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.
From IMDb: Gamers playing a MMORPG based on the Hellraiser films find their lives endangered after being invited to a rave, the host of which intends to show them the truth behind the Cenobite mythos.
Hellraiser: Hellworld (aka Hellraiser VIII) was filmed simultaneously with the previous film Hellraiser: Deader in Romania in 2002 because it was a contractual stipulation to filming in Romania for Deader. Both were directed by Rick Bota who directed the previous film Hellraiser: Hellseeker.
Although this screenplay is based on a short story called “Dark Can’t Breathe” by Joel Soisson, it really feels like it was intended to be a Hellraiser movie given it is a meta commentary on the series. The screenplay was written by Carl V. Dupré, who co-wrote Hellseeker with Tim Day.
We begin the movie with a shirtless young man digging a grave and screaming, and then we see people arriving at his funeral. A group of young friends are there to mourn their peer. They also don’t seem to understand how to behavior respectfully at a funeral.
Jake is obviously having a tougher time with Adam’s death. The group wonders outloud why Adam’s family isn’t at the funeral. Derrick has a novel theory
They also mentioned that Adam became too obsessed with a MMORPG they were all heavily invested in called “Hellworld”, and that no one could possibly know he would take it that far.
Chelsea approaches the closed casket for Adam and OPENS it which is definitely a funeral no-no as far as I know. The Virgin Mary and nuns don’t seem too impressed either.
Thankfully the nuns’ prayers work and Chelsea wakes up two years later in her apartment to a knocking on her front door. Oh no it’s a Cenobite!
Just kidding its future Man of Steel star Henry Cavill playing a joke! The group has gotten into playing “Hellworld” again despite Adam’s death. The movie inserts a TON of meta references in this sequence. The gist is that a Hellraiser urban legend exists in this movie’s universe, and the MMORPG “Hellworld” allows people to play around in the Cenobite world.
The group gets invited to an elusive party for Hellraisers at an isolated estate called the Leviathan House located at 86 Hillbound Road. Although Chelsea displays some reluctance, they decide to go because Hellraisers “know how to party” and Chelsea wants to keep an eye on her friends.
They are quickly greeted by a young woman’s bared breasts, to which the gentlemen in the group have only the most gentlemanly things to say.
They also see Jake is at the party as well. It is clear he is estranged from the group, but they initiate a conversation anyway. And then the Host of the party invites them all for a drink and to give them a tour of the house.
His study has a portrait LeMarchand, relic puzzle boxes, and even a Hellraiser themed tarot deck.
But thanks to my fresh knowledge of the series, some of this information feels suspect.
Notably, he refers to the house as Phillip LeMarchand’s “second greatest architectural achievement”, but he was a toymaker. His descendant John was the architect. Also why would this building be in what is presumably the U.S. when Phillip lived in France?
The Host proceeds to toss some spooky movie word salad out as throwaway exposition.
“Like most great artists of his time, LeMarchand found himself commissioned by the Church to build a convent. And for decades, LeMarchand’s palace stood as such. Then came the convent’s final mother superior, Sister Ursala. A nun whose vows were shattered by an obsession for a tiny puzzle box and the unholy pleasures sealed inside it. Sometime during the blizzard of 1809, some 80 women vanished from this house without a trace. Ursala was the only one they found. Only she wasn’t all there. You might say she went to pieces. Years later, the house was renovated and became a lockup for the criminally insane. That is, until the staff began reporting occurrences of paranormal violence. One cold spring morning, the team locked themselves in this surgical amphitheater, injected themselves with a local anesthetic, and dismembered one another. I think tonight will bring you many answers. “Host just describing various horror movie plots that may or may not be Hellraiser related
But no matter that when we have other classy dialogue from the future costar of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Host takes them to a specimen room I guess? Also the mid-aughts editing is strong in this one:
After making a comment about Chelsea not being easily scared, The Host stabs Cher with a pin in a jump scare and Pinhead appears for a moment. But it was all a dream! Or was it?
It was, so the group decides it is time to go party. Henry Cavill, the future star of The Witcher, says this when he sees two women literally just interacting in a non-sexual way:
Brace yourself, because this is when the film introduces Nokia phones which it features product placement for 92 times according to IMDb. Everyone at the party gets a cell phone because this was apparently sponsored by Oprah. They also get a mask with a four digit cell number on the front for people to call if they want to hook up. I wonder if this is a plot contrivance that the film needs for future scenes?
The group splits up in the party, and Allison continues to explore the house. She encounters a sign that says “Keep Out” and basically gives it the hand.
Inside, she encounters a chair that seems designed for human torture and naturally sits in it. The chair locks her in, and tiny buzz saw begins spinning towards her neck. The Host disables a mechanism meant to stop them from actually killing someone, and lets it do its thing.
Since she is in an isolated room upstairs, no one hears her screams for help.
Meanwhile, Chelsea gets locked in a nondescript room which seems like an entirely imbalanced hell experience!
Meanwhile Jake is trying to find a girl he met online who allegedly is at the party. But his Nolia (TM) isn’t ringing 😦
Jake also wanders into a room and sees a picture of him and Adam on a computer.
I really thought for a hot second this was implying him and Adam were a couple…and honestly nothing really shook that from my headcanon so I’m running with it.
The Host appears, and hands Jake a puzzle box that Adam allegedly built. But it stabs him with CGI pins!
Pinhead appears and taunts Jake.
But nevermind because when Jake looks up he sees the room is empty and he’s alone. He looks out the window and sees the Host digging a grave though so that probably can’t be good.
