You know what? Each Hellraiser movie past the first (Hellraiser: Inferno included) has less and less to do with the Cenobites. They tend to focus more on the subjects, illustrating their slow descent into despair and insanity as a result of opening the Box. And how is it that EVERYONE knows how to open the box when they first see it? Rub the little golden circle on the top. If you were a detective doing cocaine and sleeping with a sleazy hooker, would you really do that? I suppose I don’t know if cocaine would make you do that, so… Whatever.
Joseph Thorne is a terrible person. He’s a detective, a married man with a daughter. He does cocaine and sleeps with hookers frequently, which he says is so he’ll keep coming back to his wife. Despite these lame excuses, he’s aloof, irritable, and generally very unpleasant. When the hooker he slept with is brutally murdered, he plants items from his partner to cover his ass. What a nice guy, huh?
Prior to this, Joseph made a terrible mistake during an investigation. A man he knew in high school is murdered brutally, with two major clues placed near his body: The Box, and a child’s finger. He begins to link things together, and discovers that an individual known as The Engineer has been organizing all the morbid crimes that Joseph encounters. Even worse, at each scene, a freshly severed child’s finger is left in plain sight; a taunt to Joseph from The Engineer himself.
“If you hunt The Engineer, The Engineer will hunt you.” And oh, how he does. Joseph is quickly and thoroughly haunted by freaky looking Clive Barker demon chicks, torso imps, evil kung-fu cowboys… I guess… and a faceless creature that seems to be burning the child’s fingerprints with its black tongue. Is it The Engineer? Maybe. No. It’s one of The Engineer’s tools, and it consistently causes Joseph to freak out and attack people. It’s the stereotypical, “I’m not crazy!” movie bullshit, but this time around, it’s a little different. Nobody likes Joseph, and he neglects the only people who would.
I suppose you could call this a psychological thriller, but it’s really just Pinhead enjoying himself by screwing with an immoral cop. From the moment Joseph opens the Box, everything goes wrong. Pinhead starts showing him flashbacks of his childhood, how he was once innocent, and how he’s managed to kill every last bit of innocence left within him. Strangely enough, they’re from Joseph as a child. Each one cut represents another failure to stop the growing corruption within him, and eventually, his slowly withering goodness sends him to Hell.
What that means, basically, is that he has to confront his demons over and over and over again until he finally understands what he’s done wrong. Since he’s a major disloyal, sneaky, conniving, obsessive asshole, he gets to stay in Hell forever until Pinhead grows bored of him and tears his soul apart. Knowing Pinhead, that won’t be for a very, very long time. After all, Hell isn’t some inferno. It’s just a repetition of his life, or rather, playing back the things he did wrong. He even shot himself in the head to escape it, but only to begin all over again.
So, overall, as the fifth Hellraiser movie… I give Inferno one “not bad.” My only issue is that it doesn’t pay so much attention to the Cenobites and demonic imagery as it does the life of Joseph Thorne and his gradually increasing insanity. It’s not one of the better Hellraisers, to say the least, but it’s good enough to be worth watching.