Where I Watched It: Hulu
Audio Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narrated By: William Michael Redmond
I’ve never seen any of the previous Hellraiser films, so my review is I guess representational of that really tiny percentage of blind individuals who are interested in this without ever having seen any of the previous 10 entries in this series. Though Amazon has really been pushing the original on me, but sadly it does not have audio description, and having seen the remake, this is a series that needs audio description for any blind or visually impaired viewers to have a chance in hell of knowing what is going on.
For the uninitiated, this film doesn’t do a hell (gonna try and use that a lot) of a lot to explain itself. The film opens, there’s a guy, who finds himself lured to a box, and some horrific things happen. Even though the film does it’s best to try and explain the basic rules, of this puzzle box, and the creatures that come for you should you get stabbed by it, it really doesn’t actually answer where the hell it came from.
Hell, it doesn’t really even explain what a xenobyte is, or what makes Pinhead (Jamie Clayton) so special. It’s just an onslaught of truly nightmarish gore, and people dying. And those people are hella insufferable, and designed to be potentially expendable. Our lead scream queen is a drug addict who teams up with her drug addict boyfriend to steal this puzzle box in the first place. Subsequent characters introduced to give this film a body count are her brother, his boyfriend, and some random girl who just kind of poofs her way into the film in a way like she’s been there the whole time, and we just didn’t notice. Her connection, her reason for being there, is never really clear. I assumed from the minute she showed up, she was there to pad the body count.
See, the box needs a certain amount of victims, before a person can get their wish granted. Which means we see people torn limb from limb, skinned alive, and those are just the xenobytes.
The audio description in this film should be used as an example of how to describe a horror film. I’ve seen some things come close, but not only did they recruit William Michael Redmond, who makes any horror film sound scarier than it is, but the actual script for the narration is fantastic. It is fully aware that you showed up for gore, depravity, and sadism, and to not describe those elements robs a viewer of why the film was created.
Truth is, this plot is pretty thin. The characters are pretty terrible, and you likely won’t care who lives, plus the film gives up on explaining backstory behind a certain point, knowing that it likely is too insane to absorb and keep the runtime tight. So, you get a horror film that does follow its own rules, and does what it promised, which is to gross you out and disturb you. Technically, this film isn’t conventionally scary, in the jump scare way, but scary because it is horrifying.
I’ll admit, based on the description I got, if I could see, I would have passed on this, or I would have turned it off. it is very “a bit much” for my tastes. i tend to enjoy slasher films more, and this is not that. But, if you are looking for something a bit off the path to hell, then this film might be exactly what you wished for. If nothing else, this might be the best audio description of the year.
Final Grade: B