But no worries because Jake just goes back to the party like he didn’t see this ominous act. He does notice that everyone seems to be ignoring him though, and as he becomes increasingly desperate to be acknowledged, he realizes something sinister is happening.
Just as he is about to leave, he turns around and it looks like everyone in the room has hung themselves.
But when he looks back it was all a dream or was it?!
Mike aka Henry Cavill encounters a young woman and decides to ask her a question.
And Derrick looks like he is in an ad for Las Vegas.
That is until Derrick drops his inhaler and it keeps getting accidently kicked further and further away from him on the dance floor. I do not have asthma, but watching this scene was stressful for me so I can only imagine what it would be like if the viewer did have asthma.
Meanwhile, the future Man of Steel smirks at the camera, thus breaking the fourth wall to show how cool it is he is getting a blow job.
He also answers his Nokia during the act.
Chelsea is like “help me I’m stuck in a room!” and he is like “I’m busy” which to be fair he is but also why answer your phone then?!
Derrick is still trying to obtain his inhaler, having to climb down a comical numbers of stairs to get to where he thinks it dropped through the grate. I appreciate his sarcastic “great!” as he sees how many more steps he has to go.
He does manage to pry the grate off and get to his inhaler in time to stop his asthma attack, but when he lays down in relief, Pinhead randomly shows up and decapitates him with a meat cleaver?
Jake, who has still not verified if anyone can see him nor alerted anyone to the fact the Host is outside digging OPEN GRAVES, sees a nun and decides to follow her.
He follows her upstairs to an attic bedroom where she immediately disrobes and has silent sex with him. Afterwards, he lays in bed and thinks about shirtless Adam.
Chelsea is STILL locked in a room. She gets a call for help from Allison (who we know is dead), so she calls the police. But when they arrive, they are already skeptical and think she is probably just on drugs. It is also clear something supernatural is preventing them from seeing her in an upstairs window. So naturally they leave without investigating the house itself.
When Mike is asked to return the oral sex favor, he pulls a face that confirms beyond anything else thus far that you are meant to dislike his character.
They end up in the basement, and she pushes him into the Specimen Room.
He finds Derrick’s decapitated body, and thinks it is a prank at first?! He finds Derrick’s head in a jar. Then we see the new SeeNoSpeakNoBite is there to kill Mike with a hook.
Chelsea finally escapes the room she’s been stuck in, and tries to escape in the car but it is out of gas. She keeps trying to turn the engine to no avail, but finally the Host pops out the back and says what we are all thinking
She receives a distress call on her Nokia (TM) phone from Jake, and goes back into the house to try and find him. But the distress call is a trick – we see it is secretly the Host calling her and somehow mimicking Jake’s voice (can Nokia phones do that?!).
She rushes back inside, but can’t seem to find Jake. She does find the Chatterbox Bite and zombified versions of Mike and Allison. I was really hoping to see Derrick’s headless torso awkwardly trying to chase her but no such luck 😦
She’s panicked and manages to lock herself into an attic room. Then the Host calls her, and all of a sudden she starts being incredibly sarcastic about the entire situation in a scene that was obviously influenced heavily by the Scream franchise.
The house tricks Jake into thinking he stabbed Chelsea, but she calls him from the attic. Chelsea and Jake talk again on their Hellworld issued Nokia phones, and he vows to come rescue her. But he realizes something being in the study they were in at the beginning of the film. The Host drugged each of them. Chelsea realizes something even worse. The Host is actually their dead friend Adam’s absentee father!
Of course Adam’s father tries to stop them from leaving so Chelsea, and I cannot emphasize how random this is, calls him an asshole and ROUNDHOUSE KICKS HIM IN THE FACE OFF A BALCONY
Chelsea and Jake run outside only to encounter Adam’s dad again next to five graves with open pipes coming up through them.
It is here Adam’s father admits he created this party and lured them there in order to get revenge for Adam’s death despite being an absentee father most of Adam’s life. He drugged them all, and everything after them getting drugged was just them hallucinating as they died. They came up with the scenarios, and he just encouraged the suggestions.
He proceeds to tell Chelsea Allison died while clawing at her neck (thinking she was being tortured), Derrick had a fatal asthma attack, and Mike flatout died from fear. Adam’s dad is the “girl” Jake has been talking to online, extracting nerdy information about Hellraiser in order to plan his excessively over the top revenge.
It seems like this is really the end as Jake and Chelsea realize they are actually buried underground. But after a few moments a bunch of first responders pull Chelsea out of her coffin – she has been rescued before dying. Jake is also still alive albeit in much worse shape. The police tell her Adam’s dad got away. But although he got away from the, he didn’t escape the Cenobites because he inadvertently opens the box in his hotel room.
Chelsea and Jake are on their way to travel somewhere together to get away from it all. The Host’s ghost suddenly appears in the back seat and they nearly crash but manage to stop the car in time. They look panicked and unsure, but like they might be okay.
The end…for now.
- Early on into this movie I just kept saying, “this is going to be very difficult to recap because it is so ridiculous”
- I was really going to go in on how uncharacteristic Pinhead is in this film, but the explanation that it is really a revenge plot makes sense of Pinhead’s bizarre behavior and the more dreamlike sequences
- The level of revenge Adam’s dad goes to is really insane. He was even hosting an actual party in the house, which you would think someone there would notice a man dragging five bodies away to open graves.
Yes I recommend this so dumb it’s good movie. It feels like the screenwriter was deliberating jumping on the “new technology is evil!”, “meta horror film”, and “generic slasher” trains, and just jumped on all three and churned out a Hellraiser that is obviously aware of previous films yet so disrespectful of the previous films it has to be intentionally mocking the franchise. This is the Halloween: Resurrection of Hellraiser movies.