hellraiser deaderDimension
2005
R

“Dreams are fleeting. Only nightmares last forever!”

Chain-smoking, hard-hitting and jaded tough-as-nails alternative press reporter Amy Klein is dispatched from her London home base to Romania to check out a bizarre cult of “Deaders”, a small subgroup with a morbid initiation rite. Soon she learns of a connection between the cult’s leader and the fabled Puzzle Box from the previous Hellraiser movies. Now it’s a struggle to keep her sanity intact as she delves further into the madness surrounding the Deaders…

Now…this is a horror movie. I rented this, not really expecting much (for the record, I hadn’t had much interest in the franchise after uber-horrormeister Clive Barker left the series), as the last one I saw, Bloodlines I think was the title, didn’t do much for me. After watching Deader, though, my opinion has indeed become more favorable, as this, the seventh in the series, was quite the dark and freaky through-the-twisted-rabbit-hole journey that, in my opinion, brought back the whole Barker-esque nightmarish quality and sensibility. Dark, foreboding atmospherics (the Romanian setting was used to its full effect), twisted and stylish film style, and effects that border on madness…great stuff that’s sorely missing in a lot of horror films these days. Those scenes inside the subway train alone are worth the rental, as they effectively freaked me out while keeping me glued in morbid fascination. There were more than a handful of times where I literally jumped and proclaimed the sanctity of excrement to my equally-startled feline pet. Nicely done.

On the minor quibble side, the script for Deader was originally written as a horror movie that had nothing to do with the Hellraiser franchise whatsoever, only to be picked up and changed a bit to have it part of the mythos. That is evident, as it feels like the Puzzle Box and especially Pinhead are thrown in there haphazardly, just to say “Hey, what’s up, my peeps?” to have some sort of tie-in with the rest of the series. Really, you get the feeling that Deader could have done without that and still would have stood on its own two legs. Other than that, Deader is a great late-night freakfest horror that you must watch in the dark to get its full effect. Recommended…

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