Maybe it’s just because I’m hung over or maybe I have finally lost it, but I rather enjoyed the first hour of Hellraiser VII: The Continued Beating of a Dead Horse. After the first hour, however, the film degenerates into a bit of mess and loses the considerable momentum it had built up.
The screenplay is another in the long list of Hellraiser films that started out as an original concept outside of the Hellraiser universe. In fact, in this case Dimension Films bought the original script (which was undoubtedly excellent) for over a million buckaroos. Instead of doing something productive with the original script, Dimension hired a hack to mesh in the Hellraiser themes. Then they shot the movie in Romania on the cheap and once again ruined what could have been a fine film.
Amy (Karie Wuhrer) is no hard-nosed reporter chick with a problem with authority. She writes insightful pieces about what it is like to be a crack-head and other dirty things. So, when a scoop about a group of people (Deaders) that can raise the dead crosses her desk, she immediately jumps on a plane to Romania to explore the story further.
The movie contains a few excellent scenes that are on par with any horror flick I have seen. First, Amy discovers a dead body in the bathroom (quite early on). This doesn’t sound like much, but the suspense and dread are built up so well that it drags you in and terrifies all at the same time. You know something bad is going to happen, but the question is when. Second, Amy ends up with a rather large knife lodged in her back. She, of course, does not want a rather large in her back, but it is just out of her grasp. What does she do? Excellent filmmaking.
The film does have plenty of flaws. Like Hellraiser VI: Hellseeker there is an extensive use of “it was all just a dream” scenes, which only server the purpose of pissing me off. No less than 4 times does Amy have a dream and then “wake up” in another location entirely. Blarf!
The end of the film is also a huge letdown and the obvious smattering in of Pinhead keeps the film from being truly memorable.
Not a bad watch and it will keep you entertained until you find something better to do with your time. Like wash your clothes.
Snore Factor: ZZZ