Back to the interrupted series of reviews of the Hellraiser films and this Is last one I will be reviewing until Hellworld arrives on Netflix. It has no connection to of the other films except for Pinhead and the puzzle box and they are sidelined for most of the film and reduced to a couple of walk-on parts. It isn’t terrible and the film has a grimy sleazy downbeat feel too it but it really seems pretty far removed from the original Hellraiser
Amy Klein (Kari Wuhrer) is a journalist who is willing to go that extra mile to get her story and we see her at the start off the film waking up in a crack den in a filthy room full of unconscious crack-heads where she has been researching a highly successful article called “How to be crack whore.”
Back at the office the magazine her boss Charles Richmond (Simon Kunz) isn’t too interested in her crack whore article. He has something he wants to show her and he puts on a videotape sent by a woman called Marla (Georgina Rylance). It shows a cult of young people and their leader Winter (Paul Rhys) then a cult member shooting herself in the head. Amy thinks this a bad taste snuff film but Charles tells her to keep watching. Winter inhales her dying breath then breaths into her mouth.The woman comes back to life and is warmly greeted by the other cultists When the tape finishes Amy wants to know what the hell she just watched and Charles tells her that is her assignment. The parcel with the video has a return address in Bucharest and Charles has already booked her a seat on a flight there, knowing Amy well enough to know that she’ll take the assignment.
In Bucharest Amy goes straight to Marla’s apartment. Amy bribes the landlord to let her look around for five minutes. The place is stinking and full of flies. In the bathroom she finds Marla’s body sitting on the toilet tied up with rope so the body doesn’t fall and that’s where the stink and the flies come from. She finds a parcel with the words “help us” scrawled on it. In Marla’s hand she finds the Lament Configuration puzzle box and she takes that too.
Back in her hotel room she finds another videotape and a key in the parcel from Marla begging whoever finds the tape for help and she mentions Winter using the puzzle box as a gateway to the power he uses. Amy picks up the box and wonders what Marla meant by opening it. After a few moments playing about with it the box opens and after moving about it close and sits. Then chains burst out and grab her face. She has vision of her abusive father and Pinhead (Doug Bradley) appears and says ominously, “Don’t think for a second that you’re not in danger,” then the room goes back to normal. Her phone rings and it Marla begging for her help.
Marla did mention in her video a contact that will lead Amy to Winter and his Deader cult. She goes to the underground station and after passing a woman in a cheap plastic jacket bleeding in her seat she gets on a train at the last car which unlike the others is covered in graffiti and its windows are blacked out. A guy who acts like a bouncer lets her in when she mentions the name Joey. She has to walk through a sleazy display of freaks and naked flesh and body modification and naked bodies and people who hold cardboard photos in front of themselves until she gets to Joey (Marc Warren) a smart arse English guy. Joey tries to warn her away from going near Winter and his crowd but Amy is determined and when she brings out the puzzle box Joey gets very unsettled. He gives her the address of Winter and his cult.
Amy gets off the train and standing at the platform in the station she gets the impression she’s being watched. She looks on the other platform and Winter is standing there and he walks towards her. Amy has flashbacks of her father locking her in a cupboard. Just then a subway train arrives and Winter jumps in front of it. Amy alerts the station staff and they stop the train to look for a body but of course there’s nothing there. She explains again to security guard what she saw when she sees Winter on the platform getting on a train and runs down to try to catch him while the guard chases after her. She gets grabbed a bunch of security guards on the platform. At the police station Amy get released by her boss Charles. Amy wants to know what they were going to charge her with and Charles tells her they were going to commit her to an asylum. Charles offers to drive Amy to her hotel but she says she’d rather walk.
Amy gets in a cab to take her Winter’s address in a rundown part of the city. The gate is padlocked but the key Marla left opens it. She goes in a door down stairs then down more stairs and lands in thick mud at the foot of the stairs. She goes down a tunnel and sees German shepherd dog that ignores her. She goes down dark passageway using her lighter and she hears whispers. When she turns a corner the passageway get narrower then even narrower and narrower again until she has to squeeze through. The lighter goes out and when she gets it lit again the wall seems to move with insects feeling the light. A hooded figure with knife come up behind her and raises the knife and Amy she sees person attack her and screams
Suddenly she’s now in wide passageway and a black man shushes her and tells her to follow him. He leads her to the cult as Winter brings back a skinny guy with bug eyes who was killed by knife and we see him return to life. Winter goes to a separate room and Amy follows him and she passes the Deaders they all proudly show off their fatal wounds. In a back room Winter is sitting in armchair and greets Amy by name and says he chose her which Amy strongly doubts. Amy brings out the puzzle box and asks Winter what it is. Winter says it’s a family heirloom (hinting that he’s a descendant of Le Merchand) and it’s a way to cheat death and a gateway to a world of everlasting pleasure and it belongs to him. Winter wants to know what she’s up to and he repeats what Pinhead said earlier, “Don’t think for second you’re not in danger.”
