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To start my review: "Hell" means "Bright" in English.
It is a rare thing, even nowadays, a German film studio realizes a serious, dark film which has nothing to do with World War 2 or family drama.
Hell plays, without giving away any spoilers, in an post-apocalyptic scenario in which the sun burned everything down. People try to survive. You know this kind of scenario from movies like "Mad Max" or "The Book Of Eli". However, the sun aspect gives it an unused touch.
The actors do a great job in making us believe they are in big trouble. In the bright parts as in the dark parts of the movie. The antagonists are also believable in the movie's logic.
This is the first feature film directed by Tim Fehlbaum. On the one hand, you can argue he is copying big Hollywood films, which I would not disagree. On the other hand I find it kind of brave to show the German audience that a post apocalyptic movie can also be made in Germanym, with near Hollywood quality and with a small budget of about 5 million Euros. The style is amazing, the scenario believable.
Plus, the film does not show any CGI effects beside the extreme sun bloom, which is done digitally and very good. Everything else is based on the characters and their "path" to survive and find better places to live. The story itself is not very innovative but decent to watch, thrilling and without major flaws.
As a conclusion: This movie is underrated in my opinion. It is brave to make such a movie in Germany, if you compare most of the other German movies from the past 5 years, excluding "Die Welle (The Wave)". "Hell" is well-paced, has good actors and a good director who knows what he is doing. If you like films like this, you will not get bored.
Sure, "Hell" never reaches Hollywood-big-budget blockbuster quality and the sets are pretty limited. However, as a genre film, which are SO rare in Germany, it works and it is sad this film did not have success at the box office. It deserved better. Especially when looking at the future of German filmmaking, which I do not want to be Til Schweiger-only.
8 / 10
To begin I must say that I didn't know that hell means bright in
German. I always thought this movie was called HELL by the meaning it
has in English and this was the idea of the director. Reading some
previous comments I see it's not like that
It seems the director
wanted this film to be called HELL just by the brightness and not for
the other meaning. But after watch it I can say that in my opinion it
can be called by both meanings because both of them fit very well in
the plot and the message of the movie! Brightness is constant in the
movie, but they also live in a world that really seems like hell!
The plot begins in the year 2016, after a sudden and brutal increase of the global temperature of the Earth. The Sun is brighter than ever and the water is rare and valuable. It's hard to survive in this apocalyptic scenario because people are in a constant search for food and water We can't see any vegetation (just the trunks of the trees) and the animals died thirsty.
HELL is an action film that resembles to MAD MAX, mostly in the scenario and this background of the apocalyptic world. But it's well done; the settings are really good as they provide us a vision of a desert world full of death and not life; Action is effective and suspenseful, some good fighting scenes are done; Directing and camera work is very nice too. Acting is also fine.
The movie premise is almost the same as "The Road", you could see this
one as the German The Road with less money spent in the process.
Hell starts in a world where 10 degrees hotter sun scorches the earth and leaves no animal or plantation standing still and so, very few humans living on it's land.
Survivors are forced to live at night and sleep in day, in isolated places, caves or someplace that does not have any direct sunlight because more than 2 hours on the sun will get your skin burned forever and die.
Water and food are scarce and our protagonist had to use all kinds of techniques to get it, this was a nice touch in the movie.
The starting point is beautiful and excellent, nicely filmed and the movie has a nice pace up to the point when they meet the "dangerous people" for lack of a better world that will possibly spoil the movie for you.
At that point, although the movie does not stop it's progress, it slows down a lot and the movie suffers from an apparent lack of new ideas to come forth so, the rest of the movie focus on their escape and nothing else.
So much could be done with this premise, explaining why the sun has behave like this or seeing what other places of the world or cities become, but, due to money constraints I could picture why they didn't do this... still, being that the first part of the movie is great, not all is forgiven. The actors are far better than you would expect and in fact Hannah Herzsprung simply rocks in this one, this girl has a true survivor "sticker" all over her face and still, you will root for her, even when it's obvious.
With this kinds of actors and an excellent first act, the movie suffers a pale second act in comparison, putting this movie in the "good" category where it could have been "great".
Still, nice sci-fi end of the world movie that has a very good concept and nice suspense attached to it.
I give the movie a plus bonus for not being that harsh as The Road on some scenes where the director prefer to leave us to imagine things instead of just showing us so, if you care about the level of graphic violence on movies you can be sure to find very few graphic violence on Hell and this is a nice touch, of course you will see people killing each other but it's rare on this one and when it happens it's done without blood or shocking scenes like The Road does. 80% suspense and guaranteed to like if this is your style.
If you don't know what to watch on a Sunday night, this one is a sure bet even with it's flaws.
According to the director himself (who was at the Fantasy Filmfest
screenings this movie had all over Germany in 2011), he wasn't aware of
the fact, that his title could lead to misunderstanding. He always
meant it to be the German word "Hell" (which translated into English
means "Bright"). It's a nice thing he was earnest and the fellow seems
like a very nice guy.
