Verdict: 1 / 5
A cheap license retaining clunker that suffers from horrific acting, scripting and editing. Even the most devoted fans of the franchise and b-grade horror movies will find almost nothing of value here. Despite this being the first movie in the franchise to work off of an original horror story since Hellraiser: Bloodlines it fails to inject any excitement or new blood into the series.
Revelations was produced in a matter of weeks, with budget of $300 000, to insure Dimension Films retained the license rights to the franchise. As a result of its quick production time series stalwart Doug Bradley does not appear as Pinhead with Stephan Smith Collins stepping in with an unthreatening performance. The one vaguely passable element of the whole movie is the prosthetic make up, which gave several cast members suitably flayed appearances.
Well-off teenagers Nico and Steven have taken off to Mexico for some illicit fun. They immediately get wasted and end up doing something terrible in a wretched bar bathroom. After several days of hiding they get their hands on the lament configuration. A puzzle box that summons Pinhead and the Cenobites, beings who are dedicated to exploring the exquisite connection between pain and pleasure through sadomasochistic torture. Pinhead appears and drags Nico back to his realm while Steven runs away.
The other half the story occurs a year later as the parents, and sister, of the boys meet for dinner. Tensions are raised when it is revealed that Nico’s parents hired a private investigator. The Investigator found no trace of the boys but did manage to recover some of their things. These include a camcorder, anything for an excuse to use some budget footage and the lament configuration. As the parents argue Nico’s sister, Emma, manages to unlock the lament configuration causing lights to flicker and Steven to suddenly appear.
You would hope that this would be the start of some brutal hunt or horror but the movie strips away any possible scares by revealing villains at the earliest possible moment. The cenobites lack any menace thanks to sloppy editing and poorly planned shots. The story unfolds predictably with murdered hookers, hooks driven through skin and rotten family secrets. You can only be grateful by the time the end credits start rolling. Every element of this movie reeks of its short production time and low budget. This would be a franchise killer if anybody had bothered to see it.