Available on DVD Tuesday, September 14
Layton Matthews as Morbius
Chad Grimes as Travis
Santiago Craig as Hagen
Directed by Pearry Reginald Teo
If Hellraiser was made during the torture porn era, it would be Necromentia.
Told in a reverse time, a la Memento, at first we have literally no idea what’s happening as we begin with some hard-on-his-luck dude in some home lab cleaning and then banging a corpse. Right away, you know this is going to be a twisted film.
Told over the course of three chapters, we are introduced to three men all with their own reasons for being obsessed with the dead and what lies after. Hagen (Santiago Craig) lost the women he loves and has been looking for a way to bring her back in whatever form he can get her. In the meantime, he’s happy just having her corpse in his home in order to well, I’ve already mentioned what he does. While we don’t see this relationship between the two until the end (and even then it doesn’t give us much reason for why they are so in love), when Travis (Chad Grimes) enters his life, he offers a way to get her back but that means dealing with whatever lies in what Travis calls other dimensions where our souls go once we die.
Travis doesn’t really give Hagen much of a choice but Hagen agrees anyway if there is a slight chance of getting his lover back. But in order to open a portal to these dimensions, certain evil symbols must be carved into flesh. Hagen doesn’t volunteer for this either.
The portal opens and chaos erupts as the second chapter focusing on Travis begins and we see just how these three men are interconnected. Travis works as a torture specialist that gets paid to torture willing people (even to the point of cutting off fingers and carving flesh). During the chapter with Travis, we also see that not only carving dark symbols into flesh is a way of opening a portal to these hells but they can travel to our realm through various means, especially if it is to get a willing convert to kill themselves.
The third chapter focuses on Morbius (Layton Matthews), who up until the end we had only seen as a demon from these dimensional Hells. Much like the origin of Pinhead, we see the beginnings of the creature we would see in the first two-thirds of the film and how he came to be.
Because of the reverse time manner of the film, the ending leaves more on a whimper than a big bang especially given the carnage that comes before it. Still it wraps the story up nicely as we get the full picture of what’s happening and why each of the men we are introduced to have done what they have done.
While Hell itself is a bit underwhelming â it is a single underground hallway with flickering lights â there are some pretty interesting ideas in Necromentia. The idea that you don’t need a box to open a portal to Hell but instead it is an offering of flesh, that you can extract revenge from the afterlife if you make the right deal with the right devil and that some people actually enjoy and pay to be tortured (which may not be far off from some realities).
Gore hounds and fans of the Hellraiser films will get a nice kick out of Necromentia, especially with some blatant nods to the Cenobites, as there are plenty of organs being spilled, blades sliding into flesh, fingers getting chopped off and loads of people traveling to a demented afterlife filled with nothing but pain. Just don’t expect the acting or story to be stellar and you’ll enjoy it.