Picking up a mere two hours after HELLRAISER left off, the sequel finds young Laurence in a mental hospital in the aftermath of the horrific events she witnessed at the first film's climax. Her case comes to the attention of psychiatrist Cranham, whose rational exterior masks a darker
side. Soon the doctor and patient, along with Laurence's evil stepmother, Higgins--brought back from the dead by Cranham--and autistic patient Boorman, find themselves in hell for more adventures with those nasty ghouls, the Cenobites. Though publishing commitments kept Clive Barker's
participation to a minimum here (he's listed as executive producer), he did write the story and assigned the screenplay to Peter Atkins, whom Barker had known since their days together at the Dog Company theater ensemble. First-timer Tony Randel, a New World veteran who has worked at everything
from the mail room to special effects to marketing to editing, was chosen to direct. Though HELLRAISER and HELLBOUND both have some unforgettable images, the glue that binds together these moments is missing. The obsessive lust that drives Higgins to horrific extremes in HELLRAISER was almost
enough to carry that film, but HELLBOUND has no such straw to cling to, and the film collapses into a bloody mess of bravura set pieces that never add up to a satisfying whole. Barker, Atkins, and director Randel may succeed when it comes to the gut-churning elements, but they fail to present
Barker's peculiar psychosexual obsessions in an even remotely coherent or affecting manner, nightmare logic notwithstanding. The $4 million film is also haphazard on the purely technical level. Though Robin Vidgeon's cinematography is slick and effective, the set design and optical work in the
hellbound sequences leave much to be desired. The endless series of hallways and tunnels that make up hell have a cut-rate haunted house look to them, and in several spots supposed stone walls bend inward when actors lean against them. The glass painting and matte work look rather cheap as well,
and one must assume most of the effects budget went to the duly impressive Cenobite makeup and costumes. Gorehounds desperate for a movie they can feel good about will no doubt heap all kinds of undue praise on HELLBOUND, extolling it as an example of intelligently presented graphic bloodletting.
In fact, Barker has yet to make a movie on par with the work of George Romero or David Cronenberg, though some have praised him as their equal.
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- Released: 1988
- Rating: R
- Review: Picking up a mere two hours after HELLRAISER left off, the sequel finds young Laurence in a mental hospital in the aftermath of the horrific events she witnessed at the first film's climax. Her case comes to the attention of psychiatrist Cranham, whose rat… (more)