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Most known for epic summer disaster flicks like “Independence Day” and “2012” (easily one of the best movies I’ve ever seen), Roland Emmerich is producing a small German post-apocalyptic film called “Hell”. There have been some clips floating around, but now there is a full-blown trailer. There were supposed to be English subtitles, but there aren’t. They don’t seem too important at this juncture. If you watch the trailer you’ll have a fair understanding of what is going on. The sun cooked everything, the world went to hell in a hand basket, and now a few survivors are trying to continue doing just that, survive. You might miss some of the subtleties of the plot, but it’s a trailer, you get the idea.
Here’s the official synopsis, which pretty much backs up everything I just said:
It was once the source of life, light and warmth. But now the sun has turned the entire world into a baked and barren wasteland. Forests are scorched. Animal carcasses line the roads. Even the nights are dazzlingly bright.
Maria, her little sister Leonie and Phillip are heading for the mountains in a car with tinted glass. Rumor has it water can still be found there. It is a hazardous trip to nowhere. Along the way, they run into Tom. He turns out to be a first-rate mechanic and becomes indispensible. But can they trust him? The tension grows. As if things weren’t bad enough, they are lured into an ambush and their real battle for survival begins…
Compared to Emmerich’s usual big-budget special effects and movie magic trickery, “Hell” looks positively small scale, relying on sparse settings, characters, and story rather than visual pyrotechnics. I support this completely. Something about cinematic explorations of the depths humanity is willing to sink to in order to survive is endlessly fascinating to me. This is another addition to the ever-increasing cannon of post-apocalyptic tales in film, comics, literature, television, and media in general in recent times. I shudder to think what this fixation on our own demise says about mankind’s collective psyche—it would seem we all think we’re on the brink of annihilation—but from a purely entertainment based standpoint, “Hell” looks like heaven to me.
Directed by Tim Fehlbaum, “Hell” stars Hannah Herzsprung, Lars Eidinger, Stipe Erceg, Angela Winkler, Lisa Vicari, Yoann Blanc, and Christoph Gaugler.
“Hell” opens in Germany this September.