Written by: Nick Frame on June 14th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Thailand, 2005
Director: Tanit Jitnukul & Sathit Praditsarn
Cast: Nathawan Woravit, Kom Chauncheun, Punyapon Dhajsonk
DVD released: 19th June 2006
Approximate running time: 89 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS & Stereo 2.0
DVD Release: Dark Asia/Anchor Bay UK
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £19.99
“Hell” begins with a massive accident involving the employees of Mask Mass production, a Bangkok video production company, driving through the night as they have a destination to reach and a deadline to beat. Unfortunately fate has decided to get in the way and they crash head on with an oncoming truck. They are all rushed to hospital with really bad injuries, however we then cut to 25 hours earlier and we see how all our protagonists come together prior to meeting up for the trip. They all have there own foibles and problems to deal with, but they have a deadline to meet at work and issues are put aside as they all head off on their trip. Again we see the driver battling against sleep but this time he avoids the truck and they all believe they have had a lucky escape. They stop the van and step outside but soon realise all is not as it seems, are they really dead or are they in hospital battling to stay alive? Regardless, they have fallen into another dimension and unfortunately for them it seems to be in Narok – Hell!
“Hell” is an ok Asian horror flick, we have the stereotypical characters, the jock, the cool chick, the sex obsessed teen and the old guy you know will be bumped off first. The premise is kind of cool as well, being in Hell before their time and having to find redemption and the way home. The only problem is that none of them really have done anything that bad on earth to warrant being in Hell, so I’m not sure why they are being punished, the reasons behind them being sent to Hell are a little unclear and could have been expanded on, but hey it’s a horror film, we don’t need to delve too deeply into the plot. As I’ve said, it’s a horror film but CGI effects have been used which take away some of the films supposed impact. Some of the make-up effects used in the torture scenes are good but not enough to be truly horrific. Look out for the demonic babies however, definitely the highlight of the film!
All in all, an average flick with average effects and a slightly confusing story – one to rent!
The 1.85:1 anamorphic image is pretty good with strong, sharp and bright image, with the oranges and reds of Hell looking particularly good. Blacks are solid throughout and skin tones are consistent. No specks or print damage as you might expect from a very recent movie.
The Thai Dolby Digital and DTS audio is not bad either with the screams and groans of the underworld flying through your surrounds. Dialogue is crisp and clear with good separation from the effects. The removable English subtitles are well translated but I do wonder if we are missing out on some extra information contained in the dialogue. There is also a Stereo 2.0 track as well.
Extras are quite plentiful with interviews with most of the cast and crew, a 7 minute look behind the scenes and the UK promotional trailer.
Fans of Asian and Thai horror in particular may want to check this out, but there is much better out there.
For more information about Hell visit Anchor Bay UK here.