Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hell, Nena...99 Luftballoons...Cannibalism

NASCAR fans will remember Carl Edwards' feeble attempt to revive the popularity of Nena's "99 Luftballoons."  However noble of an attempt, Mr. Edwards misread the NASCAR culture.  NASCAR fans usually have a...shall we say, "louder" taste in music.  Nena's magnum opus is destined to endure, as this 2011 film from Germany takes "99 Luftballoons" into the apocalypse.  Post-apocalyptic landscapes are perfect for B movies, and tend to keep our attention longer than spring afternoons in Paris.  In "Hell," director Tim Fehlbaum introduces us to 2016 Germany, where social order has collapsed.  Many will see "Hell" as a "The Walking Dead" episode without zombies. However, like TWD, the perils in "Hell" are the survivors.
The plot: Intense solar storms have upped world temperatures 10 degrees.  Crops and water have evaporated.  Social order has collapsed quickly.  Bands of survivors have turned to foragers....and other things.  Marie (Hannah Herzsprung), her teen-aged sister Leonie (Lisa Vicari), and a coward Phillip (Lars Eldinger) are headed to the mountains in a Volvo.  Rumors persist that rain still exists above the tree line.  While foraging for supplies at an abandoned gas station, Tom (Stipe Erceg) tries to rob them.  He isn't a good robber, but because he knows cars, he is invited to join our trio.  Now a quartet, they head to the mountains with gas, water, and one CD (you guessed it...."99 Luftballons"). Halfway up a mountain, they drive into a trap.  Leonie is abducted and the Volvo is stolen.  Tom and Marie are bent on finding Leonie, and Phillip displays his yellow belly.  
After finding those invaders, the trio attempt to rescue Leonie.  This plot fails largely because of Phillip's lack of manhood.  Now Tom is also a captive...but of who?  Marie then goes it alone, as she is determined to find her sister, and possible new love interest.  Uh oh! Can you say TERMINUS? You TWD fans can.  Our invaders are a very moralistic band of cannibals, and Marie realizes she needs to work fast.  I won't deliver any spoilers here, but Marie turns into quite the warrior.  Even though she is outnumbered, and outgunned, Marie's new attitude will make the odds just about even as she prepares to battle her new nemesis.
Will Tom and Leonie be served up next to the wiener schnitzel?  Even if Marie is successful, does an oasis exist at the mountaintop?  Is there any truth to the rumor Nena is about to record "The 100th Luftballoon"?  Marie's evolution from a forager to warrior is very appealing.  She leaves no one behind, especially her sister, and nobly sets her sights on post-apocalyptic bully-gangs.  Available on Netflix, this is a perfect movie for TWD fans who can't wait for the next episode. 

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