Review: Hellraiser 5: Inferno – Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Hellraiser 5: Inferno – Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)

Directed by: Scott Derrickson | 99 minutes | drama, horror, crime | Actors: Craig Sheffer, Nicholas Turturro, James Remar, Doug Bradley, Nicholas Sadler, Noelle Evans, Lindsay Taylor, Matt George, Michael Shamus Wiles, Sasha Barrese, Kathryn Joosten, Jessica Elliot, Carmen Argenziano, Christopher Neiman, Christopher Kriesa, Brian Sostek Thomas Crouch, JB Gaynor, Timothy ‘TJ’ James Driscoll

‘Hellraiser: Inferno’ or ‘how do you drive a corrupt cop crazy’. The fifth installment in the ‘Hellraiser’ series bears little resemblance to a “real” ‘Hellraiser’ movie. Horror icon Pinhead only appears for a few minutes, meaning you’ll likely see him longer on the DVD cover. But even if you consider the film as a standalone horror film, there is little left to recommend the film. Yet this Scott Derrickson-written and directed film is freely accessible; reason why ‘Hellraiser’ aficionados don’t rate this as one of the best of the cycle, and ‘Hellraiser’ fans invariably rate it as the worst.

Craig Sheffer plays police officer Joseph Thorne, the man we’re supposed to sympathize with. His character makes it very difficult for us, because he is a drug-addicted, corrupt bastard, who beats witnesses to a pulp and cheats on his wife with prostitutes, to whom he is not even nice. Joseph is investigating a murder of a former classmate when he finds a mysterious puzzle box in his house. Joseph is not the least and decides to steal the interesting cube from the crime scene. After all, you never know what it’s good for. After doing a few things with a very young hooker, our hero retreats to the toilet of the motel room and starts fiddling with the box. He could have left that better…

‘Hellraiser: Inferno’ has a negligible plot. It’s actually almost nothing. Something about a serial killer on children, which Joseph is after, someone who leaves the severed fingers of his victims in the strangest places. A mysterious man called The Engineer who seems to know more about it. Meanwhile, Joseph is plagued by visions and seems to be gradually losing control of his life. The Lament configuration box has no other function than to drive Joseph to madness.

What argues for Derrickson’s production is that there is less reliance on cheap scare effects here, but that the atmosphere itself is fairly creepy. It is not always clear what is reality and what is hallucination. This causes confusion, but also makes the viewer feel uncomfortable. Gore fans won’t get their money’s worth with this film, so it’s better to pull out ‘Hellraiser II’ again. ‘Hellraiser: Inferno’ is really just a supernatural crime movie, with the cenobites that give their name to this B-movie it has little to do with it.

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