Film Corner: Hellraiser 6

Hellraiser 6: Hellseeker

Kissmate continues his Hellraiser watch-a-thon:

I feel like we've been getting spoiled rotten with 5 decent-to-great movies in a row. That's unheard of in a series! I'm trying to keep my hopes up, but also recognizing that it can go south with any film now. With my expectations set, let's see what Hellraiser 6: Hellseeker will give us! (*After a Long Watch*) So this is another one of those movies that is hard to talk about because of an ending twist. So here's my warning, again: If you have wanted to watch this movie before, stop reading. Go watch it. Come back and continue reading. If at any point in this write-up you are interested in watching this film, stop reading. Go watch and come back.

That said, I'm not rating it as high as Inferno. Just because a movie gets cerebral / twisty doesn't mean it's worth any weight in gold. To me, Hellseeker is a solid 6/10. There's nothing terrible about it, but my patience was wearing thin pretty fast. I'll get into why that is further on. That said, I'll waste no more time getting into the meat of it! SPOILERS GALORE!

Our story begins with our protagonist tickling his wife breathless while he's driving. Because safe driving is optional! We follow Trevor and Kirsty as they drive along the country roads. Is it the same Kirsty from the first two movies? It turns out yes! But we're not focusing on her just yet. We're following the far more interesting white man, Trevor! He loses control of the car and lands into a river. We see that he's able to save himself, but he's unable to rescue Kirsty.

Trevor wakes up in a hospital bed, and gets a shot to help him relax from a nurse named Allison. He dreams about a doctor giving him brain surgery to help with his patchy memory, then wakes up to see Allison again. She mentions wanting to do some tests to see why his head is hurting so bad, but the doctor releases him saying that he's fine and shouldn't take too many pain pills. "Don't want to become an addict and start trying to get hook-ups from the hospital!" (Ana and I proceeded to flip him off hard enough to hurt everyone involved.)

Just as Trevor is walking out, a detective stops him to talk. Turns out the car crash happened over a month ago and Kirsty has been missing ever since--they couldn't find a body in the river. Detective Lange notices a few problems with what Trevor has been saying and what reality is showing. Trevor doesn't know what to tell the detective, because what his memory tells him is all that he knows. Lange is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there's a tension there that maybe he still doesn't believe Trevor.

This is where we have to talk about this movie's overall theme: Duality. Everything in this movie shows two sides, though not always at the same time. One small example is a man covered in tattoos and piercings. We first see him on the bus listening to loud metal music. Trevor asks him to turn it down, but the man instead turns it up louder in defiance. Later on, we see the same man walking around the police station dressed as an officer. What does this mean? Perhaps the dichotomy of rebellion vs law? Another simple example is a dog chained up next to Trevor's apartment building. The first time we see the dog, he's straining at the end of his chain barking at Trevor. The next, he's passive and whining in fear. A total difference from before! I'll try to point out what I can find, or think I find, as we come across them.

After resting at home that night, Trevor heads in to work. Almost everyone avoids him, save for a very chummy coworker named Bret. Bret is the kind of man that high-fives you like a college frat boy after you got laid last night, even though you're both reaching forty and work in accounting. In fact, he almost does that to Trevor before slinking off. "We're all here for you, Trev!" What a way to express remorse for a missing presumably-dead spouse.

As Trevor works through his ever-present headache / amnesia, he sees a curious business card on his bulletin board. "ALL PROBLEMS SOLVED" it promises. He has a vague recollection of going to a warehouse sweatshop that he went to some time in his recent past where he found a creepy shop keeper. But before he can recall much, Bret annoys him with random trivia about headaches. Frustrated, Trevor goes to get a snack and clear his head.

In the break room, Trevor begins a fight with the vending machine over a bag of pretzels. His hot female boss walks in and pushes him against the vending machine in a sexually-aggressive way that seems inappropriate for the workplace! As she makes out with him, he starts to recall that he has had sex with her before, although he doesn't remember if it was during his marriage. Or he doesn't want to. Either way, he pushes her off him and asks what's going on. "Nothing we haven't done before," Gwen says while fixing her jacket. "Now get some fucking work done. We're watching you." She motions to a camera in the break room and walks out.