Winter needs her help to claim what he says is his. Amy doesn’t want to be like them, like Marla who killed herself and Winter says she can’t die but because she’s not alive but the more she doubts the deader she will become. For some reason out of nowhere Amy talks about how her flesh is real and she is real which seems to a response to the first video, not to something Winter just said. This is a line that gets a little well-rehearsed rant from Winter about how solidity is an illusion and how we are all essentially nothing [and since the film took its time to rant on the subject I’m going to give my thoughts. I know that an atom is usually said to be empty space because the matter in atom makes up a small fraction of the volume of an atom. But this ignores the fact that the atom has a field of force, especially electric field and it is the combination of the forces that create the macroworld concept of solidity. Just because it means something else at the molecular level it doesn’t mean matter and humans are not really real. Rant over.]
When Winter grabs her Amy gets flashbacks of her father again and she’s suddenly on the death-bed in the main room and Winter wants to know what she saw when she opened the box what is she afraid of. He needs her take next step so he can claim the box’s powers and he holds a knife at her throat and Amy screams.
She wakes up in her bathtub and sees the muddy boots that confirm she went to Winter’s place. That night she dreams of her father beating her with a belt and she wakes from nightmare. There’s a dull thunk sound and blood starts trickling down her shoulder and pooling on bed. With horror Amy discovers she has a knife in her back poking right through so that the tip comes out her front. She screams confused she thinks it’s a dream and sobs over and over that this can’t be real. Amy uses a cupboard door in bathroom to pull out the knife.
The phone rings and its Marla saying only he can bring you back. Pinhead suddenly appears and denies he had anything to what happened to her. He asks Amy why, as she stands bleeding, she feels no pain and Amy guesses that she’s dreaming but Pinhead says she has been recruited as a soldier in another man’s war. Winter thinks he cheated death but Pinhead wants their souls. Amy screams and throws something at him but he vanishes. Amy uses towels to absorb blood from her wounds but it doesn’t really work very well.
Amy goes to the subway station and the blood pools at her feet. She uses newspapers to mop up the blood and hide it from a security guard. She gets on Joey’s carriage and begs him for help. Joey tells her they all pieces in Winter’s puzzle and suddenly everyone on the train is dead and there’s chains and blood and severed limbs and a Cenobite torturing the living. She meets Marla and they get off the train. Amy just wants to go home and Marla says that where she’s going. She reveals that she was the person who stabbed Amy. Amy thinks of the phrase, “Fear is where you go to learn,” and suddenly she’s in the monochrome past back in her father’s house.
Amy wakes up in a hospital chained to a bed. Charles is there trying to get her released. An English doctor comes in a gives her a clean bill of health and undoes the restraints. Amy wanders out into psychiatric ward and little girl draws her picture with a half evil monster face and that freaks her out. She runs out to corridor where she sees Marla looking alive in the waiting area. Amy asks why she is there and we get lines lifted out of Barkers original story about ultimate pleasure and conditions of the nerve endings the likes of which your imagination could not hope to evoke then Marla just drops it as something they say, whoever they are. Marla tells Winter can’t solve puzzle and he needs someone who can that is willing to join him. Amy starts bleeding again and sees the door to her father’s house and she relives the memory of when she murdered her father with a knife. As her father falls down dying from his wounds Amy falls down dying from her own wounds.
Amy wakes back in Winter’s place lying on the bed. He holds out knife for her to complete her journey and end her suffering. After screams and tears Amy takes the knife and while Winter the Deaders goad her on she lifts up the knife as if to stab herself but she doesn’t do it and instead picks up the puzzle box and tosses it. It opens and Pinhead and a few other Cenobites appear in a lightning storm
Winter gets hooked up and pulled apart. The Deaders are all standing conveniently in two straight lines so they are all killed by just two chains punching through the two lines. That just leaves Amy and Pinhead wants her too but Amy picks up the knife and stabs herself and the puzzle box flashes blue, Pinhead screams “NO!” and the whole building implodes.
Charles is watching the news. His secretary aks if there had been any word from Amy and Charles says no. His secretary asks if he thinks something happened to her and Charles has no idea. The secretary shows in a young female journalist and Charles talks about showing her a tape that might interest her.
This film has something interesting things going but it suffers from being shoehorned into the Hellraiser series because it really feels like a completely different story with Hellraiser elements pasted in. The Deader story is quite good and I thought the scene when Amy discovers the knife in her body was very well done thank to a convincing performance from Kari Wuhrer. I also thought the scene in the narrow passage was very tense and it got my claustrophobia working along with my dislike for crawling things moving about that I can’t see. The train scene was a bit cheesy with the freaks on display bit. The biggest failing of the film is the attempt to marry this story to the Hellraiser mythos by having the iconic puzzle box do whatever the hell the script needs it to do. I know that as an anonymous low-budget horror story I may have never seen this if it was not a Hellraiser film but it would have been interesting.