The franchise reboot Hellraiser 2022 comes with a lot of hype and expectation, but its promising trailer has shown that Hulu could potentially make up for an earlier horror movie misstep made by the streaming service. While "straight-to-streaming" is not always a phrase that is associated with high-quality studio fare, Hulu has been working hard to change this perception in 2022. Prey, the 2022 prequel to Predator, proved that the seemingly tired sci-fi action franchise could be revived by a sufficiently inventive and original premise - so much so that many viewers regreted that the propulsive, impactful reboot hadn't graced cinema screens before its Hulu release.
Similarly, the first trailer for Hellraiser 2022 appears to be equally promising for lovers of the classic '80s horror franchise. The Hellraiser movies have varied wildly in terms of quality over the franchise’s 10-movie run, but only one or two of these outings could be called true genre classics. Now, however, Hulu’s Hellraiser 2022 appears to be the best movie that the Hellraiser series has produced in some time, which could help make up for one of Hulu’s earlier missteps.
1987's original Hellraiser movie was based on horror author Clive Barker’s seminal novella “The Hellbound Heart,” a story originally included in Barker’s collection Books of Blood. In 2020, Hulu promised viewers an adaptation of Books of Blood that would stage numerous other short stories from this iconic collection, but the result was a poorly reviewed mess. Books of Blood was a flawed horror anthology that profoundly missed the mark as a Barker adaptation. Hellraiser 2022 will seemingly make up for this misstep mainly by recapturing the aesthetic of Barker’s work much more faithfully than its predecessor.
Why Hellraiser Looks Better Than Books of Blood
The first thing that Hellraiser 2022 has going for it is the fact that, unlike 2020’s less faithful Books of Blood, the reboot is not an anthology. The anthology format is infamous for being uneven even in experienced hands, as the process of turning numerous intersecting short stories into one large, cohesive tale can be a tricky thing to pull off. In contrast, Hellraiser 2022 can afford to tell a more straightforward story - one that's also more consistently tense and scary. What's more, Hellraiser 2022 has an experienced horror helmer in the form of David Bruckner, where Books of Blood had a debut director.
While Books of Blood had its moments, the Barker adaptation never nailed the unique atmosphere of the author’s work. Directed by Brannon Braga (who also wroteFreddy Vs Jason’s wildest unused draft), Books of Blood looked like every other mid-budget horror streaming effort in visual terms, and its failure to capture the blend of sensuality and scares found in Barker’s work proved the movie’s undoing despite some effective moments and clever touches. Luckily, the Hellraiser 2022 trailer proves that the reboot has captured the unique blend of gothic and erotic that made Barker’s fiction famous, unlike Hulu’s earlier horror movie taken from the author’s back catalog.