Trevor goes back to his desk to see that someone sent him a loop of surveillance footage with audio that stars Gwen and himself making out loudly in the break room. After putting that away, Detective Lange calls him to talk to him further downtown. At the station, Lange says there's evidence of foul play with regards to the car crash, and asks if there was anything that happened before the crash that Trevor might have forgotten. Trevor says no, that he remembers nothing different.

That night, he fears he's being stalked by a faceless neighbor. Suddenly he coughs up water and a phallic-shaped eel, and just as suddenly it's reveled to have been a hallucination. The hot Girl-Next-Door knocks on his door and shows off her new sexy cobra tattoo. Trevor isn't sure if he knows her, but she knows him! After she leaves him, he takes out old VCR tapes he made of his and Kirsty's wedding and anniversaries to watch. He's interrupted by yet another horny advancement from his boss, Gwen. She slips into his apartment and strips down. Gwen tries to record her dominating him, but leaves when he says no. But... the camera keeps rolling and is showing them making out in the chair. As Trevor tries to make sense of it, Cenobites show up kill Video-Gwen in front him. Just as he tries to help her-

-Trevor wakes up at work under Bret's glare. "Must be nice. Getting paid for doing shit." Still, Bret hands Trevor an address for a local acupuncturist named Sage. Trevor heads there post-haste for a session and tells her about his recurring headaches since the car accident. She tries to give him some spiritual advice, and that gives us a flashback to Trevor buying the Puzzle Box. We break out of the flashback for some creepy bit with Pinhead walking out of an acupuncturist body chart and skewering Trevor. "Which do you find more exhilarating, Trevor: the pain, or the pleasure? Personally, I prefer pain."

Trevor starts awake and Sage asks if he's okay. It was all another "dream". Trevor gets called down to the police station again, but this time by Lange's partner, Detective Givens. Givens aggressively asks Trevor about a massive inheritance Kirsty had--and which Trevor stands to gain, if Kirsty turns up dead--but Trevor denies knowing about it. Givens pushes, saying that no one else is alive to take her family inheritance. He's implying Trevor had motive to kill Kirsty. These two detective partners are a hell of a duo. Givens is an aggressive white man with a short temper and a potty mouth. Lange is a gentle Black man with patience and jovial sympathy. It's the definition of "Good Cop, Bad Cop". It's strange we don't see them together even though they're partners. Maybe that'll change later in the movie.

Trevor heads back to his home and is seduced by the hot Girl-Next-Door neighbor with a tattoo. This time, he gives in and doesn't say no. There's some flashes of a Cenobite hurting him and then he's awake in his bed. The hallway and dining area is covered in blood. Girl-Next-Door is tied up in a chair, clearly dead from some kind of trauma. As Trevor washes her blood from his hands, Pinhead appears in the mirror and utters a single line: "ALL PROBLEMS SOLVED." As Trevor lifts his hands to touch the mirror, they're perfectly clean and dry. No blood is to be found anywhere now, and no body in the dining room! That was a better cleaning job than John Wick's Table-For-Twelve!

Ah, but it's easy if you make the Girl-Next-Door alive again. Which she is! And now she's acting like it's very odd for Trevor to even *talk* to her, much less spend time together in any sense. She even has a very protective boyfriend that helps Trevor get the hint that she should be left alone, and she seems to like Protective Boyfriend quite a lot! Loaded with more questions than answers, Trevor heads back to his apartment, where he just missed a call from Lange who wants to see him. So guess we're headed to the police station again!

As Trevor walks and talks in the station, a couple of odd things stick out to him. One, Lange and Givens were heard talking to each other in the same room, but only Lange was in the room when inspected. Two, Bret was at the station talking to a cop and clearly giving some information, but no one will give Trevor a clear answer of what was said. With no one else to turn to or trust, Trevor heads to the hospital to talk to Nurse Allison. I'm not sure why exactly. My best guess would be that there was a cut scene where Allison told Trevor to come by if he wanted to talk. Either way, all we really learn that he definitely has clinical amnesia (which was never SAID OUT LOUD until now).

