"Hellraiser: Deader" and "Hellraiser: Hellworld"
DVD Reviews
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    John Light as JOHN RIEGERT
    Sean Pertwee as DANI SIMIONESCU
    Kari Wuhrer as ALLISON
    Jason London as SIMON
    Doug Bradley as LAUREL

    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)

    Kari Wuhrer as ALLISON
    Jason Scott Lee as DYLAN
    John Light as JOHN RIEGERT
    Jason London as SIMON
    Tony Todd as STARK

    Rated R
    Studio: Dimension
    Directed by: Joel Soisson

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After the Christopher Walken trilogy of “Prophecy” films concluded, this franchise needed a new direction. Cue writer/director Joel Soisson. After pitching aside the plight of the angel Gabriel, he has focused on the best known angel around - Lucifer himself. Where the first three “Prophecy” films showed us that Gabriel wasn’t exactly a sweet, loveable cherub, these new films suggest that Lucifer may not be that bad... as long as you both want the same thing.

The films focus on the quest for a book that will tell the coming of the Antichrist. A young, troubled woman named Allison (Kari Wuhrer) becomes the unwitting protector of this work, which is being sought by the angels and protected by Lucifer. “Uprising” sets the stage, telling us about the book and giving us a look at Lucifer’s early plan. “Forsaken” moves ahead into more of an action flick as Allison finds herself on the run with the help of the mortal assassin Dylan (Jason Scott Lee).

There was some obvious cross-pollination between these new “Prophecy” movies and the recent “Hellraiser: Deader.” Not only do both feature actress Kari Wuhrer (in most likely a group-buy of low-budget talent), but also with some supporting cast members, special effects master Gary Tunnicliffe and the obvious backdrop of Romania.

In many ways, Dimension Films is on their way to take the place of Full Moon Pictures as the premiere direct-to-video makers of Romanian horror films. Charles Band and company dominated the low-budget horror movie market ten or fifteen years ago. Now, Dimension is filming several movies in the cost-cutting Eastern bloc and taking advantage of some incredible scenery and locations.

Soisson admits up-front that he envisioned these two films to really be one long film. In fact, it could have easily been this, considering both features have a running time of less than three hours. “Forsaken” is actually extremely short, running only 75 minutes.

Between the two, I preferred “Forsaken” because Allison has developed into a better character and the was less set-up of the angels and their hierarchy. Also, with the addition of Dylan as a mortal assassin and Tony Todd as a vengeful angel helped round out the cast nicely. God bless Sean Pertwee, but his character was a bit weak in “Uprising.” The only thing I missed in the second film was Doug Bradley in one of his more notable non-Pinhead roles.

The DVDs come with a nice assortment of special features. “Uprising” has a commentary track, original audition takes, a making-of featurette, an extended ending and deleted scenes. “Forsaken” simply has a commentary track.

Like the new “Hellraiser” films, these sequels are far from perfect and don’t really live up to the original film. However, these new “Prophecy” movies take a good shot at a somewhat cerebral supernatural thriller. I liked them more than the big-budget “Constantine,” possibly because with their limited budget they couldn’t hide their problems with digital effects.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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