As wrong as it sounds, I was excited about going into Hell. I have a fondness for filmic interpretations of natural disasters and as it was produced by Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012), Hell seemed to fit the bill. The temperature of the sun has drastically risen and has scorched civilisation, leaving nothing but a handful of desperate people roaming a baron wasteland in search of survival goods.
However, it wasn’t that straightforward. This German language and expectantly Sci-fi flick rapidly melted (excuse the pun) into a relentless horror picture and suddenly, I felt wronged. I was no longer watching a disaster evolve and go full-circle. Hell swiftly became less about the sun and more about cannibalism.
Unlike conventional mainstream cinema, Hell doesn’t waste time in the initial state of equilibrium. It is 2016. We join the action in the disequilibrium as we align with a group of people in their struggle for survival. Marie (Hannah Herzsprung), her younger sister Leonie (Lisa Vicari) and the estranged Phillip (Lars Eidinger) are on a hopeful journey to the mountains to find water. Before long, the closely-knit family, now with the added manpower of the failed attacker Tom (Stipe Erceg), are lured into a trap. They soon find themselves severely outnumbered at which point Leonie and their transport get snatched from them.
Hell’s tone then comes over even darker, despite the unbearable sunlight. Desperation levels reach all new extremes as we realise there is no distance we wouldn’t go to survive and that our biggest enemy is ourselves.
The hand-held camera movement, often in close up, is dizzying and effective. We are positioned amidst the action as if we’re also fighting for our lives. Hell pays the decency of giving its audience a much needed and deserved closure.
Recipe to Hell: Take 200g of The Road, 50g of Hostel, add a pinch of Sweeny Todd and mix in a litre of I am Legend. Top that off with a thick layer of 28 Days Later and bake under a blazing sun for ninety minutes until singed.
Out of DVD (£15.99) & Blu-ray (£19.99) 2nd July.