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12 Dark Movies Like Hulu's Hellraiser That Fans Should Check Out

Hulu's "Hellraiser" reboot is hardly a remake, employing significant changes from the original 1987 Clive Barker film in telling an entirely different story. From changes to the iconic Pinhead to differences in the way the puzzle box at the center of the films works, this new film is insistent on not being a mere retread of the original "Hellraiser," striving for new scares at every turn. It does, however, retain the unnerving, inescapable sense of dread that made the original (and, to diminishing effect, some of the sequels) so effective.

Sometimes, a horror movie is like jazz music — it isn't so much about what notes are being played, but the spell it casts over you. Of course, that spell is very different, because with horror the desired effect is a sense of discomfort, like the worst horror imaginable is hanging over you like the sword of Damocles. 

Below is a list of other films that mine that dark, dreadful feeling for gloriously horrific results — many telling stories about people who messed with something they shouldn't have, a key point in any "Hellraiser" story. Whether you're looking for a mediation on violent sensory exploration or ones that glimpse into a supernatural, terrifying realms, here are a dozen more "Hellraiser"-like films to make you curl up on your couch in the fetal position.

Event Horizon (1997)

Perhaps best summarized as "Hellraiser in space," this Paul W.S. Anderson film bombed at the box office, but has steadily grown its late-to-the-party fanbase watching at home in ensuing decades.  

Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Jason Isaacs and more bring the intensity, telling the dark tale of astronauts and scientists sent on a mission to investigate a ship that disappeared in space and has now reappeared. It turns into a haunted house movie in space, as the crew uncovers details about the horrifyingly supernatural phenomena happening aboard.

"Event Horizon" draws significantly from the "Hellraiser" and "Alien" films to create a singular nightmare. Sure, the earlier franchise attempted something vaguely similar with the 1996 "Hellraiser"-in-space flick "Hellraiser: Bloodline," but that's about as similar as "Jason X." "Event Horizon" is pure, uncut psychological terror, a movie that makes you feel unsafe even after you've finished watching, because it offers a peek into a terrifying world, and the repellent depths of the human psyche, just beyond our own. That world also gives viewers a peek at enough imagination-stoking, stomach churning gore to please "Hellraiser" fans, too.

It Follows (2014)

Like Hulu's "Hellraiser," this David Robert Mitchell indie is focused on a group at the cusp of teenagerdom/young adulthood, finding themselves the targets of an unceasing supernatural entity. Unlike "Hellraiser," this film's relentless monster is a clever metaphor for STDs.

"It Follows" centers on Jay (Maika Monroe), who sleeps with a cute date and is subsequently informed that she has become the new target in the world's worst game of tag: her sexual partner has passed onto her an unseen, slow-moving entity that will relentlessly pursue and kill her, unless she has sex and passes it along to someone else.

Like "Hellraiser," the movie's malevolent entity comes forth into the human world, or at least into these characters' lives, because of a desire to experience sensual pleasure. But that pleasure is attended with something deadly instead of simple joy. It's also thematically similar to "Hellraiser" in its consideration of how young people in desperate situations deal with their predicaments. In both movies, the groups are crippled by bickering within their ranks, and can only overcome the threat by working together to learn more about their attackers and what they can do to combat them.

Silent Hill (2006)

Based on the video game of the same name from Konami, "Silent Hill" is another film that didn't make much of a dent upon its initial release. But with a solid turn from the underrated Radha Mitchell, creepy direction from "Brotherhood of the Wolf" filmmaker Christophe Gans and a script by "Pulp Fiction" co-writer Roger Avary, it's a discomforting, trippy mind mess worth tracking down.

The flick tells the horrifying story of Rose (Mitchell), who is frantically searching for her missing adopted daughter Jodelle Ferland) in the titular town. Ironically enough, Rose initially brought her daughter to the town because she is prone to nightmares, and Rose wants to understand why she keeps screaming out the name of the mysterious town. As Rose explores this strange, otherworldly environment, the visuals slip between our reality and a strange alternate world, filled with horrifying monsters like the horrifying "Pyramid Head."

Like "Hellraiser," "Silent Hill" invites viewers into a detailed, visually exciting (albeit often equally disgusting) world that houses imaginatively-designed monsters and horrors around every corner. "Silent Hill" is a rare video game movie adaptation that manages to bring the moody experience of the game to life, particularly when it comes to the creatures; if you love the Cenobites, you'll enjoy these monsters as well. 

