A German attempt at the dystopian, post-apocalyptic future the British do so well.
It’s worth mentioning first; it’s a German film, with English subtitles. I didn’t know this before watching, but don’t let it put you off.
Hell is a clever title. In its native German, it means ‘bright’, but it works in English too. A big well done to writer Tim Fehlbaum. Hell is a unique and modern take on what our future could be if the world succumbs to global warming. It’s set in the not too distant 2016, when the earth’s temperature has increased by 10° leaving it an uninhabitable baron wasteland. Visually, it’s haunting. No plants, no life, and importantly, no water.
The story follows the sisters Marie (Hannah Herzsprung) and Leonie (Lisa Vicari), their partner Phillip (Lars Eidinger) and the stray Tom (Stipe Erceg), in their search for much needed water and petrol There’s a lot of brilliant bits. For a low budget film, the use of CGI is brilliant. The sun glares with all the intensity of scorching death. The actors are brilliant, especially the sisters.
The relative newcomer Lisa Vicari plays the brooding younger sister Leonie with ease, but all eyes are fixed on Hannah Herzsprung, playing the protective older sister.
Unfortunatley, apart from the concept, there is not much new about this film. It falls into the same formula as films like as Mad Max, The Road and The Hills Have Eyes.
However hard the actors try, the characters lack real substance, Philip is the worst, it’s like Fehlbaum couldn’t decide what character he wanted to write, he begins as a slimy chancer, then an inexcusable coward, and then he suddenly grows a pair to help Marie for all of 5 minutes.
And so when the inevitable happens, I just couldn’t really bring myself to care.
It’s nice to see a German filmmaker giving something new a try and whilst it’s a great idea, in practice it was too slow paced and lack-luster to really hold the attention over the full course of the movie.
HELL is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 2nd July 2012