff-film like activities, but also finds the black-and-gold puzzle box. Soon she finds herself trapped between the manipulations of Winter and the vengeance of Pinhead, who is less than happy that the Deaders are treading in his trade.
Kari Wuhrer puts in a remarkable performance given the genre, and despite her less than stellar previous film credits. Much of this is due to an excellent script by Stevens and Day, who eschew the frequent one-liners and obvious plot turns of previous installments. (Although Pinhead gets a few dramatic utterances in, of course.) Wuhrer is convincing as someone caught in a weird web of grotesque absurdity, not at all like the amateurish and often unbelievable performances of Ashley Laurence, Pinhead's usual nemesis Kirsty in previous films. Wurher also proves one can put in a good performance in an atypical Hellraiser film, something at which Hellseeker's wooden lead Dean Winters failed miserably.
Rick Bota's direction is much improved with this episode as well, to the point of being quite a different kind of film than Hellseeker. The use of a Romanian crew provides an influx of high technical skill and artistry so that the viewer will not realize the budget was low; unlike Hellseeker, where Pinhead's arrival was about as technically complex as someone opening the blinds, here the gore and FX are much improved and very, very well utilized.
Visually, the film is filled with clever cues and foreshadowing. A punk rock informant provides Amy with information while wearing his hair in tiny, spiked braids, a subtle reminder of Pinhead's impending appearance. Throughout we are shown boxes that invoke the Lament Configuration: checkerboard floor patterns, window panes, right angles. This is smart film-making, something we have not seen in recent Hellraiser films, and lacking in even more recent big-budget horror films as The Grudge, Dawn of the Dead or The Ring.
The script is well done, building on Amy's character with surprising depth, and allowing us to find out some disturbing truths about her past. Time is not spent on developing side characters, so that more effort can be put into Amy; this is probably a smart idea. At first Amy appears to be cartoonish, smoking and talking tough, but soon enough she is vulnerable and frightened.
The movie suffers from a few problems, of course. In what is an annoying habit of horror movie directors, scenes begin building to a frightening climax only to be abruptly cut off as the character awakens, or is suddenly transported somewhere else. This happens a few too many times in this film, as Amy is confronting some horror, and suddenly awakens in a different location (a bath, a hospital) left to wonder if it was a dream. After the second time we see this, it becomes a joke. In this film, it happens about FIVE times. Enough already! However, the scriptwriters and director wise up at one point, and when you expect another "wake up" sequence, you don't get it, and Amy is left wandering the rest of the third and fourth reels bleeding like a stuck pig, not waking up. Wuhrer deserves credit for allowing herself to be filmed topless in critical scenes, where she is fumbling with a knife that has been stuck in her back, and the film deserves credit for not polluting the movie with needless nudity.
Overall, this is a remarkable entry in the Hellraiser series, and it amps the films up a notch. If this had been the first we had seen the Box and Hellraiser, we would be amazed and this would have become an immediate cult classic, if not a commercial success. Coming so late in the franchise, it will be hard for folks to treat this as a new film. Some will not like it in comparison, because it discontinues the formula of the earlier films. But as a standalone, horrific psycho-drama, with one hell of an ending, Hellraiser:Deader is an excellent Hellraiser film for the 2000's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Whoever made this monstrosity deserves to feel the wrath of Pinhead's
chains. Just when I thought they couldn't make a bad Hellraiser movie,
along comes Hellraiser 7. Even if you could even call it a Hellraiser
movie, this movie has the acting standards of Baywatch, a ridiculous
storyline to match South Park, and features Pinhead and the cenobites
for almost less than Inferno. For Hellraiser 5, this was necessary as
the storyline was geared towards "The Engineer" and the expectation of
this demon. Deader instead focuses on a stupid cult who have found a
loophole in the Lament Configuration mechanics and are walking the
earth dead. It's confusing and is so silly, and you won't care about
any of the characters anyway. The directors also achieve to make a
Hellraiser movie look like Tom & Jerry within the last few minutes when
the Brit is convincingly killed, only for him to shout a witty one
liner before toppling to the ground.
Pinhead has been disgraced.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie, the 6th sequel in the series, shows that the series steady
decline has shown some improvement. Too bad its probably the last
chapter worth watching, as I'm sure the self-referential, tongue in
cheek upcoming Hellraiser VIII (!):"Hellworld" will make sure the
remaining 1986 Hellraiser fans (are there any others out there?) who
have accompanied the series, are completely alienated once and for all.
First of all: Bota makes for it technically, the movie is beautiful visually, the photography of Vivi Dragan Vasile is crisp, clear and filled with vibrant color. But...
...I was disappointed to a great extent with the story.
Based on a script "Deader" by Neal Marshall Stevens, Tim Day did his best to re-write it, including Hellraiser elements into a story at first completely alien to that concept. And... it shows.
The confusion settles in when the main character, Amy Klein opens the Lament Configuration she finds in an apartment, from the hands of a dead woman. Or is she? The plot gimmick used in Hellraiser V and VI is used again, much to the chagrin of fans: the old 'it was only a dream' thing, again and again, introducing cheap thrills only to have the main character open her eyes and suddenly she's someplace else. This happens 2 or three times in the movie, and quite frankly I didn't like it.
