What The Film?! is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email email@example.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.
This Week’s Movie: Hellraiser: Revelations.
Us here at Under The Gun live by a set of rules, similar to the samurai. We hold these rules to be infallible, it’s our own code. There are many different rules/laws that we observe that may seem strange to people not working here. One of these infallible rules is that once a movie franchise stops using numbers and relies on subtitles, you know it’s going to be awful. The most important rule is that we can not feed Justin after midnight.
Hellraiser: Revelations, the ninth movie in the once great Hellraiser franchise (hey, three to four good horror movies is a good run). It was created as an “ash-can” copy, a movie made purely to hang onto the license that Dimension Films would lose had they not put it out as soon as possible. On the other hand, this is the first Hellraiser movie since the fourth one (Hellraiser: Bloodline) to actually be written as a Hellraiser movie instead of a bad horror movie where Pinhead and the cenobites were shoehorned in to make the train wreck have some sort of recognition with an audience. The last movie had kids playing a Hellraiser MMO and being terrorized by the guy from Millennium, this has to be better, right?
This movie, being an ash-can copy, was written and shot in a three week period. You know how I’ve complained about movies seeming to be shot on their first draft and no thought put into it? This movie was literally shot on its script’s first draft. There were no rewrites, there were no tweaks, what fell onto the paper at first was what they ended up shooting.
The movie begins with a found-footage type set up with two teens running off to Mexico to get laid. On the car ride there, despite being just one camera and two people, this “found footage” keeps cutting back and forth between the two in conversation. Okay, hit record, now you talk. Okay, now turn it off and point it at me and hit record and I’ll talk. No part of this is annoying or inconvenient.
Once they get to Mexico, the scene shifts to the two boys opening up the Lemarchand’s Box (the puzzle box that spawns the cenobites (demons)). Once the box is opened, Pinhead is summoned and all electric devices in the room are disabled, leaving the room dark. Except for the camera. The camera not only keeps rolling but is again cutting between not just the two boys, but Pinhead. The camera cuts mid sentence but the audio stays consistent with the dialogue uninterrupted.
The movie cuts to a year later where the two friend’s parents are pretending that they never had kids. After a daughter asks what was on the video tape, the parents start screaming at each other because this was the first draft and they filmed what a bunch of people in a room threw together without really thinking about it. The parents accuse the daughter of only thinking of herself, which is exactly the opposite of what she did by worrying about her brother and boyfriend.
Emma (the daughter) then steals the camera, because of course she did, she even said she’s been wanting to watch what it had on it for a year now. We cut back to the “found footage” styled mess where all the prior cutting issues are still around while the two friends drink tequila in a bar that’s clearly an empty room, maybe a garage. The budget on this movie must have been eleven dollars.
The two friends find a woman and attempt to talk to her “No Inglés” she replies to her two suitors in the most American accent possible. They buy her shots, have sex with her, and then kill her because that’s what teenagers do apparently. “We need to delete this tape, Nico!” Steven yells, Nico insists that they keep the tape because calling this the first draft is insulting because that still implies that there’s a coherent story in it.
Emma finds the Lemarchand’s Box and plays with it, which causes her brother Steven to appear out of nowhere. Playing with the box causes all the cars to disappear and the phone lines to go down, so the cenobites have quite a lot of control over things, except over cameras. One person points out that Steven is covered with someone else’s blood because that’s absolutely a thing that someone can tell with their naked eyes.
Steven and Nico’s family both start attacking Steven wondering where Nico. “I’m going to get the gun, you guys lock the doors”, Steven’s father tells everyone, no one arguing with this escalation of insanity. “Okay, so we watched the snuff tape, played with the gothy-rubic’s cube, Steven appeared out of nowhere, the phones are down, and our cars disappeared. Lets add some shotguns to this”.
We then cut back to flashbacks of Mexico where Steven and Nico are hanging out at a stripclub post murder, trying to forget what happened. A vagrant sits down at their table. “We’re not interested in whatever you’re selling” Nico tells him. “I’m selling experience” the vagrant replies, completely destroying Nico’s original barrier, officially being excited to see what he has to say.
Nico opens the box and is taken by Pinhead, Steven decides to bang a hooker and murders her. Nico’s body gets reformed and yells to him “Steven! Blood brings me back!”. This sequence literally looks like a middle school video project and is executed even worse. The movie keeps switching between past and present, where Steven is murdering hobos and hookers to try and bring Nico back (in one scene he asks a hooker how much she costs, as if he wasn’t going to go GTA on her and get his money back after the fact), and the present where Steven’s sister Emma gets really turned on by the puzzle box and tries to seduce Nico’s dad, when that falls through she ends up successfully seducing her brother.
It’s at this point it’s revealed that Steven is actually Nico wearing Steven’s skin so that incest totally wasn’t incest. Except Emma didn’t know that. As it turns out, Steven couldn’t bring himself to kill a hooker who had a baby, telling Nico to “Do it himself”, because that’s totally the most moral way out of that situation. Due to Steven’s inability to deal with killing to resurrect Nico, so he quits and decides to join the Cenobites and become one of their demons, because of logic.
The Steven that really isn’t Steven who is really Nico wearing Steven’s skin shoots Steven’s dad and convinces Emma to open the Lemarchand’s Box, where he attempts to make a deal with the cenobites where they would take Emma rather than himself. The cenobites show up, cause some nonsense, and everyone dies but Emma. The End.
At its core, the movie is just a really poorly redone version of the first movie, following most of the same plot points, but beefing up the original Uncle Frank plot into something much larger and less sense making. The movie was rushed with not any time to re-write or tighten the script or to make it coherent. Doug Bradley, the actor who played Pinhead in all eight Hellraiser movies leading up to this shot it down because he didn’t think the movie was up to par with the rest of the franchise. In a franchise with the last four movies being direct to video sequels that rival any SyFy Original Pictures, this was the one he said “No” to. That’s how bad this movie is.