In the bleak thriller, director/co-writer Tim Fehlbaum imagines that our world of 2016 has ceased to exist — at least as we know it. Solar storms have raised the temperature by 50˚ Fahrenheit — something Oklahomans currently can sympathize with — and with resources bare, society has collapsed.
Sisters Marie (Hannah Herzsprung, The Reader) and Leonie (Lisa Vicari) make their way in an SUV driven by friend Phillip (Lars Eidinger) and with its windows covered with paper in a futile attempt to keep temps tolerable. Their separation is inevitable, and bartering gets trumped by barbarism.
With the best ironic use of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” since 2009’s Watchmen, Hell ambles along as a sobering, sometimes-suspenseful examination of how such a cataclysmic event might affect one family — or what’s left of the clan. The film is at its best — solid, but never spectacular — until the little sister is “drafted” for a repopulation effort. That story shift halted my interest.
Shot in the German language, but with a better-than-usual English dubbing option on the DVD, Hell reminded me more than a little of TV’s The Walking Dead without the zombies — a far more frightening prospect. —Rod Lott
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