Every Main Character In Hulu's Hellraiser Ranked Worst To Best

Warning: The article below contains major spoilers for 2022's "Hellraiser."

David Bruckner's "Hellraiser" reboot boasts exquisite design work and chilling Cenobites, giving diehard fans of the franchise a unique take on who or what unlocks the Lament Configuration box. Unlike the original film, which saw a thirsty — and showstopping — Julia (Claire Higgins) feeding men to resurrect her sleazy ex-lover Frank (Sean Chapman), the reboot focuses on what drives humanity's hunger for pleasure and pain. 

Bruckner interweaves themes like substance abuse and recovery into the story, positioning Riley (Odessa A'zion) as someone who has lost control over her vices. Her brother, Matt (Brandon Flynn), has become exhausted with Riley's sobriety journey. In this light, the film's indirect and direct violence becomes a metaphor for how living with addictions can spiral into harming others, intentionally or not.

While the film doesn't deliver the strongest of characters, there's still power in Bruckner's exploration of Riley's disorder and how it hails a reign of terror. At times, Riley's characterization seems a bit too tied into recovery, missing the chance to show her as a three-dimensional character with struggles, successes, and personality. Here, I'll dive into the best and worst characters in 2022's "Hellraiser."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

13. Voight

Voight (Goran Visnjic) plays the role of a character we love to hate. He's wealthy, entitled, and feeds people into a demonic box to achieve what he wants in life. To the film's credit, the casting choice for this role is perfection. But all and all, his character feels tame. Although we meet him during a party night of debaucherous sex at his fancy mansion, we don't see the man loosen his tie. For a character who is supposedly obsessed with the Lament Configuration — the darkest of black market objects out there — he feels more like a boardroom member of "Succession" than a despicable pleasure-seeking man.

"Practical Magic" fans have seen how delightfully unhinged Visnjic can be on screen. Yes, he returns later in the film to surprise Riley, but he never feels as dirty or evil as he could be. In some ways, he feels like the wish-fulfillment version of who Frank wanted to be in the original "Hellraiser." Still, a man with this much power and seemingly no one catching onto his homicidal tactics is capable of much more carnage and subterfuge than we see unfold in David Bruckner's film. Pinhead (Jamie Clayton) does deliver a delicious punishment for him in the end, though, by turning him into a Cenobite so his immortality will revolve around the "gift" of suffering.

12. Nora

Aoife Hinds' Nora doesn't have a ton of screen time. Despite a compelling presence on-screen, she's more or less gore fodder for the film. Nora is the roommate and friend of Matt, but the script fails to give her a personality or connection to the other characters on-screen. Otherwise, she doesn't serve a purpose to the film. There's not even a clear sense of how she feels about Riley and the chaos she introduced into all their lives. She doesn't argue with anyone or state a conflicting or consenting opinion before she dies. Yes, she's not a main character, but why not give her a bit of a life before she gets stabbed?

It feels strange that the film doesn't deepen what connection we see between Nora and Colin (Adam Faison), as that would have been an easy way to develop her role with a handful of one-liners that tell us more about her character. When Matt asks them if they turned the volume down on the television to hear him and Riley fighting, Nora lies and says no. That kind of rebellious and curious streak would have been wonderful to flesh out a bit more before the Cenobites tear her soul apart in the film's final act.

11. The Masque

Although most Cenobites in 2022's "Hellraiser" look stunning, The Masque left something to be desired. Unlike his fellow deliverers of pain and pleasure, its design is too robotic-like. Visually, it appears like we're seeing a man walking around in a suit. 

To this film's credit, most of its practical designs are creepily accurate and haunting because we forget that someone is behind that blood-drenched look. What works best about a Cenobite design is when something still resembles a human form but is twisted into an altogether uncanny and impossible shape. Seeing the sinew of flesh hanging off sharp angles of their body or objects permeating the spaces where skin should be are signature choices for Cenobites for a great reason: We can imagine how our body would feel in that condition; that's what makes them terrifying.

From a design perspective, it's also unclear what The Masque's look is due to how it appears on-screen. We meet The Masque in a poorly lit shot as if the designers didn't want too much light shone on it. If you squint, you can see a skinned face atop a body with the rest of his head completely gone. While that's an intriguing idea, its white coloring unfortunately makes the creature look more like a mold of what a delicious demon could become rather than inspiring fear.

10. Matt

Oh, Matt. Honestly, I didn't care when he got sucked up by a bloody sink to be skinned later in the film's runtime because of how he treated Riley. To be fair to his character, we only see him at the end of his patience with Riley. He's exhausted and feels betrayed when Riley comes home drunk. Matt kicks her out of the house, and things escalate quickly. Hearing him tell Riley to "get the f*** out" of his house hurt a whole bunch. While we don't see it on screen, the viewer can imagine that this might not be the first time she's relapsed. If this is true, his choice to kick Riley out feels more confounding. He would know better than anyone how vulnerable someone is at this early stage of recovery and would need more support, not anger.

