It's the year 2127. Pinhead has found himself on board a space station in outer space, run by scientist Dr.Merchant. Dr. Merchant's mission is to close the gates to hell forever because his ancestor, a toymaker in the 18th century, built the evil puzzlebox that opens the gates to hell. Through the generations, the family of the bloodline has tried to stop it. But now, Dr.Merchant has built the reverse box. The box that will close the gates to hell instead of opening it.
Like all bad horror sequels, this tries to explain and even worse cap off the series. You cannot cap horror; then again, this came along during the "kill all the slasher villains" phase in the 90s, starting with Freddy, going to Jason, now this. Even worse, this combines the "In Space" concept behind many horror films now. Nowhere else to go? Take it to space!
We get three timelines, and not one is handled with any particular interest. The first flashback holds the most interest, but once that fades out so does any shred of interest I had. New characters some of whom played by the same actors in the new time, or in other words, more soulless, faceless, potential victims that are standard in horror films. Maybe if I cared about these people I'd get attached to them before the next flashback/flashforward. . . ? But long before you can like anyone, new scene, new people, new mini-film within the film.
This disjointed nature destroys the film. There's nothing with 'flashback' nature films, there's nothing wrong with 'space' films if they're handled right. "Space" films not handled right turn out pathetic, and if you cannot handle linear storytelling, flashbacks will not magically enhance your ability as a storyteller. It's not automiatically 'sophisticated' or 'elegant'; it takes talent and knowledge to know when to use it. This film was lacking one or both, and it's pathetic.
In the end, it's a hacked together jumble of ideas which do not work together as a solid story should; it violates the crime most sequels commit in trying to cap the series AND tries to explain, explain, explain--we do not need any more explanations in these sequels! You can't have a mystery stay a mystery if it's explained, and you can't be scared knowing all the facts. The original hellraiser had its shimmer because no one knew anything about the box other than you probably don't want to open it, and your guess was as good as mine as to where Pinhead and his gang came from.
Hellraiser II managed to pull off a nice explanation about Pinhead, but you'll also note they introduce a bigger, badder cenobyte to haunt hell and discard Pinhead because he's been explained and is no longer scary. Granted the new cenobyte does not pose as big a mystery as Pinhead, but I haven't seen very many other films that manages to explain anything coherently and maintain its atmosphere reasonably well. Enough about Hellbound, back to Bloodline: There is no mystery. Everything is out in the open--all the ideas are under bright florescent lights where no shadows can hide anything. Say bye bye to scary, there's nothing left to explain in the Hellraiser world, which also means there's nothing left there to scare us.
Given the reasons above, I cannot possibly see how the original director could have done much better with the material I've seen. I don't see how the "Explain everything about Hellraiser in a series of brief meaningless flashbacks while capping the series in space" could possibly work. That combination of bad ideas would require one hell of a craftsman to suspend my disbelief and make me say "Whoa" with the concepts behind this film.
-Kevin Yagher disowned the version with cuts made after release to reduce running time.
(More coming soon!)