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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 12.05.11] Germany post apocalyptic scifi thriller

Year: 2011
Directors: Tim Fehlbaum
Writers: Tim Fehlbaum / Oliver Kahl
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Purchase: Amazon
Review by: Christopher Webster
Rating: 9 out of 10

Think Roland Emmerich can only make bloated, unrealistic post-apocalyptic blockbusters that pander to the lowest common denominator? Think again. He recently executive produced Hell, a German language post-apocalyptic horror flick that just kicked my head in.

Though simple in its plot (which is essentially an apocalyptic twist on backwoods hillbilly horror) Hell works because of the brutality of the world, the constant tension and realistic performances from the cast. It just grabbed me from the get-go and had me on the edge of my seat until the end.

In a bit more detail: Hell feels like Emmerich's answer to The Road and I can't help but imagine that this is the story of another small group of survivors in Cormac McCarthy's harsh universe. The scope of the story is smaller, but it's also 100 times as tense so you don't really notice. Like, imagine if we got to see the story of one of The Road's basement dwellers and how they ended up being dinner. How scary is that?

The film follows two sisters, Marie and Leonie, and a guy named Philip as they try to make their way across the mountains to where they believe it has begun raining again. When they stop for gas they pick up a potentially dangerous new guy, Tom, and continue on until they hit a roadblock which turns out to be a trap that will tear the group apart and lead to disastrous consequences.

At the heart of the film is the relationship between older and younger sisters played by Hannah Herzsprung (The Reader, The Baader Meinhof Complex) and newcomer Lisa Vicari. Their relationship just feels real. One protects the other in the wake of their parent's death, but it is not over-written. It just is, so when the two characters are split up you feel genuine fear that they will perhaps not be reunited.

Markus Förderer won Best Cinematography for Hell at Sitges last year and I can see why. The sun-bleached world devastated by solar flares takes lens blow-outs and flaring to a whole new level and the intense style totally pays off during a particularly terrifying chase at the end.

Like I said above, Hell is fairly simple story-wise and is as much a horror film as a PA film, but it balances the two extremely well. It will appeal to PA fans who like their apocalypse movies to be realistic and brutal and horror fans will love the tension and overall violent tone of the world.

Keep an eye out for this one, because it's not to be missed.

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MEGAT0N (10 years ago) Reply

So is it coming to US theaters or VOD, or do we need to wait for a disc release?

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