Hell and Back
When their buddy breaks a blood oath and lands in hell, two best friends risk everything to save him from demons and the devil himself.
Hey everyone, Justin here and Hell and Back is the first of the Netflix Independent Reviews I’m going to put out this year. I was searching my Netflix account for something to watch after a long day and I settled on what looked like an interesting film. It’s star studded cast includes Mila Kunis, Bob Odenkirk, Susan Sarandon, Nick Swardson, T.J. Miller, and Danny McBride, so when I saw it on the list and it said an adventure in hell, I was sure to check it out.
What I got from the hour and a half of this film was that, even with amazing talent backing up a film, you can produce a garbage fire if you really try.
Where to begin?
First, the animation of Hell and Back is just terrible. From a technical standpoint, I suppose it works and it’s composed properly, but I think they just took the absolute bottom of the rung with the animation and threw it together. It reminded me of the early South Park animations where characters were cheaply made and poorly animated. Hell and Back was clearly rushed through the stop motion and it’s lack of care was evident quickly. With the cast of this production, they could have at least made the animation better to offset the truly atrocious story of the film.
Hell and Back is reminiscent of some early Kevin Smith work with dick and fart jokes, rape humor, sex obsessed losers, and overly objectified females. None of this was accidental, mind you, it was all part of the “so called” script that was given to these amazing actors. That is why I bothered giving this film a One Star rating on acting, just because the quality of work these professionals put into their utterly awful characters wasn’t, at all, deserving of their time. I can just see it now, these well known and respected actors (some of them, anyway), in a sound booth recording these lines and keeping one eye on the door, wondering how their agents got them connected to this train wreck.
I get that the film was made for just a little over $100,000 and, to be honest, I’m absolutely certain that 95% of that budget when to securing the voice talent, but for all that is sacred in film I honestly can’t see how this thing was ever made. The actors themselves put in what I assume to be the barest minimum amount of work into reading these lines. I am a huge fan of Bob Odenkirk and Mila Kunis, they are two very talented people who I’ve always liked to listen to, but in Hell and Back their characters were repetitive and boring.
Trivializing Hell is one thing, it’s always an easy target to poke fun at, but I think there is a time and place to make Hell a scary place and one to make believers actually worry about their sins. First, let me clarify, I’m not a Christian, or any religion, but I do have a healthy respect of those who believe. I think it’s nice that people dedicate themselves to a dogma and live their lives according to faith. I’ll never judge someone negatively about having faith.
That being said, far too many films make a mockery of Hell and The Devil in a lot of ways and Hell and Back was one that just disgusted me greatly. I am a huge fan and avid reader of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy and I think that would have made a better backdrop for the moral of the story. Using the sins, demons, The Devil, and the oath breaking as a statement of the lack of honesty and the problem of having shitty friends.
What it turned out to be, however, was just another awful rendition of the same regurgitated stuff we’ve all seen a thousand times. With the talent associated with this film, I thought I may actually be treated to an adult animated film with possibly some messages or, at the very least, a visual treat to watch, but what I sat through was a disgusting waste of my time and brain matter.
The talent-less writing combined with the awful animation makes this an absolute skip for me and anyone who has better things to do than waste their time.