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Review: HELLRISER (2017)

Sometimes you just have to take a chance, ignore what your brain is telling you, and go for it. So when HELLRISER, (no that is not a typo), the latest film from low budget auteur, Steve Lawson, (KILLERSAURUS, THE HAUNTING OF ALCATRAZ) came my way I just had to watch it. While nobody will ever claim it’s a great film, it is a lot of fun for those that can appreciate this kind of contribution to the genre.

Detective Locke (Steven Dolton NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY) is trying to solve a rash of murders that seem to be the work of a serial killer. With seven victims in the past month, he’s short on clues. However, he does have a new partner, Detective Keyes, (Charlie Bond STRIPPERS VS WEREWOLVES) who hopes she can provide a fresh perspective.


Together they find a Dr. Unnseine (Andrew Coughlan SURVIVAL INSTINCT) doing some unusual research on the inmates of his asylum. One inmate, in particular, is Annie Dyer, (Raven Lee NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY) who may hold the key to the murders, and possibly to the gates of Hell.

Dolton and Lee reprise their roles from NOCTURNAL ACTIVITY. This film is something of a sequel even if it doesn’t directly continue the plot. HELLRISER is a cheerful, goofy excuse to mix blood, boobs, bad jokes and even more boobs into a fast-paced and fun evening’s entertainment. The names of its main characters Detectives Locke and Keyes should be your first clue to just how seriously the film takes itself. There’s also a good dose of Mel Brooks style humor just over how to pronounce Dr. Unnseine’s name.


It’s not just the silly puns that give HELLRISER its feel. Scenes like the one where Locke first sees Anne’s cell and doesn’t find all the mist floating around the least bit odd, or a later scene of her escaping by ripping the bars from her cell while stark naked, also add to the film’s charm Toss in some shower scenes, a couple of well-staged killings and a bad CGI Hellscape and you have something that looks like Fred Olen Ray could have made at his peak.

HELLRISER isn’t for those who demand a serious genre film. Those just looking for some fun with the odd scare thrown in should have a good time. HELLRISER is currently out on an “All-Region” DVD in the UK from 88 Films, no word yet about a release in other countries.

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