Directed by Anthony Hickox [Other horror films: Waxwork (1988), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), Warlock: The Armageddon (1993), Full Eclipse (1993), Knife Edge (2009)]
The story is fine. Nothing special, nothing terrible. The subplot with Elliot Spencer and Joey wasn’t really all that intriguing, in my opinion. The movie just felt off, and despite connections to the previous films (including a brief scene with Kirsty), it didn’t real feel all that related.
Most of the acting wasn’t that great. Our main character, played by Terry Farrell, was okay. At times, she certainly didn’t do that well, but she was consistently better than Kevin Bernhardt’s J.P., a pale intimation of the original movie’s Frank. I really did like Paula Marshall as Terri, and throughout the film, she had sort of a Shawnee Smith feel to her, which was definitely appreciated. In fact, I think some of the best scenes of the movie are those with Farrell and Marshall, who did decently well together.
Doug Bradley, of course, did well as Pinhead, but although he occasionally had some interesting insights to shine a light upon, he spoke significantly more in this movie as opposed to the previous ones, which sort of dampens his effects. He had some solid lines (the whole mocking Jesus scene was quality, as was the “limited imagination” line), but smaller doses are what the doctor ordered when concerning his dialogue.
The makeup in the movie was serviceable, but the special effects, many of which were done in early CGI, just looked damn awful. And speaking of awful, every single one of those new Cenobite designs were a kick in the face to the horrific simplicity of the original’s Butterball and Chatterer. The CD Cenobite was bad, yes, but every single design (from the fire-breathing Cenobite to Pistonhead to Camerahead) was an ocular assault. They just looked shitty.
The movie was also far too corny, with some really bad lines in there. The acting often didn’t help with this, truth be told. I’m not sure if all of it was intentional, but even so, it just didn’t do much for me.
If you’re a fan of the first two Hellraiser movies, as I am, this one will come as a bit of a shock. Certainly it’s the black sheep of the first four movies (even if it is probably a bit better than the fourth). This has only been the second time I’ve seen it, but I can see why I forgot much of it. Hell on Earth has an odd vibe, and while it’s not really a terrible movie, the first two are very much superior.
As Camerahead said, that’s a wrap.