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The Independent Critic

Hannah Fierman, Mark Ashworth, John Kap, Joshua Mikel, Lesley E. Warren
Robert Bryce Milburn
Nicholas Begnaud (Writer), Robert Bryce Milburn (based on characters created for the screen by)

 "American Hell" Plays on Everyday Fears 

Are you alone?

No, really. Are you?

If you've ever had that sense of being alone in a crowded room, then American Hell may resonate with you. If you've ever believed yourself to be someone who could be dead in your home for weeks before someone would bother looking for you, then American Hell will most definitely resonate with you.

Based upon a full-length feature screenplay by director Robert Bryce Milburn, American Hell is perhaps most jarring because it feels really, truly possible.

It's an interesting film to watch living here in Indianapolis, a city that has experienced its share of home invasions over the past year including a handful of truly high profile ones that caught even the normally cynical public off guard.

In American Hell, a family's worst nightmare is realized when their apartment is invade in the middle of the night.

There's a catch. Is that surprising? There's always a catch.

In this case, their lives aren't threatend and the valuables aren't desired. No, there's something else going on here and it may be even more frightening.

Wouldn't it be absolutely horrifying if you really needed help in the middle of the night and no one would respond?

Or maybe there's more.

American Hell feels a little bit like a 70's psycho-thriller, a little bit like a Rob Zombie flick, and it maybe even exudes a little bit of that paranoia that was so dominant in a flick like The Purge. Truthfully, I don't know what it will remind you of but I do know it'll creep the hell out of you.

Winner of an Award of Merit from the Accolade Competition, an Audience Award from the Idaho Horror Film Festival (and there's not much scarier than an Idaho fuckin' potato), and having screened at a slew of fests already including Wasteland Film Festival, Canton Film Festival, Buried Alive Film Fest and others, American Hell is practically tailor made for the indie/underground and horror fest circuits.

The film features terrific performances from its ensemble cast, though I simply have to single out the freakishly jarring performance delivered by Hannah Fierman, who is somehow simultaneously seductive, scary, insane, and absolutely mesmerizing.

Trevor Metscher's lensing is kinetic and inspired, while Milburn's production design gives the film a believably lived in yet constantly unsettling feeling. The entire team deserves kudos for assembling a film that looks and feels like the psychological mind fuck that it is throughout its nearly eight-minute running time.

For more information on the film, visit the American Hell website linked to in the credits on the left.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic