Hellraiser 5: Inferno
Written by Paul Harris Boardman & Scott Derrickson
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Detective Joseph Thorne...Craig Sheffer
Tony Nenonen...Nicholas Turturro
Dr. Gregory...James Remar
Detective Joseph Thorne is something of a shady cop. He steals evidence from crime scenes, snorts blow, and bangs beautiful young hookers behind the backs of his wife and daughter. When he and his straight shooter partner Tony Nenonen are called to a murder site, they find a puddle of flesh that was once a man, a child's finger ensconced in a candle, and the mysterious puzzle box.
Detective Thorne has always been good at solving puzzles. He's almost obsessive about it, and quite showy, as well. It doesn't take him long to crack the combination of the box, but when he does, he isn't assaulted by leather-clad demons and dragged into hell like most people. Instead, he finds the world around him changing into a surrealistic nightmare of Jacob's Ladder proportions.
In long-running franchises such as this, you can't really go into these sequels expecting too much. A little blood, a few boobs, hopefully a coherent storyline that doesn't completely contradict everything that has come before it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this entry was pretty damned enjoyable, offering up a fresh take on the usual Cenobite storyline.
Inferno is like a 1990s neo-noir as seen through the eyes of David Lynch. It is dark, twisted, and nice to look at, beating the shit out of all your senses with a whip. Thorne is a worthy anti-hero, and the mysterious Engineer is one hell of a villain. Pinhead himself had been relegated to a background role this time, but his usual sadomasochistic tropes are all here, so we feel his presence even when he can not be seen.
This may be more mystery than horror for much of its running time, but it's still a welcome addition to the genre fan's library. One of the few sequels that really matter.
"Your flesh is killing your spirit."