Is It Worth It? Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)

This is part of my Horrorathon for Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings (aka MASK)Is It Worth It? is where I talk about sequels a lot of people skip, and determine if they are worth a visit or better left in the bargain bin. Fair warning, there will be spoilers in my recap, so if you just want the verdict skip to the bottom.

Portal Tartárico | Filmes de Terror: Fevereiro 2018

From IMDb: A shady businessman attempts to piece together the details of the car crash that killed his wife, rendered him an amnesiac, and left him in possession of a sinister puzzle box that summons monsters.

New director Rick Bota along with writers Carl V. Dupré and Tim Day were hired to create another entry in the Hellraiser series after the relative success of Hellraiser: Inferno. Although none had been involved in previous entries, they considered themselves fans and Bota in particular wanted to bring back a Gothic horror element he felt was missing after the first two films. Although Clive Barker was once again not involved in this film, Bota allegedly screened it for Barker against the wishes of the studio in order to get his thoughts. And ALLEGEDLY Barker said this was the best sequel since the second. Which…wow okay.

Recap

We started with the Mayhem Insurance Commercial guy driving a car and tickling his wife like a child which already tells you this is about to be a disaster.

COME ON DUDE YOU WROTE THE COMMERCIAL ON THIS WATCH THE ROAD!

Trevor (a name ruined by Candyman) is married to KIRSTY FROM THE FIRST TWO MOVIES?!?!

She apparently didn’t age a day in the past 14 years. And straightened her hair.

They allude to reconciling after marital issues, but the tickling and kissing inevitably lead to them veering off the road and crashing into a river. Trevor manages to get out of the car, but Kirsty is trapped inside and seems to drown to death.

Trevor awakens in a hospital, and thus starts a series of fake out sequences. Doctors seem to be doing brain surgery on him, but then he wakes up and just has a headache. The medical staff keeps saying he is “back again” as if they know him.

He gets a visit from a Detective Lange, who tells Trevor Kirsty is missing after the car crash. Trevor seems not at all upset about this news, and I can’t tell if that is wooden acting or a hint at what’s to come.

He goes to work the next day, and his next door cubicle neighbor warns him the boss was looking for him yesterday.

POV you just walked into work and ur in trouble but you don’t know for what yet

He also finds a business card that definitely looks like it belongs to a pyramid scheme member.

Or Vanilla Ice

Trevor goes to buy himself a midday snack, and is propositioned by his boss with some of the worst sexy dialogue since “come to daddy.”

Oh so he’s in sexy trouble

Even though he has a flashback to hooking up with Gwen previously, he EVENTUALLY shows restraint because his wife just died. Cool.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but compact discs aren’t decorations. Just kidding it’s Trevor. Trevor needs to hear this.

Later that night, this passes for a spooky moment.

The Cenobites have just devolved into people wearing face masks at a distance

Trevor also gets a visit from a seductive neighbor with CRIMPED HAIR

I know scent is strongly connected to memory but I feel like seeing crimped hair brought me straight back to being bullied in middle school! Oh memories

Trevor rejects the neighbor’s advances, and puts in a VHS that’s labeled “Our Crazy Wedding/Honeymoon” and seems to put it in, but he is actually watching a video they made for their five year wedding anniversary. In it, he gives her the Lament Configuration.

But before we can learn what happened, Trevor’s boss visits him at home and tries to initiate sex again. And even though at some point he gets a video camera out and starts recording them having sex, he suddenly tells her to stop and makes her leave. But somehow the camera shows more video as if they are having sex, thus starting the slowest realization ever something weird is happening.

I love the dramatic zoom on the empty chair at the end

At the end of the tape it looks like Cenobites kill Gwen, but he wakes up again in his cubicle at work like nothing happened. His work buddy Bret gives him the address of an acupuncturist. And if you think Pinhead might make an appearance because pins and needles are kind of his thing…you would be right.

Dude we know

But Pinhead sticking a needle in Trevor’s neck is all a dream! Or was it? It was this time apparently.

We also get a flashback revealing how Trevor purchased the Lament Configuration after being promised it would help him get rid of his wife who “suffocates him with forgiveness.”

Yes I know how capitalism works!

Trevor gets questioned by the police again, and the proverbial bad cop Detective Givens mentions that Kirsty had a sizable inheritance – hinting that Trevor killed her for the life insurance money.

Come on detective, maybe Trevor never saw the first one

Later, Trevor’s crimped hair neighbor comes over again. And although he remembers maybe having sex with her, he wakes up to find her like this:

Pinhead appears to Trevor in his reflection, and says “all problems solved.” After that its like nothing happened. So it was all a dream! Or was it? It was. Trevor finds the neighbor alive and well in her apartment with no recollection of coming over.

