Another title that can be mined for direct-to-video profits frequently (this title comes only mere months after the release of another direct-to-video "Hellraiser" movie), the "Hellraiser" series joins such franchises as "Mimic", "The Prophecy" and others in the ability to just keep coming up with new tales to pin - er, spin.
"Hellraiser: Hellworld" is the eighth entry in the series, and once again stars Doug Bradley as the evil Pinhead. The plot this time around has five friends becoming increasingly interested in the online horror game Hellworld.com. Lead by Chelsea (Katheryn Winnick), the group goes to a Hellworld.com party hosted by the Host (Lance Henriksen), and ends up unleashing Pinhead.
The picture certainly doesn't excel when it comes to dialogue, as the characters are completely one-dimensional and the dialogue often brings the proceedings to a halt, as what they're saying comes off as awfully corny. Although there are some okay performances (Winnick, Bradley, Henriksen), none of the remaining actors make an impression.
Faring somewhat better are the visuals, as despite a bit of overuse of camera/editing tricks, the film does at least have fairly good production design, as the old mansion that the party takes place in is rather creepy and does become something of a "character" in the picture, as well.
Fans of the series will certainly want to check out this latest entry, but I personally found it just to be an average horror time-waster. I suppose that at least this was better than Feardotcom.
VIDEO: Dimension films presents "Hellraiser: Hellworld" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality varied a bit, but was usually fine. Sharpness and detail were a bit uneven and not remarkable in any way, with some scenes looking a tad soft. However, other sequences fared better and offered stronger detail.
Issues with definition aside, the presentation didn't suffer from too many other concerns. Some slight traces of pixelation and edge enhancement were apparent on a couple of occasions, but these were hardly noticable. The print appeared to be in fine condition, with some hints of grain visible, but no specks, marks or other faults.
The film's color palette was largely subdued, although bolder colors were sometimes apparent. Either way, colors appeared accurately presented and more vivid tones appeared well-saturated when they did appear.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation was satisfactory, offering some fairly effective uses of the surrounds to deliver effects and ambience. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and well-recorded, crisp effects & score.
EXTRAS: The DVD offers a behind-the-scenes documentary and a commentary from director Rick Bota, writer Joel Soisson, make-up FX designer Gary J. Tunacliffe and executive producer Neil Philips.
Final Thoughts: Although not quite as bad as expected for number eight in a series that has been going direct-to-video for a while, "Hellraiser: Hellworld" offers some pretty terrible dialogue and characters that are certainly one-dimensional. Some neat sets do liven things up, but not nearly enough. The DVD presentation offers a couple of decent extras and fine audio/video quality. Fans of the series or the horror genre in general may want to give it a try as a rental, but others should skip it.