If you’re going to create a doorway to Hell and use a puzzle box as a key, the puzzle should be challenging, right?
At the very least, the solution should consist of something more than lazily tracing the circle on one side with your thumb.
In summation, if a monkey is likely to solve your puzzle by accident; then it isn’t really a good puzzle, and certainly isn’t sufficient to hold back the forces of Hell.
‘Bloodline’ is the fourth film in the Hellraiser franchise, which has thus far seen nine installments. Anyone versed in horror cinema knows that, generally speaking, series get worse with each new sequel. It isn’t hard to see why; horror relies much on shock and the fear of the unknown. Once we know the villain, he ceases to be scary; he becomes little more than a super villain. A guy in a silly costume who hurts people in predictable ways.
The film opens in the the year 2127. A man, a latest descendant of the man who first built the box, is holed up alone in a space station, hoping to finally end the curse that his family has wrought on the world. The idea that every horror film needs to end with a ‘hero’ killing the ‘monster’ is thankfully one that is dying out in modern horror. True fear requires a lack of hope.
We then jump back to pre-revolutionary France to see the box’ construction firsthand. We don’t really get a sense of what’s special about it, or how an uneducated commoner managed to open the doors to hell, and in that sense, the scene is kind of disappointing.
Then we come to the modern age, and see what the box, as well as the ’90s version of the ‘toymaker’ is up to. Turns out he’s an architect who has inadvertently designed a building with the same properties as the box. How and why you ask? It’s in his blood, we’re told. Whatever that means.
Pinhead, the frequent visitor from hell, shows up in the hopes of compelling the toymaker to create a permanent highway to hell. For a demonic representative, he isn’t all that evil. He says he wants to make the toymaker suffer, and that the loss of a child is the worst suffering of all, which sound like the prelude to a nice, horrific scene. But in the end, Pinhead just kidnaps the boy and threatens him; not exactly hellish.
After that, it’s back to 2127, where the new toymaker has his final showdown with the demon. None of the three vignettes is developed enough to be considered good. There’s a brief introduction, followed by some kills, and then we move on. Origin stories can and should be more interesting and should expand on the mythology; but this one just glosses over it with vague, destiny-themed speech.
The Blu Ray, which contains four films on one disc, turned out fairly well. Scenes with sufficient lighting look HD, and the dark scenes, though not as detailed, are clean and balanced. There are, of course, no extras.