I love the Hellraiser movies.
After sitting through Hellraiser III, which was certainly a big step down from both previous films, and learning the next movie was directed by Alan Smithee... I was expecting something exceptionally bad. Hilariously bad, even. Like Leprechaun IV: In Space type nonsense.
Weirdly, Hellraiser IV: Bloodline got my attention very quickly and held it all the way until the end. It actually starts in space which... I did not really expect. But then we're told what happened ages ago with the inventor of the infamous box and how the bloodline led to Pinhead actually trying to take over the world! It's crazy stuff but it's fun. The acting throughout is pretty bad but not distractingly so, Hellraiser movies were never known for their Oscar-nominated performances anyway. It's an ambitious sequel to say the least but it handles its goofy ideas surprisingly well, althewhile peppering the whole thing with the occasional bloody lols.
And Hellraiser, as we all know, is ALL about the bloody lols.
Bloodline is basically a prequel/sequel in which we follow the creation of that iconic puzzle box and how the creator's descendants deal with it over the years. Along the way, of course, lots of crazy shit happens. You've got an exploding robot, twin security guards merging into one another, a Hellraiser dog... it's as insane as you'd expect. Whereas the third film had very little to offer until right at the end and even that was mostly cartoonishly silly, this sequel manages to bring back that weird quality the first two films had. A good Hellraiser flick needs to at least be original and keep you curious from start to finish and this most certain does that, though it fails to live up to the original and its first sequel quality-wise. Yes it's directed by Alan Smithee, yes it's absolutely ridiculous, yes the acting is below par but if you're up for some trashy sci-fi fantasy fun and you're a fan of the Hellraiser movies in general and that whole mythology, this is a surprisingly enjoyable watch.
It won't grab the uninitiated but I liked it.
Good job, Smithee.