Trevor grabs Bret at work and tries to tell ask him why he squealed and what he said at the police station, but there's Detective Lange to interrupt the scene once again! He pulls out the Puzzle Box to show Trevor and talks about some blood found on it. Trevor says it looks familiar, but he can't place it (which is a LIE). Lange says he's let him off easy so far, but his partner wants to pull him in and arrest him on murder charges. Lange walks off, but when Trevor looks to make sure Lange is gone, we see Givens storming down the hallway of cubicles.

Bret takes Trevor to the break room to talk. I think we're supposed to forget there's surveillance in there, but don't worry! There's a little camera-whir noise to remind us it's still there! Bret says he's quitting as of today because he needs more money to make ends meet. He mentions that Trevor has it lucky because his wife had the real dough. Trevor gets angry, asking how he knew that and if he told the police that information. Bret denies he said anything, but he doesn't look happy. "You know," Bret sneers, "we're all here for you, Trev." It's an ironic repetition of the well-wishes that Trevor received from his co-workers earlier.

Trevor cries out from another headache while scenes of Kirsty in distress and then in anger flash across our screen. Nothing real concrete yet, but something tells me this marriage wasn't super happy. Trevor tries to hold himself up, but ends up breaking a glass cupboard pane and cuts his hand on the glass. Trevor leaves via the bus, not wasting a moment to get away. He heads to Sage to get another session in, and Sage... seduces him? Can no woman resist Trevor's blandness?! While she straddles him, Sage reaches for the ice pick and stabs him!

Trevor wakes up in an ambulance. Turns out he passed out on the bus, not at Sage's. At the hospital, he asks for Allison by name, but no one knows who he's talking about. Even her office is just an empty room. Allison comes by to talk anyway and tells him that he'll have to confront his past alone. Just as he was enjoying the talk, the nearby janitor asks who he's talking to. Turns out he was talking to the air the whole time! Trevor runs back to the bus and is hit with flashes of Kirsty yelling at him. "I know about Gwen... and the others."

He decides to make all the problems go away, to solve them, by going back to the shop where he bought the Puzzle Box. He screams out in desperation and confusion. An unexpected voice answers: "Poor Trevor. Still in the dark?" Pinhead talks to him through a puddle in the warehouse in his typical cryptic ways. He says the killer is here, but Pins won't say who it is. As Trevor leaves to make sense of it all, Bret finds him outside and puts a gun to his head: Trevor's gun. Bret vents that they had a deal to split Kirsty's money 50/50, but Trevor fucked it all up by killing Kirsty early and playing his little "amnesia" game. Now Bret is going to get back at Trevor... by shooting himself in the head with Trevor's gun. I guess to frame Trevor for Bret's "murder"? That's not the best revenge, my dude.

Trevor rightfully freaks out and runs to Sage's place, the only place he can think of. He walks up the stairs and enters her rooms, and sees her laying bloody and dead on her table, with an ice pick in her head. Just as he closes the door, someone tries to force their way in--the killer?? Trevor grabs the only weapon he can find, the ice pick, and prepares for combat. Detective Lange bursts in with a small number of police. I don't think Trevor's getting out of this one.

Detectives Lange and Givens grill him a little at the station, and it sounds like they may have found a body in the river for him to identify! Maybe his wife, maybe not. Givens forces Trevor to see a wanted poster of Trevor's face which claims he's wanted for homicide. Givens is immediately replaced with Lange, almost to the mark, but where is Givens and how did he disappear so fast? How are they entering and leaving the room so fast, and why? We're shown four pictures of four dead bodies: Gwen, Bert, Sage, and Girl-Next-Door.

