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Case Number 24506: Small Claims Court

Buy Hell at Amazon


Arc Entertainment // 2011 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 15th, 2012

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All Rise...

Prepare to meet Judge David Johnson...in this movie.

The Charge

Survival is everything.

The Case

It's the future and things are going well. Life as we know it has largely been wiped out, thanks to an abundance of lethal solar flares. The Earth has been reduced to a sand-blasted, post-apocalyptic wasteland and the few remaining survivors spend their days eeking out meager existences while bumming water and gasoline off any passers-by they may encounter.

One band of survivors—Marie, her sister, a guy named Phillip, and Tom the mechanic—make their way into the wilderness, drawn by rumors of clean water; a most precious commodity. As the group's cohesiveness begins to deteriorate, they're suddenly sucked into a whole new nightmare. A deranged family has targeted them—specifically the girls—for some kind of crazy white slavery scenario.

The moral, of course, being that no matter how hopeless and terrible the world is after the apocalypse falls, you can always count on human beings to be complete and utter a-holes to one another. Which seems to be a running theme in all the post-apocalyptic movies I've seen.

The good news? The a-holes in Hell are pretty whacked-out and unlikable, making them decent villains. The crazy backwoods family is a proven terror commodity. The folks here aren't as bat-sh*t as the goobers from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but the menacing works. Their malevolence isn't splashy violence, but effective nonetheless, especially as the family's twisted plans come to light.

The bad news? Our heroes are entirely forgettable. Oh sure, we pull for them (especially the girls) when danger creeps in, but only as objects placed in harm's way. As stand-alone characters, there's nothing new or interesting happening here.

Hell is no brisk experience. It's only when the family enters the picture that the pace picks up a bit. Before that, it's a slog. To be fair, this was never intended to be a run-n-gun slugfest with mutants. The movie is simply looking to paint a picture of survival at all costs, which is fine, but we've seen this all before.

The DVD: standard def 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround in original German and an English dub. No extras.

The Verdict

It's slick and tense in moments, but the sluggish pace keeps this in DVD purgatory.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile

Studio: Arc Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (German)
• English (CC)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Foreign
• Horror
• Science Fiction
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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