Hellraiser(2022) Reviews & Ending Explained!

Jeremy Caroll

David Bruckner’s Hulu reboot gives Cenobite mythology its glory back after decades of underfunded Hellraiser sequels made to keep property rights.

It’s different from the leather BDSM costumes and sex-dungeon massacre style, but it still fits with the franchise’s focus on the blurry lines between pleasure and pain, fear and excitement. Riley McKendry is played by Odessa A’zion. She is a drug addict who got stuck with an evil puzzle box called the Lemarchand Box or Lament Configuration.

Riley’s investigation of the changing puzzle box leads her to the Berkshire estate of the missing billionaire art dealer Roland Voight. The box has six different stages, and when it’s done, it gives the owner an “Audience with God” (Goran Visnjic).

The clean pearly architecture is now covered with an iron shell with patterns that look like Riley’s box, and the inside has been set up so that many gates drop down when a switch is flipped.

Riley has been given a choice by the Priest, aka Pinhead, to either sacrifice herself or others to feed the box’s bloodlust. She hopes that Voight’s mansion has answers that will save lives. What she finds is a maze of scary things, like the remake of Thirteen Ghosts by Dark Castle Entertainment in the 2000s.

Hellraiser Reviews — What the Critics Are Saying

While the plotting is a bit of a mess, Jamie Clayton’s performance as Pinhead and the overall message of the film makes for a pleasurable enough watch, according to Hellraiser review.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, Hellraiser is “Certified Fresh,” with an 80% rating as of October 6.

Read More: Hellraiser(2022) Release Date & Time, Trailer, Cast, and Online Availability! 

Hellraiser’s Ending Explained

Surprise! Roland Voight is still alive and well, and he generously paid Riley’s boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey) to entice new tributes into the box’s clutches. Roland is also outfitted with a golden mechanism that protrudes like an axe through his spine and out his rib cage, squeezing his nerves as they are pulled around churning gears.

When he finished the puzzle, he chose the Liminal configuration, which translates to Sensation — but the Cenobites’ gift isn’t of human pleasure; it’s of mortal pain. Roland has been living for years with the machinery tugging on his nerves in opposite directions, causing him to feel just enough agony while never becoming numb.

Roland takes on the role of the film’s antagonist in its entirety — Pinhead is simply fulfilling requests by providing exceptional experiences that transcend Earth’s limitations. Roland’s decision to sacrifice Colin (Adam Faison) rather than the trapped Asphyx Cenobite reveals his villainous intentions.

He doesn’t care about anyone or anything other than freeing himself from the Cenobites’ device, motivated by selfishness that puts innocent people in danger for his own hopeful salvation. The Cenobites are summoned by Roland’s actions — they are not renegade predators — and he must accept or deny responsibility for what happens.

Roland does not, and in the process insults the Cenobites. He barks at Pinhead, “F** your gift, f** you.” Clayton’s shark-like eyes and echo-y voice express his annoyance at Roland’s whimpers as his gears rotate another insufferable cycle. Clive Barker, director of Hellraiser (1987) and author of The Hellbound Heart, praises Clayton’s commanding presence as Pinhead in these scenes: “Jamie resembles the Queen of Hell.

She is not a stand-in for Doug [Bradley]. She is a completely different beast. I see something fantastic. Some believe in demons, while others believe in angels.”

Roland’s “mercy” wish is granted, but at a cost — Pinhead bestows upon him the Leviathan gift of Power. Just as the final disassembled bolt bounces off the marble flooring and Roland’s gaping wound heals, a massive chain crashes through his glass ceiling and pierces into his chest — we’ll get to that in a moment.

Also Read: The Whale: Where Can I Watch the Movie? Is It Available to Stream on Netflix?

Riley is reminded by the Cenobite who is holding Colin hostage that as long as she has the box, she gets to choose who gets sacrificed. She can let Colin go, erasing the last relic of her deceased brother Matt (Brandon Flynn) from existence — potentially lifting a heavy burden — or she can mark Trevor, the encapsulation of all her addiction struggles.

Riley goes with Trevor. It doesn’t take long for the wires to bind him, stretch him against a stone platform, deglove his forearm skin Gerald’s Game style, and yank him into a well of agonizing howls where the Cenobites roam.

Riley then returns to the main chamber, where she confronts Pinhead and is given the option of selecting her reward. Riley, like Trevor, can make another impulsive decision that solves an immediate problem (e.g., shutting down with pills), but she also shows emotional growth.

She rejects Pinhead’s gifts, recalling Roland’s earlier statement that none of their offerings bring happiness or euphoria — all they deal in is pain. Riley recognizes that choosing Lazarus, aka “Resurrection,” will not bring back Matt, who cared about her (Pet Sematary rules).

Hellraiser' Ending, Explained: Did Riley Beat The Cenobites? What Happened  To Voight? | DMT

Riley is finally at peace with bettering herself despite a lifetime filled with stinging regrets and haunting memories of those she’s hurt — no more chasing otherworldly distractions. Pinhead is perplexed but honors the girl’s choice: “Life,” the Lament configuration.

Hellraiser concludes with Roland’s transformation into a Cenobite, which is a contentious ending. Pinhead observes that Roland isn’t as deserving as she first thought because he complains about physical anguish that other Cenobites would relish — why offer him Leviathan immortality as a Cenobite?

Pinhead is well aware that Roland will either see the light — literally — and embrace his newfound transcendence at the hands of an unseen deity, God, or Devil, or he will despise eternal suffering as punishment for insulting their generosity. It’s a win-win situation for the Cenobites.

Riley avoids damnation thanks to her new lease on life, while Roland now serves under Pinhead, a slave to his own compulsive desires and witnessing sights only a select few will ever see. David Bruckner, along with co-writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, investigates how fear and excitement can, sadly, result in the same outcomes.

“It feels like [David Bruckner] reached back to me, and I reached forward to [him] — I hope we can do it again,” Clive Barker said earnestly during the Beyond Fest Q&A. We hope so as well.

Must Read: Cuttputli Movie Review, Spoiler, and Ending Explained!

Final Thoughts

I am a David Bruckner fan, and I loved “The Night House” and “The Ritual.” I would recommend them to anyone without hesitation. Naturally, I was excited about his take on “Hellraiser,” and I really wanted to like it. But I only liked it because of the writing, pacing, and cinematography.

The film’s production design (by Kathrin Eder), art direction (by Szedlacsek Balazs and Bojana Nikolic), score (by Ben Lovett), make-up and design of the Cenobites, and Bruckner’s direction and his immaculate use of VFX and SFX to create some haunting and gnarly visuals are all excellent.

However, the film does not want to be an endless barrage of heartbreaking mutilations. It aspires to be an exaggerated commentary on addiction, using the Cenobites as a metaphor for the consequences of drug abuse.

And that is undeniably admirable and a fantastic take on such an iconic group of creatures. However, whenever the characters open their mouths to say anything, the overall quality plummets.

I can’t empathize with Riley and the others enough to root for them, nor can I hate them enough to wish for their deaths to be as painful as possible. They just stay in this awkward position, obstructing the viewing experience.

Still, I recommend watching “Hellraiser” because there are some genuinely scary moments in the film, populated by the most hideous creatures out there, that will get you in the Halloween spirit.

Leave a Comment