Hell’s Ground (2007) – Film

“Hell’s Ground”

Movie #10: 31- Days of Horror Challenge

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A group of friends on their way to a concert end up taking a detour due to a political protest, then try to take a short cut and end up with their van breaking down.  Instead of help, they find horror.  

I’ve seen this several times since I first stumbled across it back at a clearance sale when the local Hollywood Video closed and I have enjoyed more it each time I’ve watched it.  I was so surprised to discover that I hadn’t posted anything about it before, that searched and found my very first impression written in an old Facebook post, which was incredibly brief and way past due for an updating.

While, yes, it can be distracting to some to switch between the English and Pakistani, reading subtitles as the dialogue necessitates, it’s not too much so.  After years of watching Game of Thrones, the audience has become accustomed to language shifts.  The dialogue and chemistry among the characters works well, they have the feel of old friends sneaking off for an illicit bit of fun.  There are some fantastic scenes in this, particularly at the Chai shop.  Toward the end of the film, there is really good use of dramatic nighttime lighting.  Most of the kill scenes are really well executed.  Of note, this movie won a “Special Jury Prize” at the 2007 Austin Fantastic Fest for “Horror Features – Best Gore.”

Writer/director Omar Khan is clearly a fan of classic American horror as this film is an amalgamation of multiple classic themes and tropes, including zombies, teen thrills, and backwoods horror, with a heavy hand of religious horror overtones (that one is obvious from the title) and a grindhouse style.  If the viewer keeps in mind that this is an homage, the first gore heavy (and boy does it deliver the gore!) Pakistani-made movie, featuring Pakistani actors, music, cultural references, and made for a specific audience, it really is a remarkable, and remarkably well done film.

I would not hesitate to recommend this, and have indeed, recommended it to many horror fans and friends.  Sure, it could use a little tweaking from an experienced editor, otherwise it is a worthy debut film and I honestly wish Omar Khan would make more because I’d love to see how he improves as a horror filmmaker.


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