This is a movie that I have seen the promotional image a hundred times for but I never knew what it was about. From the image I really thought that it was another generic zombie movie, but let me tell you something, this movie is anything but generic. It definitely brings along a new twist on the apocalypse type movie and brings in solid characters as well. I also failed to realize that the movie was from Germany when I initially purchased it, and all of the dialogue was in German. A slight oversight on my part, but even with subtitles this movie was awesome.
Hell tells the story of a group of survivors trying to make it in a world where solar flares have destroyed the Earth’s atmosphere and the Earth is slowly cooking as a result. Most plant life has died out and a good portion of the animal population has died off as well. We follow a pair of sisters, Marie and Leonie, and Marie’s boyfriend, Phillip, as they attempt to find shelter, water, and food. The world around them is a living hell; you cannot stand in the sun for more than a few minutes at a time because it will literally cook you. When looking for gas, they stumble upon a mechanic, Tom, and take him into their group, but are not sure if he can really be trusted. From that point forward it is a fight for survival against the environment they now live in and the other survivors of the world.
This is not a movie that tries to make light of the situation that its characters are in. You truly get a sense of how horrible this world is from the start and it rarely lets up throughout the course of the movie. Every time a character has to go into the sunlight they have to cover their head and face along with any other exposed skin because even limited exposure to the sun at this time is life threatening. No one in the world can truly be trusted as seen at many points in the movie, and the world these characters live in is just plain horrifying. The only thing I predicted in the movie was the presence of cannibals, which seems to be the go to solution that most filmmakers turn to while making apocalyptic movies. Other than that the movie is fantastic.
I really do love these independent “horror” movies made on a very small budget. They are forced to have quality stories and strong characters because they don’t have expensive special effects to fall back on. It is also ironic that this movie was produced by Roland Emmerich, who is one of the main abusers of special effects in Hollywood (2012, Independence Day, 10,000 BC). Hell really has to survive on the interactions of the characters in the movie. The relationship between the sisters is central to the movie and is really the driving force of it. Marie is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure her and her sister survive, similar to the sisters in Zombieland. Tom is also a very interesting character because you think he is going to be the one to betray the group, but (SPOILER ALERT) he ends up being the one who is willing to put his life on the line to save the others. The movie had a lot of strong moments for each character and that is really what elevated it above the generic crap that is flooding the horror market right now.
While this is a movie that does many things different from your normal run of the mill post-apocalyptic movie, it does fall back on some of the default situations seen in many of the movies in the genre. I called the presence of cannibals about 5 1/2 minutes into the movie and it was only a matter of time until they were introduced. It seems weird to me that most writers feel like human society would so easily turn to cannibalism. I’m pretty sure that human would be last on my list of things to eat in any situation.
Do not be fooled by the overly generic promotional images. This is one of the better independent horror movies that you will see this year. I really liked this movie and would recommend it to anyone who is a horror fan. Give it a try and I bet it will exceed your expectations. Also keep in mind that it is in German, so you may want to take that into account before you watch.
Take a Drink: every time you hear, “It’s a trap”.
Take a Drink: every time you think that Phillip is a little bitch.
Do a Shot: upon the realization that someone is a cannibal.