Earth has been silenced and mankind eradicated by one final war. Now in the bowels of Hell Pinhead, Leader of the Cenobites finds himself bored, tortured by his own immortality and facing the fear that his own dark legion will eventually turn upon him. The only thing left to do?..the last possible slice of sensation he can experience?...to open the puzzle box himself.
Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Gary J. Tunnicliffe,
Mike J. Regan,
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
In 2005 Jonathan S. Kui unleashed "Hellraiser: Prophecy" upon the world, a fan film crossover made with passion, ingenuity and a false beard of pure evil. Now, Jonny Kui has returned with a semi-sequel, semi-prequel that encompasses not only his previous fan work but also Hellraiser: Bloodline and Hellraiser: Deader. Taking advice given after "Hellraiser: Prophecy", Jonny Kui has cast his film with actors, auditioned for the roles, and added an original score but, the key question is, with what results? The first thing that strikes the viewer about Winter's Lament, especially if they saw the previous effort, is just how much more confident this film is. The camera is more free, the lighting more designed, the narrative not straight forward and there's a constant sense that the envelope is being pushed in what can be achieved in a low budget fan movie. The first scene jumps right in with re-enacting the conclusion of "Hellraiser: Deader" from a unique perspective, which ends on a brilliantly freaky reveal, and right away sets the tone for the film.
The movie, as I said above, plays with its narrative, jumping about in Winter's lifetime which may be a little confusing for those who aren't familiar with the material but on screen captions help guide the way in what is essentially a character study. The story incorporates numerous Hellraiser references, and material also from the Prophecy films, including a clever explanation for Winter's powers. Some of the films best scenes are the small, but momentous ones, such as Winter's first dabbling in resurrecting the dead. Even when there are a lot of plot moments and dialogue scenes, Jonny Kui keeps things interesting with tense flashes of imagery, and appearances from familiar characters, often in hallucinatory form.
As a character piece, a lot of importance lies on the casting of Winter and star Pete Mizzo puts in an excellent performance, a somewhat different take than in "Deader" but one that works for the character and almost adds an innocent aspect to him. Certainly, we get to see the development, and evolution of him over time, although it was a shame we didn't get to see any of his early attempts to raise the dead and the consequences of these events. All the same, Mizzo, has a certain energy that's consistently watchable and his scenes with April McCullough as Bobbi Merchant have plenty of energy. The rest of the cast are equally good in their roles, and Jonny Kui gets some good performances all round.
The effects on this film are not as prominent as Jonny Kui's previous film but when they occur they're all of a high standard. There's a lot more visual effects, some of which work well to present some unusual surreal image and a couple of genuine jumps, whereas many of the best moments are almost invisible with the viewer absorbed in the film. The soundtrack to the film is also similar, in that it's never intrusive and always compliments the action on-screen, only drawing attention to itself when its suitable for the film. There's some great tracks, and wonderful sound design which all help build the effectiveness of the film.
"Winter's Lament" is very much a film for fans, chock full of references, visual motifs, re-enactments of classic scenes and even some great references to the comic series. Jonny Kui never shies away from including his own ideas, and original touches, but displays a constant respect and love for the material. Truly a fantastic film, which all Hellraiser fans should take the time to watch and I can only hope that Jonny Kui shall one day return to this material again, as he consistently demonstrates his talent, enthusiasm and affinity for the material.
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