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Movie Review: ‘Hellraiser: Hellseeker’

Hellraiser: Hellseeker

Rating:
Star2
Star
Star
Star
Star

The sixth film in the Hellraiser franchise, Hellraiser: Hellseeker was originally released in 2002 as a straight-to-DVD movie. The film showcases the return of one of the movie’s strongest characters, Kirsty Cotton (played by Ashley Laurence). Despite this return, Hellraiser: Hellseeker is a relatively weak entry in the series, particularly because it rehashes material and themes explored previously and with better results.

Kirsty Cotton (played by Ashley Laurence) returns in "Hellraiser: Hellseeker."
Kirsty Cotton (played by Ashley Laurence) returns in "Hellraiser: Hellseeker."
Dimension Films
DVD cover for "Hellraiser: Hellseeker."
Dimension Films

The movie begins with Kirsty now married to one Trevor Gooden (Dean Winters). The couple is driving on a highway. At first, Trevor and Kirsty seem to get along, but soon they seem to be arguing. Trevor loses control of the vehicle, plunging into a nearby river. Although he manages to escape, Kirsty apparently drowns. I say apparently because her body is never found—rescue divers find both car doors open and no sign of Kirsty at the bottom of the river.

The bulk of the story then details Trevor’s descent into a hell of his own making (sound familiar?). It turns out that Trevor is not as clean-cut and nice as he portrays himself to be. Indeed, Trevor is a sexual deviant and murderer, a ripe candidate for the cenobites, once again led by Pinhead (Doug Bradley). As Pinhead begins to torment Trevor within his own mind, a pair of homicide detectives begins to piece together what really happened when Trevor’s car went into the river.

As the mystery is unraveled, we learn that Trevor cheated on his wife with other deviant women. Tired of Kirsty and her supposedly puritanical attitude, Trevor then secures the Lament Configuration, which he hopes she will open again. Kirsty, being Kirsty, does open the box, but like in the original Hellraiser movie, she strikes a deal with Pinhead: she will provide him with five fresh souls in exchange for her life. Pinhead agrees, and Kirsty does indeed provide five souls: three of Trevor’s mistresses, one of his friends (who was to be a co-conspirator in Kirsty’s murder), and the grand prize, Trevor himself.

The ending has Kirsty very much alive and Trevor as the one who drowned and is now tapped in the netherworld of the cenobites, where he will be damned in his own psychological soup for an eternity.

Taking advantage of all the Hellraiser movies that came before it but notably the original film and Hellraiser: Inferno, Hellraiser: Hellseeker is an okay film when allowed to stand on its own. However, viewers who have watched previous entries will be disappointed, given that much of the plot is derivative of material that has already been explored. Although the character of Kirsty is a welcome return, she does not play a significant part in the movie, with Ashley Laurence given what amounts to a glorified cameo. Moreover, the character of Kirsty is virtually the same as in the original film, where she also made a deal with the cenobites in an attempt to spare her father from their wrath.

The focus on Trevor is okay, but his descent into hell mirrors that of the detective in Hellraiser: Inferno. Although the reasons for the descent are not quite as complicated or sophisticated in Hellraiser: Hellseeker as they are in Hellraiser: Inferno, the idea is similar enough to make the movie difficult to sit through.

Although the screenplay is the biggest drawback to this movie, the movie itself is pretty solid. All the performances a good, the direction by Rick Bota is good, and there are some pretty good special effects, given that this movie had a limited budget. I did like that the movie showcased Pinhead once again as a tormentor and not a hands-on killer. The cenobites have always fared better when they torment and terrorize. Sadly, the other original cenobites are nowhere to be seen.

Hellraiser: Hellseeker can be found in bargain bins, making it worth picking up and adding to your Hellraiser collection. The film is also available as a multi-feature compilation of four Hellraiser sequels available for less than $8 (that’s how I saw the movie).