For starters, the film contains an actual linear story that is relatively engaging throughout, something the 4th film is still looking for. Though, for true fans of the series this movie is somewhat of a disappointment. Why? Well, the story was clearly written as a unique horror film about a cop caught in his own web of deceit. Some genius at the studio decided that it would sell if Hellraiser themes were mashed into the plot. Like it or loathe it, the rest of the series from this point on, for the most part, followed this same methodology.
A bad cop obsessed with sex, drugs, and puzzles stumbles upon the enigmatic gold box whilst investigating a bloody murder. The cop slowly unravels the mystery through a series of scary dreamlike sequences. All signs are pointing him to a person known only as The Engineer. Everyone warns him to say away because, “If you hunt The Engineer, he will hunt you.” How clever! Pinhead is dropped in a few random scenes, but for the most part the audience is treated to a pretty decent, very non-Hellraiser thriller. Think of it as a long version of a Twilight Zone episode.
However, the film has aged poorly. The production values reminded me of those late night erotica shows that used to air on Skinamax in the late 90’s. Good for soft-core, not so much for feature horror. On that topic, there is is 5 minute sex scene with a hooker, yet not boobies. Seems ridiculous. It’s also rather ironic that the film is called Inferno yet takes place in snowy Denver, Colorado and involves very little fire of any sort.
The acting is pretty bad too, but expecting much more than a passable job at this point in a series would be ludicrous. The cop is just that, passable. The ice cream man and the tattoo guy were atrocious and are good for a laugh or two. I suggest doing shots each time they come on the screen.
If you can look past the fact that film has next to nothing in common with the Hellraiser franchise then you will probably enjoy it. If not, this movie could easily be described as a terrible excuse for a film that was clearly designed to milk the proverbial cash tit of the franchise.
Snore Factor: ZZZZ