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Gary J. Tunnicliffe
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Like Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002) after it, "Inferno" was originally a non-Hellraiser related horror script owned by Dimension. To save money on writing a completely original Hellraiser story, the script was quickly edited to insert the Pinhead and the Cenobites. See more »
The write up for the film says it tells the story of an LA detective but Sheffers character is with the Denver Police Department - in Colorado. See more »
The first "Hellraiser" movie I ever saw. "Inferno" left me scarred and disturbed. The whole experience of watching the film was that of sheer terror that grows with each passing minute. Now after having seen all of the movies, read the novel and becoming accustomed the Hellraiser mythos I recently got a chance to watch it again. To see if my opinion on this fifth sequel changes. It didn't.
Yes "Inferno" does not follow the ideas established by Clive Barker in his novel "Hellbound Heart" which is the basis for the Hellraiser series. And yes it basically uses the status of Pinhead as a horror icon to draw an audience. But I'll be damned if I say that it is a bad film for just those reasons. "Inferno" is in fact a well constructed, technically superb sequel with an interesting plot and characters.
The film centers on Joseph Thorne played by Craig Sheffer. A brilliant but corrupt detective who during a homicide investigation comes into the possession Lemarchand Configuration. He opens the box and then it begins. Reality for Thorne soon turns into a nightmare that grows more and more powerful as his investigation leads him towards a mysterious figure known only as The Engineer.
"Inferno" explores the possibilities of redemption. Sheffer's character is certainly a very flawed individual and he knows it. But his determination to solve the case and hopefully save a human life is in his mind the path to redeeming himself, in front of his own eyes, his family, and those around him. Sheffer delivers a convincing performance which greatly helps in solidifying the idea. Other members of the cast include Nicholas Turturro playing Thorne's naive and honest partner Tony Nenonen, James Remar as a doctor Paul Gregory a psychiatrist and good old Doug Bradley once again playing his iconic role as the rational sadistic demon, Pinhead.
Visually speaking "Inferno" is as impressive as the first two "Hellraiser" movies. Gone are the b-movie quality effects and Cenobite designs which played part in the failure of the third and fourth films. Pinhead's image is not overused and he only appears during the final portion of the film when the nightmarish atmosphere is at it's highest. Delivering the final crucial blow to Thorne's broken psyche. The new cenobites are freakishly well done, and cleverly fit in to the movie's psychological character driven plot.
Severely underrated Scott Derrickson directed a great horror film that leaves strong a impression. Like a never-ending nightmare it keeps you constantly on the edge, expecting the unexpected.
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