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Hell is a post-apocalyptic film set in the near future 2016. Solar flares have caused mass overheating of our planet laying waste to the environment. With no way to sustain plant or animal life and with natural water supplies all but gone; people will now do anything to survive.
Visually the movie sells the idea the earth is burnt out and desolate. The acting is good, albeit this american version defaults to an over-dubbed english soundtrack. I suggest watching it with subtitles.
For a film like this simplicity is important. All our characters need to do is survive. There are a few little twists and turns that keep it interesting.
Overall a fan of films like this will be more than entertained. And I'm happy to add this film to my collection.
Executive-produced by Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day" and "2012"), the low-budget post-apocalyptic thriller begins with an interesting premise, but without developing the sci-fi theme, "Hell" quickly shifts into a familiar formula about the travelers and their predicaments in the backwoods. In short, you have seen this in "The Road" or other horror films.
Tim Fehlbaum's direction is slick once action gets started, but details of this catastrophic disaster remain vague at best. The cinematography of the bleak landscape soaked in overflowing light is impressive enough to live up with the film's double-meaning title ("Hell" means in German "bright"), but the effects of the sunshine such as heat and UV exposure are not fully made use of to enhance the film's drama and suspense .
But the real problem of "Hell" is that the characters are not really interesting, including the sisters Marie and Leonie. Why are they travelling alone? Why does she have a CD of Nena's "99 Luftballons"? The film wastes every chance to flesh them out. When the two male characters are less memorable, why should we care? "Zombieland" did it much better.
This is not to say "Hell" is a terrible film, but as a survival thriller or a H.G. Wells-like modern-day fable "Hell" leaves much to be desired, lacking its own voice.
The plot involves three people, then four traveling down the road following the birds toward what may be water. At this point the production reminded me of "The Road" a rather boring scenario waiting for things to happen. They find themselves in a stew as the film becomes "Wrong Turn." They become captured by religious people who "have no livestock" but need to survive. The girls will make good wives.
The movie takes place in a gunless society. It is hard to fathom society has fallen that far in such a short period of time, but I just went with it. Fans of Nina's "99 Luft Balloons" will be happy to know her CD survives the apocalypse which BTW the title I bought this film under. The dual meaning of Hell=Bright doesn't translate and I guess "Bright" wouldn't bring out the horror.
The film doesn't make it as a slasher or horror film. It is a weak sci-fi thriller, perhaps attempting to be too realistic to be entertaining. It leaves itself open for a sequel, although outside of Leonie (Lisa Vicari) who reminded me of a young Jennifer Lawrence, I didn't relate to them.
PARENTAL GUIDE: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. Attempted sex/rape. Hannah Herzsprung briefly running around in panties. "R" rating? Seriously?
I like post-Apocalyptic scenario films, but I have mixed reactions to HELL. Solar flares have turned the Earth into a parched wasteland devoid of crops or vegetation or trees-- think the Arizona/Nevada desert. To convey this, the entire film is shot in an over-exposed, bleached out sepia tone. Initially it's compelling, but for feature film it eventually becomes annoying to the eye to watch.
This has all the usual newbie-director, unknown-cast, low-budget drawbacks. Characters are cardboard, and devoid of any individuality-- we don't care about them, or their fates, so the film becomes just another pseudo-video-game with avatar characters and no controller. They blunder into the usual, now-predictable situations on the road. The females are trapped by what a young German director must think the Amish are like. Extended sequences feel like a captive-snuff-film in the making.
Acting is nonexistent, and the script leaves no scope for any acting anyway. HELL combines the basic concept of CARRIERS--twentysomethings in a vehicle driving toward an illusory sanctuary--with the despairing bleakness of THE ROAD. But without the cast or acting chops of either.
I wouldn't spend money to own this--honestly. If you want to give it a try, see it on Amazon Streaming for free.
This is not one I'l be adding to my collection. I give it 3 stars instead of 2 stars because it does have a few moments, and because some people really, really can't get enough of 'Bleak'. But personally, I would re-watch CARRIERS again instead of HELL.
Hope this is helpful. Happy viewing, everybody.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really didn't like this @ all; everything was slow & dragged out. This storyline has been done to death & I didn't get the ending. You'll be asking yourself, is that it? Read morePublished 16 months ago by DeniseJ Holder
After reading the Netflix blurb I really wasn't expecting much. And I figured that having to read subtitles wouldn't help things much either. But I was wrong. Read morePublished on December 25, 2013 by Ronald L. Dorazio
If you enjoy apocalyptic movies, then this movie is for you. I first saw it on Netflix and liked it so much decided to buy the blu ray. Read morePublished on August 6, 2013 by Mister Luna
Wish it moved at a somewhat faster pace, there's potential for this movie, but it takes too long to get going. Read morePublished on July 11, 2013 by JM
They had a good idea: people slowly roasting alive as the sun heats up the earth, and water dries up. Read morePublished on May 12, 2013 by Brad Smith
could have been more action low budget film movie is clear but the acting is poor boring movie wish they would stop making boring moviePublished on April 6, 2013 by seetheartsoftly
Hell (Bright) (Tim Fehlbaum, 2011)
Hell reminded me a great deal of another, even lower-budget, German film for no real reason I can put my finger on, Jens Wolf's... Read more