Hellraiser II is a maggotty carnival of mayhem, mutation and dismemberment, awash in blood and recommended only for those who thrive on such junk.
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Though the script for Hellbound is related to the Barker story, the film drops its plot whenever a fake-looking monster walks on the screen. Ogling strange creatures is the film's true reason for being.
Hellbound offers a consistent, low-level queasiness, an effect more of revulsion than horror. It's nothing that a good shot of Pepto-Bismol wouldn't take care of.
The sequel’s cure proves infinitely bloodier than the original’s disease, and its over-the-top depictions of brimstone and flesh are so loopy and unmoored, you’d swear the place where nobody dared to go suddenly became Xanadu.
Offering memorable imagery and little more, it eventually devolves into distasteful gore for its own sake. It's far less compelling than its no less bloody but far more intelligent inspiration.
The effects are generally good, and those Cenobites are definitely not the kind of folks you'd have over on New Year's Eve. Still, it's odd that the most intriguing, and threatening, items in the film are those darn puzzle boxes.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II is like some kind of avant-garde film strip in which there is no beginning, no middle, no end, but simply a series of gruesome images that can be watched in any order.