The Visual and Special Effects are very good Jamison Goei is looking at another award for sure.
The plot goes around trying to make us believe that it makes sense, but unfortunately it barely manages to introduce some semblance of coherence before splitting apart at the seams if analyzed in closer scrutiny.
I had the privilege of discussing it with Tim Day, and I have since understood it better, but frankly the necessary elements have to be in the movie, not out of it. The explanations he gave me could have been introduced to an extent into the script.
The ending is also a let down, I honestly felt it was somewhat anti-climactic; the cenobites apart from Pinhead are nothing but furniture, they barely move from their marks due to latex masks which are basically sensory deprivation devices. Pinhead delivers a few lines and it's Greek tragedy as the cenobites are the 'Deus ex machina' who enter the stage to do the sweep up and conclusion.
Funny how Pinhead now claims 'Hell' is HIS domain, as older fans might remember that in the second movie a great Deity was introduced: Leviathan, lord of the Labyrinth, created by Clive Barker and Peter Atkins, only to fall into obscurity after Rock'n'Roll Pinhead fans made him a global Icon for head bangers, (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth). Even Barker joined the fun, shooting a video of his friend Doug Bradley in the Pinhead suit appearing alongside Lemmy Killmister, famous Motörhead leader.
'The Hellbound Heart' fans might find some lines taken from the novella.
All in all, an honorable addition to the series, but the story could be better. In my opinion, the weak story dragged it down. Visually very good. I give it a 6/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
HELLRAISER: DEADER is yet another entry in the long running HELLRAISER
franchise. Given the radical departure of latter entries in the
franchise, one is almost amazed at how far removed the series has
become from it's first two entries. In fact, the sequels are so
different that one could almost consider the first two entries stand
alone's & the sequels of a different world entirely & this latest entry
only proves this point.
HELLRAISER: DEADER has a very interesting production history to it, simply because when it was first written, it wasn't a HELLRAISER movie, the film was simply called DEADER & was about an investigative reporter meeting a cult that could bring the dead back to life. DIMENSION FILMS was going to finance & distribute the movie, which was written by NEAL MARSHALL STEVENS & produced by the late Special Effects artist STAN WINSTON (who is still credited here as Producer), then DEADER disappeared, shelved after a lengthy pre-production period, never to be seen again, until DIMENSION FILMS decided to cut costs & film two sequels to HELLRAISER back to back in Romania, at the same time they were filming Dracula 2 & 3 & PROPHECY 4 & 5 of their respective franchises. Re-writing the original DEADER script to become a HELLRAISER film, therefore it should come to no surprise why HELLRAISER: DEADER winds up an uneven & arguably least entertaining entry in the HELLRAISER franchise. HELLRAISER: DEADER returns to the psychological mind mess that the last two sequels ventured into. The only problem is, is that by this point & after two previous entries, the mind mess movie theme has become redundant & stale. It's clear that DIMENSION FILMS has no love for the HELLRAISER franchise. In fact each passing entry in the franchise starting after Four, has had increasingly smaller & smaller budgets. Even worse is the fact that the re- writes on the original script didn't help any, as Pinhead & the Cenobites are barely featured at all here & they don't serve the purpose of the films main story. The scenes they are in, bare so little connection with the main plot, one could almost swear they were outtakes from one of the previous movies, the connection between the cult & Pinhead is so minimal that they could have written the cenobites & Pinhead himself out & they would still have a movie! The film has no scares & despite being set in Romania, the film is also void of any real atmosphere. DIMENSION FILMS even tried to connect the cult leader character to the LeMarchand family, the lead characters in HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE, by saying he was a family member, but this is pointless & is only revealed at the end in order to cover up the fact that the original script is so far removed from the actual HELLRAISER universe. The acting is barely competent, with only KARI WUHRER standing out in a rather blandly written role. The other characters & actors are mainly forgettable. Returning director RICK BOAT was clearly doing this one for the paycheck, since he brings none of the passion & excellent camera movies he brought to HELLRAISER: HELLSEEKER, the direction here is merely pedestrian & Pinhead & the cenobites are hardly menacing, despite DOUG BRADLEY'S commanding performance as Pinhead. The cult is not scary or interesting they come off as nothing more than a bunch of weirdo's & that goes double for the leader named Winter, who is as about in depth character wise as a slurpy.
All in all, HELLRAISER: DEADER is an okay time waster, but not what one would call good, in fact it makes for a fairly mediocre entry. What was once a highly entertaining franchise, has been reduced to a watered down direct to DVD franchise for DIMENSION FILMS in order for them to line their pockets with cash, given to them by the series most ardent fans. Heck at this point they don't even bother hiring writers to write a new script, they just pull any old script out of the vault, get writers to add references & include a couple scenes with Pinhead & the cenobites to make it a HELLRAISER movie & then film it, most notably using old scripts that were psychologically driven mind mess thrillers, so they can pay DOUG BRADLEY as little as possible & use him for about a day or two worth of shooting days, so they don't have to pay his salary, which further goes to show how much love the studio has for this franchise & character. Pinhead is nothing more to them than a cash cow, they go to the barn & milk very once in a while, in order to make more cash for themselves, without any care for the fan base or legacy of the franchise. Filmed in 2003 but sat unreleased until 2005 & shot back to back with it's sequel, HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD
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