Candyman (1992)

Loosely based on the short story "The Forbidden" from original "Hellraiser" writer/director Clive Barker, "Candyman" tells the story of a graduate student (a young Virginia Madsen) who begins to investigate the urban legend of a serial killer with a hooked hand; it's said that if you say his name five times while looking into a mirror, he will appear behind you to claim your life.

Of course, she gives it a try — and when nothing happens, Helen continues her research into the legend's connection within the squalor of the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago. Her theory is that the legend is a way for a primarily Black population to cope with violence in their community, and there's nothing real about Candyman beyond helping people make sense of senseless violence.

But when the real Candyman appears to her in an astounding sequence, the story shifts from social commentary to supernatural horror, as Helen struggles to make sense of not only her reality being flipped on its head, but how she can keep herself and others safe from the spirit. Barker's interest in worlds just beyond our own is clear in both "Candyman" and "Hellraiser," and the focus on race and class in "Candyman" makes this film every bit as thought-provoking as it is horrifying. Jordan Peele wrote and produced a quasi-remake in 2021, but stick with the '90s classic for your purest scares.

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

It's no surprise that many "Hellraiser"-adjacent films are from the mind of Barker, as is this underrated 2008 adaptation of his short story of the same name

Following a photographer (a young Bradley Cooper) obsessed with capturing the most raw, unflinching photos of humanity he can find, in an unnamed major city, he finds his canvas via a subway late at night, where a man is seemingly slaughtering people and butchering their bodies every night. Horrified yet intrigued, the police won't believe him, so he embarks on his own investigation into the killer — leading him down a dark, disturbing path on a train even crazier than Ozzy Osbourne could imagine.

Like "Hellraiser" and "Candyman," "Meat Train" offers a world adjacent to our own. horrifying in its realities. If you're interested in the relationship between the "Hellraiser" Cenobites and humans, "Midnight Meat Train" might provide you with some theories.

Bones (2001)

These days, Snoop Dogg isn't a terribly scary guy, but this horror flick hit theaters when he still harnessed considerable edge, telling an effectively unsettling tale of urban dread.

The flick from Ernest R. Dickerson (a longtime Spike Lee collaborator, who also directed 1992's "Juice") tells the story of a group of young people who buy a house in a dilapidated part of town that was once a thriving neighborhood. They want to turn the house into a club and bring in artists to play shows there, but first they need to fix up the place. They're warned by people in the neighborhood to leave the house alone, and even some of their parents tell them they shouldn't be there, but they persist.

Like "Hellraiser," "Bones" tells a story of young people whose hubris gets them involved with a supernatural evil. The spirit of Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg), a numbers runner who once lorded over the neighborhood, returns and bodies begin piling up.

It's a great small movie that feels epic in similar ways to Hulu's "Hellraiser," and it offers a Snoop Dogg performance that has taken years to be fully appreciated.

Barbarian (2022)

This under-the-radar twisty tale became something of a phenomenon upon its initial release, and is only made better by the opportunity for repeat viewings. Like the 2022 "Hellraiser," it harnesses a new-school knack for transcending horror expectations, but an old-school appreciation for what made those films so memorable in the first place.

"Barbarian" tells the story of Tess (Georgina Campbell), who arrives at her Airbnb only to discover that someone else is already staying there (a flummoxed Bill Skarsgård). As the two make awkward conversation, he offers her the bedroom with a lock on the door for the night. Although they have a natural chemistry, the man seems mysterious — and when she accidentally locks herself in the basement, a series of ever-escalating  mysteries and nightmare fuel reveal themselves.

"Barbarian" is one of the more unexpected, thrilling movies in recent years. It's not nearly as lore heavy as the "Hellraiser" reboot, yet both films similarly peel back an onion, giving the audience information that reveals similarly satisfying horror mystery experiences. 

Also similar is that none of the bad things that happen in "Barbarian" would have happened had Tess just left things unexplored, much like how  there wouldn't be a new "Hellraiser" story if Riley (Odessa A'zion) hadn't messed with the puzzle box. Coupled as a double feature, "Barbarian" could give "Hellraiser" fans an excellent companion piece, even if both films do have protagonists who may not always act with self-preservation in mind.

Deadstream (2022)

This Shudder original, from writing/directing duo Joseph and Vanessa Winter, tells the story of a YouTuber seeking to rebuild his following after a scandal by doing a livestream in a haunted house. While other movies have employed a similar premise, "Deadstream" offers the most interesting mythology of the lot, as well as the best horror sequences.

The movie does a great job establishing its rules early on, as we see Shawn (Joseph Winter) explain his set up, exactly how the cameras work and what they are going to do in the home. But at some point during the film, things take a turn from a spooky haunted house into something more disturbing and closer to something like the original "Evil Dead" movies and "Hellraiser."

