Hell is a German-Swiss post-apocalyptic film directed by Tim Fehlbaum, where a small group of people try to survive through the remains of a post-apocalyptic Germany. The sun which was once a source of life, light, energy and warmth has now become the destroyer of our entire world. In the year 2016 the sun’s solar flares have destroyed the earth's atmosphere and temperatures have risen by 10°C, virtually making life on earth near impossible under the rays of the sun. The world now is a barren wasteland filled with scorched forests, dried rivers and the night sky is a dazzlingly bright dusk. Marie (Hannah Herzsprung), her younger sister Leonie (Lisa Vicari) and Phillip (Lars Eidinger) head for the mountains in a desperate hope for water as rumour has it can still be found. But the journey to the mountain is a hazardous trip filled with uncertainty. As they gamble their odds of survival under the relentless beaming sun they are lured into an ambush by scavengers and cannibals. It is here where the real battle for survival begins.
The intense gritty locations of a post-apocalyptic world are visually devastating and a strangely beautiful; a world overcooked by the rays of the scorching sun with humanity wiped out by the heat of the solar flares drastic climate change. What makes Hell such an engaging post-apocalyptic thriller is the direction it took by not starting off with an explanation of what or why that caused this disaster. We are simply dropped into this burning world and have to sweat it out with the characters. When the scavengers and cannibals come into action the burning sun is the least threat on our minds. This is a key ingredient of making a brilliant post-apocalyptic thriller, when taking humanity into extraordinary circumstances and creating a far greater threat than the strange conditions of the surroundings.
With the landscape brutalised by the solar flares it is not strange to think that humanity would turn to scavenging and cannibalising. If we look at other post-apocalyptic films like John Hillcoat’s The Road (2009) or Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes’ The Book of Eli (2010) we should all beware that your best mate might end up nibbling on your arm while you’re asleep. Director Tim Fehlbaum should be praised for not over doing the gore factor in the gruesome murders scenes. Visually not seeing the chilling murders is a brilliant way of letting the viewer’s imagination take hold and create something far worse than what they could see. Even the narrative of having a sun burn up the world is another interesting way of fuelling the imagination of a post-apocalyptic drama. A post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with burnt forests and deranged cannibals running around is a survival film worth watching.