Hellraiser: Deader (2005)

Hellraiser: Deader (2005) Directed by Rick Bota

The gray matter now evaporates with a chilling immediacy in this seventh installment of Hellraiser, where there is not even a positive trace that can illustrate the final objectives with a productive will of wanting to make a sequel with entertainment value or exploitative pleasure. The monumental awfulness of Hellraiser: Deader makes the development of this review pass to such superficial planes as analyzing ludicrous questions that as main debate we have this: Is the atrocious title worse than the film itself, or the other way around?

Perhaps they both share such an affable attunement in their intrinsic ineptitude that I believe their irrational semantics already lay the groundwork for specifying their abhorrent filmmaking. I thought that after witnessing some of the most horrendous cinematic crimes of the 1990’s and early 2000’s the standards were already low enough, lost in the depths of their unfathomable inadequacy, I thought it inconceivable that something far more execrable than those dreary films could be engendered. But as modern horror cinema has empirically taught us, this is a resoundingly unpredictable genre, capable of giving you the best cinematic experiences of your life or the worst, unlike other genres, none is as risky as horror cinema. And after the outlandish calamity that was Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth we are now here in the motley 21st century with not only one of the most insufferable horror sequels of all time, but also a serious candidate to be the worst Hellraiser movie; proving us once again, that horror cinema rampantly proliferates the best and the worst of cinema.

An autopsy of this repulsive crime in direct-to-video film format requires no dissection or scientific precisions to unveil the feckless and obtuse actions of the filmmakers who perpetuated this merciless piece of crap, just a cursory observation of its external textures is enough to exemplify how grievously bad it is. Director Rick Bota takes up the utopian challenge of making a new Hellraiser sequel, having directed Hellraiser: Hellseeker returns to define himself as a garish, energetic and inconsequential filmmaker. Comparing the flawed yet intriguing Hellseeker to Deader is absolutely essential to contextualize the ludic and formally colorful tendencies that Rick Bota’s manic hyperbole of filmmaking carries in his personality.

Hellseeker is subdued in style, lean in its photographic mannerisms and quite restrained with its optical gimmicks, it’s as if Rick Bota was still waiting to build up and nurture his confidence as a clownish director so that in his next film he could exploit to the fullest, without restraint, his so peculiarly bad, maladroit cinematic configuration. A myriad of problems occur in Deader on multiple levels, different dimensions that seem to be coordinated by the same imperfection, it is structurally a sour, rambunctious and explicit polyphony that in its harmony of equitable flaws gradually evolves into its worst form. It is very rare, if not impossible, to see how a film can operate in a dimension completely opposite to any element of productivity and faithfully adhere to the filth of its errors with such hypertrophic enthusiasm that it stimulates in you a powerful feeling of hatred for this aggressively lousy film, unique in its proportionality of imbecility.

In that multidiversity of asinine decisions and brute attitudes is added the fact that this seventh installment of Hellraiser has as its thematic rigor something exceptionally morbid. Naturally, the fact of having material with the potential to be creative and with the possibility of being expansively multifaceted in the horror genre, makes its first act promises an obscene amount of disturbing provocation with its metaphysical themes. Right after that, all that promise is blown away by the wind, as Rick Bota is more concerned with how to turn this frustrating experience into something that is frustrating yet sickening. Once he gives absolute ubiquity to the latter, Hellraiser: Deader becomes a bloody bore that you can only escape if you happen to fall asleep. Unfortunately, I’m not one to fall asleep to sleep-inducing movies, so I had to endure every minute of this nightmare awake.

Reporter Amy Klein played by Kari Wuhrer, is sent to Romania to investigate a bizarre cult that experiments with death and resurrection in defiance of the laws of the supernatural, the leader of this cult, has the ability to bring the dead back to life. Amy, while searching for explanations to these preternatural events, comes across the puzzle box that will change her vision regarding the illogical and out-of-this-world events she has been witnessing. Keep in mind that this plot has a sort of meaningless continuation, where each event has little argumentative value and is not even supplied with comprehensible narrative details that decipher the temporal superimpositions that invasively intervene in the traumatic existentialism that the protagonist lives.

On top of its drowsy forcefulness, we have a film shot with a stultifying amateurishness. As I said, Hellseeker is the film that inflated Rick Bota’s ego and gave him a decisive preparation for the extraordinary function of pretentiousness that Deader contains in its fatuous execution. Hellraiser: Deader makes the straightforward syntactical arrangement of analytical editing look like an out-of-control, disproportionate, itinerant spasm that feels like an exhausting, interminable migraine. But if you thought it was only erratic and unwholesome in its editing you’d be wrong, there are also jarring crash zooms that deform its dreadful cinematography even more; they are not mere optical games that seek to accentuate a specific moment, nor is it an economic stylization, they are simply there with an unwarranted existence in a toxic relationship with its creator.

Hellraiser: Deader is not only bad, it’s even detrimental to mental health.

Matteo Bedon
About Author

When I'm not watching and studying films, I'm writing about them.
Part-time essayist and full-time film critic.