Which can't be said about a lot of the characters in this movie. Unfortunately after a very strong beginning though, he movie falls back into clichés. And not good ones. Add to that some weak acting (there is an older German TV soap star on board who is particularly bad. The director told us he got her into the movie, but that she didn't seem to grasp the ideas they were trying to portray ... which seems to be sort of an explanation concerning her "acting") and a so-so script and the movie does get weaker towards the end.
Which again is a shame, because I like the idea and I think it's a good thing they dare to make a genre movie in Germany. Of course the director being in every city made the movie win an audience award. People even told me they gave the movie a better review because he was so likable. That's nice for him, but shouldn't affect the voting process in general. But there you go: Not great but not a really bad movie either
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sun has become brighter, the earth, hotter and drier. What life
remains must hide in shadow and scavenge for survival.
Four travellers, in search for running water in the mountains, run into an ambush, where the younger of two sisters is captured.
This post apocalyptic parable deals with the standard issues of trust, leadership, honour, hope, and of course survival.
Although not populated with the living dead, this film walks in the footsteps of legions of Zombie movies. Where it perhaps stands out is in the credibility of the pretext and unambitious scale of the story.
Very competently cast and directed and resisting the temptation to resort to gore and shock tactics: it reminded me very much of 28 Days Later.
Some of the reviews on here are tough. This is a well acted, well shot creepy post-apocalyptic independent film!
Is it perfect? What film- or for that matter what work of art- is perfection? It seems that IMDb has become a meeting place for all the review-trolls on the internet. Let's all log on and say how bad everyone's attempts at art are.
Do any of these reviewers know the artistry it takes to shoot and cut together a film like HELL? I say kudos to the entire crew and certainly to the cast which were all top notch actors.
Did the other reviewers watch the same film I did?
This is hands down one of the best films I've seen recently.
My girlfriend rolled her eyes when I told her I had a nice German movie for us to watch, however she enjoyed it as did I as its a well made thriller. I've gotta say German movies are an extreme rarity for me and I'm totally into international film, they don't seem to make any good ones I've heard of. This however is top notch from the offset, acting, lighting, camera work and pace it wasn't long until I forgot I was watching a German film. Very much in the vein of The Road but with a lot more action (and a lot less thinking tbh) I think 'Frontiers' meets 'The Road' is an extremely apt description, if you liked either of these movies then you'll enjoy Hell.
The plot: Scavengers in post-apocalyptic Germany try to survive global
warming, thieves, and cannibals.
I wasn't really all that impressed with Hell. It starts off promising, like a German version of The Road, but it eventually abandons all of the post-apocalyptic themes, in order to focus entirely on a crazy cannibal family. Cannibalism has always been a popular aspect of post-apocalyptic movies, but I think Hell really doesn't get the balance right. Way too much time is spent on the crazy cannibal family, and I'm really not all that fond of "escape from the crazy cannibal family" movies. They're all basically the same, and it's become way overdone in recent years. This is actually one of the better crazy cannibal families, but it's still kind of boring.
I liked the post-apocalyptic aspects of this movie, and I thought that it could have been much better, if they'd focused more on that. They could easily have kept the crazy cannibal family, but don't make the whole movie about that. After escaping from the cannibals, they could have found a post-apocalyptic town that was using slavery to rebuild. Or they find a sick man who wants food and water. Should they give up some of their rations for someone who will probably die soon anyway? But, no, they just run into a stereotypical cannibal family and try to escape. Boring.
If you're desperate for post-apocalyptic movies (or you still want more cannibal horror movies, after seeing Wrong Turn 8), this is a pretty decent choice. If you're looking for something exciting, different, and new, then I'd say you should pass.
Tim Fehlbaum, Screenwriter and Director of "Hell", has sure taken a
difficult and unrewarding challenge upon himself: to make an original
post-apocalyptic film, and a good one. And despite what those who enjoy
complaining would say - he has done a pretty good job!
Unlike most films, "Hell" keeps things disturbingly realistic, portraying a world in the near by future where global warming has made temperatures dangerously high. All the too-familiar motives of such films are there - scavenging for food/gas, water as the highest currency, some people turned to savages by the harsh reality, distrust and bonding, all of it. And even so, after The Road, I Legend, Book of Eli etc etc, Hell still proved to be very enjoyable. It even has some vampire-films motives, especially "Stake-Land".
Acting, screenplay, cinematography, all weren't innovative, but still good. All in all I've always enjoyed the more realistic post-apocalyptic films, and Hell is definitely one worthy of watching!
Probably the best thing about Hell is that it shows how The Road would
turn out without the media frenzy: almost unnoticed and scoring
averagely on IMDb. This might not be the best way to start the review,
yet as the movie progresses one starts wondering whether Hell's authors
could have chosen a different path. Either way, the result is a
straightforward post-apocalyptic thriller.
The advantage of not having a major studio in the background is the absence of pretentiousness. If you're into such movies, you'll like it. If not, you won't go to see it in the first place. In my opinion, this only adds to Hell's artistic merit.
I can't tell whether the title (meaning bright in German) is a wordplay on purpose or a slip of a tongue, but this is a pleasant surprise for a German-Swiss production.
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