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2016 and sun spots have raised the world's temperature, instigating social collapse as the supply of food and water slowly runs out. Sisters, Leonie and Marie along with a friend, Phillip, are trying to get to the mountains where it is rumoured that water has started to fall, just above the tree line. Along the way they pick up another traveller, Tom, who they distrust. The mismatched group continue to travel, until a fallen pylon halts their progress, when they get out to remove the obstacle they have no idea that this is a trap set by a local family which has turned cannibal...
Hell (2011 - 1 hr, 25 min, 40 sec) is a post-apocalyptic horror flick directed by Tim Fehlbaum, who also co-wrote the screenplay. Roland Emmerich took a role as executive producer and the film is in the German language with English subtitles.
The first half of the film is particularly effective and much of the credit for this has to go to Markus Förderer, whose remarkable cinematography paints a blistering almost whited out world of heat and dust. It is the early visuals, as much as the relationships between the survivors, which will suck you in.
Central to the story is the relationship between, Marie (Hannah Herzsprung) and her younger sister Leonie (Lisa Vicari), with Marie trying to take over the role of Leonie’s now dead mother, while Leonie acts like a spoilt teenager. The two men, Phillip (Lars Eidinger) and Tom (Stipe Erceg) are almost incidental to both this relationship and the plot, acting mostly as cannon fodder and general helper. They do not protect the women that well, mostly failing in this role, it is Marie who provides help, when it is needed. The tensions within the car work well, giving the first half of the film a real edge.
When the film strays into the well-worn territory of running around trying not to get eaten by the cannibal family, both the tension and the audience’s attention start to wane as there is nothing here which hasn’t already been done numerous times and mostly better.
The narrative is simple enough to be enjoyable and the cast give it all they can, the only oddity here is the performance by Angela Winkler (Bäurin) who seems to think that she is in another film. In her defence this is not her sort of work and even the director commented that she never really understood what they were trying to make.
The picture is bright as befits a new movie with an adequate 2.1 audio track. The disc contains no extras, a commentary by the director would have been appreciated.
For a first time feature director, this is an impressive piece of work, even if the second half walks down a well-trodden road. At its heart the film's examination of the lengths which people will go to survive is a deeply optimistic message of the inherent goodness in people.