Hellraiser (1987)★★★☆☆


I watched this for the first time tonight and found myself mostly unimpressed. I imagine that it would have given me nightmares had I seen it when I was much younger, but the scary scenes were limited and overshadowed by the echoing audio effects, and the weird pacing and awkward jump cuts made it a bit hard to follow.

It felt very much like an 80’s horror movie that didn’t quite hold up through the years. That said, although I haven’t read any Clive Barker (I’ve mostly stuck with Stephen King and Christopher Pike, with some R. L. Stine thrown in for good measure), this story intrigued me enough to want to read his original novella and look into his other works.

The acting was decent and the special effects were decent throughout. The background score was a bit erratic – there were times when it was overbearing and jarring and times when it was missing completely, which felt more like an editing issue than a purposeful decision.

It was hard to feel much of anything for any of the characters between their terrible choices and the hard-to-follow storyline. I’d have to read it to be sure, but I imagine this is due in part to adapting the written work to the screen. And the climactic moments at the end seemed sort of anticlimactic, or at least a bit rushed.

There were some creepy scenes, and definitely some gory scenes, but never any moment where I felt truly scared. It seems the focus of the sequels is on Pinhead and his backstory, which might be interesting, but I’m not rushing to watch any of them any time soon.