Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld
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Experience a real-life nightmare in this totally unique chapter from the insanely popular series created by horror master Clive Barker. Starring Lance Henriksen (AVP: Alien vs. Predator), Katheryn Winnick (TV's Bones) and Henry Cavill (TV's The Tudors).
When five hardcore Internet gamers are invited to a special party thrown by the website Hellworld, they are about to endure a night of unspeakable terror they believed only existed in cyber space. Fresh, entertaining and crawling with amazing special effects—don't miss the chilling return of Pinhead in this awesome thriller.
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Directed by Rick Bota (Haven, Hellraiser VI-VIII), this eighth installment to the Hellraiser franchise follows Inferno (2000), Hellseeker (2002) and Deader (2005) by presenting another stand-alone story. But unlike Bota’s other sequels (VI and VII), I can comfortably say this is the only Hellraiser film I was completely unable to enjoy…although I haven’t seen part IX yet.
This direct-to-video movie feels like just that, with lousy acting, deplorable special effects and a script that doesn’t even try. In fact, the only thing this flick delivers effectively is nudity. Honestly, I’m a bit confused. How and why were Bota’s other Hellraiser sequels so superior to this?
In this uninspired franchise installment, Hellworld is a popular interactive videogame and such notions as Cenobites and opening the Puzzle Box are common objectives of the game. A group of savvy gamers (including Katheryn Winnick; The Dark Tower, Vikings and Henry Cavill; The Immortals, Red Riding Hood, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice) find themselves invited by a mysterious host (Lance Henriksen; Pumpkinhead, Harbinger Down,The Pit and the Pendulum) to the Leviathan House for a Hellworld-themed carnal sex party.
To say this sequel was phoned in would be polite. Nothing about this felt like a Hellraiser movie. Pinhead (Doug Bradley; Hellraiser I-VII) was just forced into the script, the Box’s mythology isn’t developed, the Cenobites didn’t matter at all, and the kills could have been from any stupid Saw knock-off. We didn’t even get the hooked chains! And when someone did get killed the effects were awful (maybe “basic” would be a more fair term here). Even the depictions of the game were aggravatingly lazy.
Despite all the dialogue about the game, it never really felt important. Nothing did. This film serves as an example of the complete and utter failure to contemporize a long-running horror series. I wonder if this film’s quality had to do with it being filmed almost immediately after part VII. Sigh…
This film is bad, both as a Hellraiser story and as a DTV horror flick. I wouldn’t even recommend it for Hellraiser film completists. There’s no reason to watch this except for self-abuse.
What I find most disappointing about this film is that the bulk of the lead characters are taken out of the game so fast that you don't even get a chance to like or hate them. And the characters themselves seem very shallow and petty and uninteresting. So, the bulk of the main characters that you are exposed to early on in the film are essentially inconsequential to the story, which cheapens the viewing experience.
A difficult part of the movie to tolerate is the constant feeling that the movie is not following any kind of plot, that it is just a bunch of scare scenes cobbled together. I was pleasantly surprised at the end to discover that this feeling was wrong. Throughout the bulk of the movie, the story has little cohesion and makes very little sense, which can be somewhat frustrating to sit through, but if you can wait patiently until the end, the writer actually did a decent job of wrapping up the story and giving you closure.
As for the horror aspect of the movie, I have to say that it is mediocre. There are moments that are somewhat suspenseful, but all-in-all you generally know what is coming and when it does come it is not that scary. The beauty of the Hellraiser franchise is that, even though there is the concept of gateways into hell and demons like the cenobites, the real horror can be found in the normal humans and their greed and selfishness and the hellish aspect is purely the gavel coming down in judgment of the accused -- and maybe the bystander as well. This movie touches on this concept only vaguely and generally deviates from the normal Hellraiser course to a point where they should have just changed the whole theme entirely and taken "Hellraiser" out of the title.
To sum it all up, I think this movie would have been far more enjoyable were it _not_ a Hellraiser film and instead were its own, unique slasher film. Had they done that they probably could have better augmented the story and the characters and built more on the suspense and mystery to make a more well-rounded and complete film.
The basic storyline for "Hellworld" is that there is a massive online game called "Hellworld" and several friends have become addicted to playing. One friend's obsession actually leads to his own suicide. The remaining friends blame themselves for letting things go so far and this upsets them for about 4 minutes, until they receive an invitation to a secret "Hellworld" party being held in a huge mansion. Lance Henriksen plays the sinister host, and things begin to go downhill very quickly as the friends find themselves playing for their lives.
Gratuitous nudity and sex, throw in some gore, and almost every horror cliche available and you have 80 minutes of film padding. If you are into cheap scares, illogical storylines and lousy treatment of the cenobites, then you will enjoy this film. If you are looking for a genuine "Hellraiser" film, go back to an earlier entry...or simply wait as I hear Clive Barker is helming a remake of the original film, but avoid "Hellworld".
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What the hell did this have to do with the Hellraiser franchise?
The sad part is: It could have been a decent movie with a bit of work and not...Read more