Trevor gets questioned once again by the detectives (yes this really keeps randomly happening). And then he sees something so spooky it defies written word.

Yes, a weird prolonged shot of a man with black contacts making origami is peak atmosphere in this film.

Back at the office, Trevor tries to open up to Bret, but Bret remembers an urgent report he needs to complete.

Also Detective Lange is sitting in his cubicle when he says this, yet somehow doesn’t hear his confession?

Trevor seems to sleep with his acupunturist (the real one not Pinhead) because of course he does.

But then the acupuncturist stabs him! Or does she? Oh thank goodness…it was all a dream! Or was it?

In the next scene, Trevor is in the hospital and no one remembers the nice doctor named Allison he talked to after the car accident. She is distinct in being the only female character he has not slept with besides the old woman he keeps seeing on the bus.

But it turns out Allison isn’t real. It was all a dream! Or was it…

Trevor confronts Pinhead for a moment to accuse him of doing his namesake

And then Trevor runs into his coworker who reveals they conspired to kill Kirsty together in order to split her inheritance. But Bret says he can’t go to jail and shoots himself in front of Trevor.

Trevor’s headache comes back and he returns to the acupuncturist’s office, but she’s dead. Detective Lange finds Trevor hovering over the dead acupuncturist’s body, and Trevor finally gets arrested.

But then in a prolonged and bizarre experience, Detective Lange brings Trevor down to the morgue and says he needs him to identify the body they found in the river. It is becoming clear this is a nightmare world of some kind as Trevor keeps seeing glimpses of horrific things all around him. The nightmare is confirmed when we see Detective Lange and Givens are the same being.

Indeed it is

Pinhead confronts Trevor, and shows him the truth. Trevor forced Kirsty to open the puzzle box, but that Pinhead was using Trevor to get to Kirsty. But once again, Kirsty’s powers of “let’s make a deal” won out. She convinced Pinhead to swap her one soul for five souls that she would hand deliver him. It turns out, Kirsty killed Trevor’s boss, neighbor, acupuncturist, and the coworker he conspired to kill her with.

We flash back again to the car ride at the beginning, and in the real memory there is way less tickling and giggling and way more pointing guns and making accusations. Also Pinhead does the most appropriate ball drop into to the year 2020 ever…18 years ahead of time:

They actually veer off the road into the river because Kirsty shoots Trevor to death all the way at the beginning of the film. And he finally sees that the corpse under the covers in the morgue is…himself!

The only person shocked by this is Trevor

We also find out Allison (the seemingly nonexistent doctor who was nice to Trevor during his hell nightmare) was an examiner on the scene who said a final goodbye to Trevor because if there is no afterlife, she wants someone’s last memories to potentially be a positive experience. Leading her colleague to let her know how this behavior impacts him.

It seems Kirsty has convinced Detective Latham that Trevor shot himself, and murdered the three women and his work friend. Before she can leave, the Detective shows her the Lament Configuration and asks if she knows what it is. She explains it was her anniversary gift, and he decides to give it to her so she can remember Trevor by it. She looks so excited.

So once again Kirsty is left in possession of a box after once again losing her family to the Cenobites. Great times.

Random Observations

  • Easily the most upsetting part of this film is “killing” Kirsty at the beginning and leaving us with Trevor
  • The second worst is having Kirsty damn three women to eternal hell with the Cenobites because they slept with her husband. I get the animosity, but the movie doesn’t show any remorse or hesitation on her part which makes her just as bad as pre-Leviathan Julia in my opinion. It totally strips away the good in her for the sake of a “gotcha!” moment that isn’t even well-explained or developed
  • This film could have easily been summarized with ” but it was all just a dream! OR WAS IT?!” written over and over again at least 30-50 times
  • There are some brief flashbacks which show Kirsty as a happy person, which is truly nice to see until it was revealed that her marriage was deeply troubled and Trevor was a shitbag
  • On that note, the way her tone and demeanor change in the video where he makes her open the Lament Configuration is psychologically upsetting. It is such a huge violation, and it would have been a great truth bomb if Trevor had seemed at all decent. But since he is scum the whole time it just seems like another chapter of him being terrible and not a clever reveal.
  • To me, this takes what Hellraiser: Inferno does (taking a bad person and showing them confronting their demons via the Lament Configuration) and makes it shitty.

Verdict

I hate this movie. I’m so shocked Clive Barker allegedly thought it was decent. I understand completionists are going to want to see it. And people who want to see what a later movie does with Kirsty. But if you can resist, this one is not worth your time. It combines an incredibly unlikeable and bland protagonist, sloppy yet monotonous storytelling, and a confusing allegiance to confusing transitions to make a completely forgettable if not irritating movie. Most of all, a very disappointing movie to attach to the badass subtitle Hellseeker.

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