Lange takes him down to the morgue, which is apparently located in the police station basement, and locks him on the other side of a set of bars which bifurcate a long hallway for no adequately obvious reason. Trevor freaks out and asks why Lange is locking him away. "I thought you believed me?!" He should be asking about this weird dream-logic architecture that we're being subjected to. "Believe?" Lange looks through the bars with an air of amusement. "I believe we're both the sum of two entirely different people!" A worm-like tendril with Givens' face slips out from Lange's neck. They laugh together at Trevor's obvious fear as he runs away. Now we know why we never see them in the same room at the same time, I guess, and how they've been able to swap places so effortlessly.

Trevor runs away and comes across a body in the corridor which I like to believe is Frank from Hellraisers 1 and 2, but we really don't know for certain. Trevor slips into the morgue and finds a covered cadaver. Perfect! It feels like all the answers are underneath that sheet! Before we can lift the veil, though, the Cenobites make one more entrance.

The building shakes. Bottles break open. Electricity flickers. Cracks in the wall break open to create a hook-like spotlight that shines on Pinhead. "It seems you've reached the end of your journey." Pinhead tells him about poetic justice and that it's time to pay the price. Trevor says he just wants to see his wife. Pinhead tells him to wait, but Trevor insists. Pinhead chains him in place in the typical Hellraiser fashion. "All problems solved? Not so simple, I'm afraid." Pinhead tells and shows him what we finally waited for.

During their 5th anniversary, Trevor gifts Kirsty the Puzzle Box that ruined her life. He seems to know what this object means to her as he has the camera ready to film her reactions. She yells at him in pain and betrayal, but he just wants her to open the Puzzle Box. (I guess he thought that nothing supernatural would happen but she'd freak out anyway because of her trauma? And then he'd use the filmed reaction as evidence that she was insane so he could lock her away and keep all her cash himself? It's not made clear in the film why he gave her the Puzzle Box.)

Heartbroken and furious, Kirsty opens the Puzzle Box just as Pinhead wanted. See, Pinhead was after Kirsty all along. She was always The One That Got Away, and Pinhead didn't like not having a perfect record. Confronted by him once again, Kirsty demands a deal. Five souls in exchange for her own: the three women Trevor cheated with, Bret, and now Trevor himself. Pinhead tells Trevor that she fulfilled her end of the deal and that now he is the one who is trapped. "Welcome to the worst nightmare of all: Reality."

So let's review the movie with new clarity: Kirsty never died. She killed Trevor via car crash and swam out of the car perfectly safe. It's Trevor who died in the river, and it's his body that is laying underneath the morgue sheet. Kirsty pinned all her murders on him and told the police that he killed himself while driving. We get a final scene that explains a lot of little things and wraps this all up in a neat little bow. Yes, even the phallic eel: it had crawled inside Dead!Trevor's mouth, and thus was felt by Spirit!Trevor while he suffers in Hell.

Kirsty turns to leave the crime scene blame-free, having gotten away with it all, but she's stopped by Detective Lange. He gives her the Puzzle Box, since it was her anniversary present and he doesn't think it counts as any kind of evidence. She thanks him and walks away, knowing that she's free but also always being watched by Hell. Never Free, Always Escaping, as it were. The End.

This was a headtrip and a half. Whatever you keep expecting, the movie pulls the rug from under you and keeps going! (That is both a praise and a critique.) It took the previous movie's idea of a Hellraiser afterlife, mixed it into the main story from the Hellraiser 1 and 2 plotlines, and got a great story thread spinning! The only thing that falls flat is the execution. The amnesia angle wasn't made obvious, nor was the month-long time jump, nor was the actor's reactions. Trevor had the same bland confused reaction to everything, which was "I'm sorry, what?" and that will just puzzle the audience more if they're already lost! This movie needed to give us a more solid anchoring point than Trevor, is what I'm saying. Otherwise, like I said, this movie's worth a watch or two.

(Ana's Note: Trevor is played by Dean Winters, who I know is a better actor than this. I'm not sure what happened here, because it feels like he's sleep-walking his way through the film, and the film suffers for it. I would love to see a remake of this with clearer writing and more enthusiastic actors. Credit where it's due, though: Kirsty and Pinhead brought their best game, as always.)


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