Hellbound: Hellraiser II

hellraiser2_poster.jpg picture by barbedheart
UK. Horror/Fantasy/Action/Thriller/Drama. 97 minutes. Directed by Tony Randel. Starring Ashley Laurence, Clare Higgins, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman, Sean Chapman, William Hope, Doug Bradley, Barbie Wilde, Simon Bamford, Nicholas Vince, Oliver Smith, Angus MacInnes, Deborah Joel.

18 November 2008

Some sequels have to work very hard to manage to be something as memorable as the first movie. And some don’t take it so serious. Hellbound: Hellraiser II is one of the latter. In this movie we are introduced to a supposedly mute girl, and somewhere around the beginning of the end she is standing next to Kirsty, our second heroine, facing yet another grisly, gigantic, monster, she suddenly says ”Shit!” and for a moment, Kirsty turns to her with a odd look of surprise, before they keep running from the monster.

Just an example of one of those things that would have never happened in the first Hellraiser (1987), a movie that took itself way too seriously for such a moment of sheer humor.
Not that I didn’t like Clive Barker’s original movie, to some a modern classic in the horror genre. It’s a bona fide horror movie with a great, grisly, apocalyptic sense of doom, wonderfully imaginative special effects and intelligent things about sex, suburbia and power going on in it. What it didn’t have, though, was characters strong enough to stick, with a screenplay with good enough dialog or, actually, despite all the style, some imaginative directions from Baker. Unfortunately, the touches of very subtle, black humor was not self-irony enough to save it from being pretentious.

In this sequel, all bets are thankfully off. It starts off where the first one ended – Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) who’s daddy got skinned alive and and who’s step-mother was killed by her lover, Kirsty’s uncle who was a semi-human escaped from hell, breeding on human blood and who Kirsty finally managed to send back to hell – wakes up at the hospital. All is not how it seems, though, and soon she gets messages from her dead father saying ”I am in Hell. Help me”. Kirsty’s not late to do her best, fortunately her doctor is a classical hideaway nut case who’s working on opening doors to paralell dimensions. Eventually Kirsty, with the mute girl Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) manages to enter hell, where they are greeted by Pinhead and the gang. Meanwhile, Julia, the stepmother from the first movie (Claire Higgins) has been reincarnated by the mad doctor and for some reason they are also wandering around in ”hell”, or wherever this is.

Truth to be told, the plot of this movie is impossbile to follow. Pinhead tells Kirsty that she can’t see her father, because he is in a ”hell of his own” and that this is ”Kirsty’s own hell” – but why can then Julia enter it, and what the hell is good old Frank (the villain of the first film) doing there? It’s one of those movies where the characters first do this, then do that, first say this, then say that, and usually that kind of stuff makes me want to barf but in Hellbound I forgive it because it works perfectly with the overall movie.

Yes the overall movie, which I would best describe as: A spectacular rollercoaster-ride of guts, gore, incredible special effects. This is a fun house that will make you scream and laugh, as long as you can keep your lunch down. The movie has none of the first one’s artistic and analytical intentions, in fact, this one is really quite braindead in comparison. Furthermore, I’m sure there are fans of the first movie who would say that the characters of the original here has been ”reduced” into mere comic book characters. But I’d say, if you really were dead serious with Hellraiser, you probably have been listening too much to death metal.
If you’re a horror fan, you have probably already seen both of these movies, it’s just me who’s a little slow on this one, but if you’re a kid and you just came home from sneeking into Saw V thinking that you’re already too old for those adolescent, torture-horny pathetics, Hellbound: Hellraiser II is a movie you definitely should check out. It knows that violence in horror isn’t something that you should take too seriously. In fact, sometimes you should just enjoy the ride.