It's a story of a man's attempts to make things right and truly face what he has done wrong. But in doing so, he only creates more danger for himself. "Deadstream" is also undoubtedly the funniest movie on this list, but that humor never takes anything away from its horror, and sometimes the fantastic practical effects beautifully mix the humor and horror.

Hostel (2005)

This Eli Roth flick may have become co-poster child of the so-called "torture porn" subgenre alongside the long-running "Saw" franchise, but it also became something of a phenomenon upon its grisly release.

Written and directed by Roth, the first "Hostel" movie tells the story of a group of friends traveling across Europe, lured to an underground lair where they play victim to wealthy hunters seeking the most dangerous prey. Unlike the "Saw" movies, which have some degree of morality in Jigsaw's judgy vendetta, "Hostel" is about the pure joy of sadists torturing people for fun — something "Hellraiser" fans are sure to enjoy if they're fond of the Cenobites' antics.

It's a disturbing movie, known as much for its consideration of people who would want to take part in something like the "Elite Hunting Club" as it is for the disturbing moments of gore. The drama of young people attempting to comprehend this underground culture they've stumbled into, all the while investigating its horrors, unveils the organization that is the cause of their suffering — in the same way that Riley's investigation of the Cenobites only puts her and friends at greater risk.

The Devil's Candy (2015)

The second feature from Australian writer/director Sean Byrne, "The Devil's Candy" is one of the scariest movies to come out this century. The movie follows artist dad Jesse (Ethan Embry) and his family as they move into a new home. The house is beautiful but seems to carry something ominous with it, and soon Jesse begins to hear voices.

But that's just the beginning of the horror. The movie also follows a man named Raymond who used to live in the house and has struggled with hearing the voices for years, and has even been driven to kill by them. As the movie goes on, Jesse is inspired by the voices, or even perhaps channels them into his artwork and creates some shockingly horrific images. As Jesse becomes more and more obsessed with his work, he struggles to care about anything else, including his family who have become Raymond's new targets.

"The Devil's Candy" feels certain to please fans of "Hellraiser" fascinated by the idea of humans just needing a little push to commit horrifying acts. The supernatural elements in both "Hellraiser" and "The Devil's Candy" are not threatening until they manipulate humans to enable them. Of course, it doesn't hurt that "The Devil's Candy" has an incredibly bloody finale.

Crimes of the Future (2022)

A comeback, of sorts, for the body horror maestro without whose influence there may never have been a landscape for films like the original "Hellraiser," David Cronenberg's "Crimes of the Future" dives deep into many of the themes that he's been interested in since the 1970s — making classics like "Scanners," "Dead Ringers," "Videodrome" and his remake of "The Fly" —  and does so in a sterile, purely intellectual way. Fans of "Hellraiser" seem to like gnawing on such bones, and "Future" will provide much food for thought. Such films also explore ways people who have richly experienced lives tend to continue seeking out new, increasingly intensified ways to find thrills, almost like a junkie chasing the next high.

In "Crimes of the Future," this comes in the form of self or partner-performed surgeries, while in "Hellraiser" characters unlock the puzzle box while seeking to understand its mysteries because they want to experience more. Both movies are about people seeking out new, and dangerous, forms of sensual pleasure in ways equally fascinating and horrifying.

"Crimes of the Future" delivers some of the most striking images of gore, treated as art in the film. But the fact that these images are not violent and are instead medicinal and artistic allows it time to linger in a way "Hellraiser" fans will appreciate. It also has some of the best performances in recent years — particularly from Kristen Stewart — in a scene-stealing supporting role.

The Ruins (2008)

"The Ruins" follows the same basic set up as the "Hellraiser" franchise —  a group of young people mess with something they should have left alone, with disastrous consequences — only this time, instead of a mystical puzzle box, it's an old Mayan pyramid. 

Following a central group of two couples with a long history together, this Shawn Ashmore/Jena Malone-starring flick could raise the stakes for those who enjoyed the emotional storyline of Riley and her brother's relationship in the most recent "Hellraiser."

But "The Ruins" is also its own movie. It's a small scale one, overwhelmingly set in a single location, allowing the tension to build to a fever pitch as things get increasingly worse for its protagonists. The reveal of what exactly is going on in that pyramid — and why a group of indigenous people have surrounded it to quarantine the characters — is shockingly original.

Ultimately, "The Ruins" uses that key reveal to deliver memorably disturbing, skin-crawling images of gore. But be warned: There are scenes in this movie that might just stick with you forever.