**/**** Image B Sound B Extras A
starring Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman
screenplay by Peter Atkins
directed by Tony Randel
by Walter Chaw Taking up right where the first film leaves off (and a familiarity with Clive Barker's Hellraiser is probably necessary for its enjoyment), Hellbound: Hellraiser II, which still lists Barker as an executive producer, boasts of a new director (Tony Randel) and a new screenwriter (Peter Atkins, working from an idea by Barker). Although it's pretty good as far as sequels go, owing a great deal of its creepiness to Christopher Young's superlative score (appropriated by Danny Elfman in Batman), Hellraiser II only occasionally captures the dank decomposition of Barker's literary and cinematic sensibility. That it's a disappointment is not a surprise; that it is not as much of a disappointment as one would have every right to expect is an even bigger surprise. While Hellraiser II is not the atmospheric brood-fest that the original is, it is still a horror film admirably reliant on a slate of unusual (and different) ideas.