Based on what we see in the film, Riley is only six months into her recovery. But we don't see Matt feeling any sense of pride about that or hope. Yes, it feels realistic. People lose their temper with someone's recovery process after watching them hurt themselves (and you) countless times. Still, the film leans more into this area than giving us a glimpse of the love and care he feels toward his sister. Peppering in more of this feeling would go a long way to make the viewer care about Matt and understand him better.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

9. The Asphyx

Zachary Hing's The Asphyx carries the film's surprise reveal that Trevor (Drew Starkey) has been working with Voight this entire time. While the Cenobite is struck between the Voight's mansion's "Thirteen Ghosts"-like prison bars, Roland stabs Colin. The thrashing and crying Cenobite serves as a wonderful distraction so that the plot turn surprises us when we mostly expect The Asphyx to bring carnage.

From a design perspective, it also looks fantastic. Covering the being's head with pulled-back skin is an interesting choice, and it works well. But what's the most creepy effect of its design is the creature's breathing. Since skin covers its mouth, the being struggles to breathe. What escapes from it is a breathy, death-rattle-like sound, full of desperation and pain. Although the visual design feels fairly tame compared to the more intricate Cenobites in this film, its presence demands the audience's attention. However, the creature's sudden shift to zombie running a la "The Walking Dead" doesn't quite hold up on a rewatch, as it makes it hard not to wonder why the Cenobite didn't attack as ferociously sooner.

8. The Chatterer

The Chatterer has starred, in some form or another, in nine previous "Hellraiser" films. Sometimes, it's more beast-like than human, with barely visible eyes or no eyes at all. Overall, its design and portrayal in 2022's "Hellraiser" is fantastic. Portrayed by Jason Liles, the carnivorous Cenobite brings a commanding presence to the screen. Liles stands at 6' 9", making his towering and flesh-torn character loom over the rest of the cast. The motor that operates his chompers raises the audience's hackles whenever they hear the sound of its gnashing teeth.

But what works best about this version of the Cenobite is how its story plays out. To save Trevor, Riley uses the Lament Configuration to puncture The Chatterer, dooming its soul to be claimed by Pinhead. The Chatterer realizes this but walks backward and raises his arms up willingly as if it's taken delight in knowing that its suffering will be immense, quick, and let the creature rest. A huge part of the franchise is the idea that some people seek pain as a form of pleasure and this is one of the few times in the 2022 film where it's believably represented on screen.

7. Trevor

I love a good heel turn! Trevor's reveal to be working with Voight works, for the most part. Throughout "Hellraiser," Trevor seemed game to follow Riley's journey with the Lament Configuration. At first, it feels sweet that her new boyfriend believes her without question. As a character, he's compelling because he seems like someone who will make poor choices and bring more chaos to the film — a must-have for horror! Want to rob a secret storage unit? Sure! But as the film's stakes rise, it becomes more and more confusing that Trevor wants to hang around this murderous box with someone he barely knows.

Thankfully, we learn in the film's final act that his support of Riley was a ruse. Once we see that, it's reasonable to get why he agreed to help Riley so quickly and why he's terrified to touch or be near the box. However, the film suggests that Trevor still loves Riley, even if Voight paid him to kill her and her friends. Arguably, Trevor's devotion to Riley feels rushed, and her interest in him is fickle. But there are clues that suggest his feelings are real. Multiple times in the film, Trevor asks Riley to leave the box alone, suggesting he feels guilty about his job. While he still deserves to be fed to the box, it's more satisfying that Riley gets to deliver his punishment, despite how she feels about him.

6. Menaker

Hiam Abbass' ("Succession") Serena Menaker plays a pivotal role in the "Hellraiser" reboot. For years, she operated as Roland Voight's assistant, gathering individuals for him to feed to the Lament Configuration. Through her, Riley learns what this hellish box brings and devours. Although it's clear that her role serves mostly as exposition for Riley (and the audience) to get up to speed, Abbass makes these admissions a joy to watch. When we meet her, she's cynical, jaded, and worn out by working for Voight. Eventually, her evil efforts come full circle, leading Riley to sacrifice Menaker.

However, I think killing her midway through the film limited what the story could have done with her. There's enough hinted-at backstory between Menaker and Voight, but it would have been interesting to have more information about how depraved she was. The film wants us to root for her death — as we know she's unequivocally "bad" — but I was surprised the script didn't explicitly show more of her misdeeds so that her death carried even greater catharsis for the viewer. 

Overall her role works, but it's a shame Abbass' talent at playing cut-throat individuals wasn't utilized more on screen. For a film that pointedly shows the evilness of bored billionaires, it could have indulged in giving us more reason to root for Menaker and Voight's pain.

5. Riley

Riley sucks. For most of the film, she's crying or screaming. Yes, that's par for the course in a horror film. However, the issue here is that the script doesn't give Riley enough range to do anything else, so she comes off as a whining character. It feels like she's always at an 11, breaking down and feeling out of her mind. From a storytelling perspective, that's a rough choice to make because it's hard to sustain that aspect of a character without dispelling tension. Some films like "The Sadness" can pull that off because the external situation surrounding the characters becomes overwhelmingly wild. "Hellraiser" over relies on Odessa A'zion's incredible crying talents, sacrificing things like key dialogue or suggestive backstories.

