woensdag 13 juli 2011

Hell's Ground (2007)

It's been marketed as Pakistan's first splatter movie. Hell's Ground will be remembered for paying homage to many classic horror films without ever being a rip-off. As the cover reveals the killer you're immediatly triggered with enthousiasm. There's a slick sense of humor and a lot of gory potential, but does it live up to these expectations?

It sure does. There's an interesting story behind the film. Pakistan's filmindustry has been declared dead, there's no appeal to the younger crowd and the taboo on these sort of films still remain. Omar Khan only needs 11 minutes to explain the situation, providing us with some honest details about the dying industry and his approach to break some of the artistic boundries his country is dealing with.
He described Hell's Ground as an example of traditional horror filmmaking. And there's no doubt about that. As I said, the film often pays tribute to the classics among classics like TCM and DotD. The best part about this is the respect Omar shows to these films, hereby never letting the audience think of it as a direct rip-off. It ranges from subtle simmilarities (traveling with a van and picking up a rather weird stranger..) to nicely adopted features such as the incredibly filthy vibe created by detailed shots of the enviroment.

It's a remarkable mixture between their culture and the typical American influences. It's not brilliant but it works refreshing. Cultural aspects will never get in the way of the fun as Omar was clearly aware of the (mostly religious) differences outside his own country, so he kept it down to earth for everyone to enjoy. A smart move, showing his dedication in making something outside the Pakistan-box which has always been littered with crappy musical flicks and weak drama.
The film actually found it's way to my country. This Dutch release has a rather special second feature which is shown in the film. During the short introduction of the characters we stumble upon an interesting dvd collection and we even watch a small part of a scene from ''Dracula in Pakistan'' featuring an actor known as 'Rehan'. Who's actually starring in Hell's Ground in one of the coolest scenes. This film (Dracula in Pakistan) can actually be found on the second disc. How cool is that?

Hell's Ground follows the traditional road but remains interesting throughout by smartly providing the viewer with exciting stuff when it's needed. The effects are always really neat, even though I wouldn't directly recommend it if you're looking for a true splatter flick. The main reason why I liked this film so much is because of the intense vibe which is way better than most american horrorfilms these days. Might be a stupid generalisation but truth be told: I found this change of atmosphere more than welcome.
The short runtime is a big plus. It never feels slow and not a single scene feels unnecessary or misplaced. The addition of zombies makes it even better and the killer is equiped with one of the coolest weapons possible. It's not a Jason rip-off or any other horror icon for that matter. Just an example of the mixture between the different cultures which never fails to work here.

Delivering a dirty and uncomfortable vibe while never forgetting what horror movies are also about: fun. It's a must if you're a true fan which makes it fun to spot the western influences. The two worlds collide and the result is promising. As of now I can't find any new projects by Omar Khan, which would be a shame.. let's not hope he was shooting blanks with this one.

Score: 89/100


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