There are few quiet moments with Riley and almost no conversations with characters that aren't focused on her addiction or the Lament Configuration. Yes, she's a substance abuser put into an incredibly stressful and gore-filled situation. Still, she has her wits about her and it would have been a delight to see her character display a varying of coping behaviors. Maybe she's sarcastic and relies on humor to dispel tension. Perhaps she's quick to punch walls because her temper acts up? We don't even know where she works or if she likes her job. Although it can be cliche, hearing Riley speak in a meeting like a scene from "28 Days" would have done wonders for giving dimension to this stage of her life.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

4. The Weeper

Fans of the "Hellraiser" franchise have very specific feelings about Cenobite designs. Hands down, The Weeper (Yinka Olorunnife) is the second-best Cenobite in 2022's "Hellraiser," and a welcomed addition to its BDSM universe. Thanks to the creature's lipless mouth and coal-black eyes, The Weeper gives off a vampiric-like look that's pure nightmare fuel. Bits of glass are stuck in its eye ducts, and when its fellow Cenobite removes a piece of shrapnel from his eye ducts, black goo drains from the eyes, rivaling the creepiest zombie designs, too! 

2022's "Hellraiser" minimally relied on digital special effects to achieve the Cenobite's design. To its credit, The Weeper moves and feels like a demonic creature being painfully ripped apart for pleasure. His original design puts The Chatterer and The Asphyx to shame.

"It was always known that her arms would literally split apart, too," makeup effects designer Josh Russell shared for the film's production notes. "That there would be some sort of pin mechanism holding them together, as if she could unspool them whenever she wanted and feel the terrific agony of the body unfolding."

3. The Gasp

The Gasp's (Selina Lo) design is the one David Bruckner first approved and it's clear why: This alluring Cenobite best embodies Clive Barker's "repulsive glamour" aesthetic. "Hellraiser" FX artist Sierra Russell described this Cenobite's design process stating, "She's one of the most complicated, with so many little pieces that we actually had to sew her into her suit. She's definitely the sexy Cenobite." When Lo walks on screen, there's a slow strut to her movements that make this force feel like she's walking on a runway to torture you. Due to her exposed throat, her vocals are raspy — enhancing the sensual side of her character.

Surprisingly, 2022's "Hellraiser" is fairly sexless. Yes, there's one scene of sex and a direct mention of "f***ing," but those additions pale in comparison to the 1987 original film. Based on Clive Barker's erotica horror story "The Hellbound Heart," 1987's "Hellraiser" knew that keeping pleasure in the film is essential. Julia and Frank's dangerously passionate relationship is what drives both stories to the depths of anguish the Cenobites bring.

Sadly, and like many other "Hellraiser" sequels and iterations, this film steers clear of diving too much into sexuality and pleasure. Thankfully, The Gasp delivers a haunting performance that suggests and implies some of the possible BDSM layers of the film. Also, her love of using piano wire to strip the flesh off of individuals is a unique and chilling torture method that almost rivals Pinhead's chains.

2. Colin

It's impossible to not root for Colin. Unlike most characters in 2022's "Hellraiser," Colin has his priorities straight. He loves Victorian-era literature and cuddling with his boyfriend. Throughout the film's runtime, Colin is the voice of reason: It's easy to feel like his character is a stand-in for the audience. He's skeptical about Riley's choices but never becomes pandering or rude. One of the best parts of the film is when Colin calls Riley and reminds her that everyone is working on something to help find Matt. Refreshingly, he's one of the few characters who doesn't hesitate to call out Riley when she's being selfish.

As someone who watched Matt struggle to support Riley and see how she struggled to communicate with Matt, he has a great perspective on their relationship. If Riley had only listened to Colin, she never would have lost her brother. Arguably, Colin lost the most in the film for Riley's sake. Thankfully, she realizes this and decides to save Colin from the Cenobites. I love to see queer characters survive at the end of a blood-filled horror tale!

1. Pinhead

In David Bruckner's film, Jamie Clayton ("Sense8") takes on the mantle of Pinhead, giving the lead Cenobite a hypnotic, sexy, and disturbing vibe. "Hellraiser" franchise star Doug Bradley took to Twitter to share his pleasure with Clayton's reimagining of the same character he portrayed for years, stating, "It's simple, subtle, disturbing and sexy. Everything it should be."

What's so refreshing about this character — besides Pinhead dripping in much-needed feminine erotica — is how calculated each move feels on screen. Clayton's Pinhead feels like she's everywhere at once, living in the shadows and ready to strike when the timing works best for her. Interestingly, she's a bargained, something past "Hellraiser" films largely avoided. Bradley's Pinhead is known for being immovable, hard to please, and determined to make the Cenobites win at all costs. 

Clayton's Pinhead with pearl-like pins in her head desires intrigue. She's interested in humans but in a chilling and clinical way, observing the choices beings like Riley make and loving the inevitable consequences that befall humanity, such as regret, death, and sorrow. Although Riley is the film's main character, it's truly Pinhead who steals the show, joining the ranks of horror's beloved slasher villains like Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers. None would stand a chance against her!