42nd Street Cinema

Zibahkhana (2007)

Omar Ali Khan's Pakistani splatterfest Zibahkhana also known as Hell's Ground.
I had this bought for me by a friend as a surprise and sure enough, a surprise it was as initially I didn't think it would be very good.

Zibahkhana's plot revolves around 5 students; Vicky, Simon, O.J., Ayesha and Roxy making their way to a concert.
On their journey they run in to a group a villagers who've been transformed in to zombies due to contaminated water. A minor subtext and possibly Omar Ali Khan's homage to Romero's signature and ever present social commentary. The group escapes and continues on their travels before getting lost and asking a drifter for directions, who turns out to be a complete nutcase. Successfully removing him from their van he then blocks it with his body forcing Vicky to ride over him, before long the van runs out of gas. Vicky then goes to a nearby house to get help, unbeknown to him the house is a trap to lure passersby. One by one the group begins to be stalked and butchered by a maniac, wearing a bloodstained burqa and wielding a giant medieval mace.

An incredibly entertaining flick to say the least, I found it difficult at times to wrap my head around the fact it originated from Pakistan. The acting was a pleasant surprise too as it's better than most Western indie flicks and all though you don't know a lot about the characters you do get a sense of attachment to them.
Shot on digital and thankfully missing the tackiness that usually comes with it and the use of a fish-eye lens reinforces the whole surreal atmosphere. The dialogue alternates between Urdu and English, possibly done to alleviate the use of subtitles. Amongst the graphic violence Omar Ali Khan manages to work in lines of comical dialogue and a few sequences that are either intentionally funny or accidentally come off as humorous. I'd also like to point out how awesome the soundtrack is and how memorable it makes the film.

Zibahkhana borrows heavily from a whole host of successful genre films, notably; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), the camper van accompanied by a lunatic hitchhiker. Friday the 13th Part II (1981), I base this on the similarity between the eye hole on the burqa and Jason's bag. The premise of them going to a concert also harks back to the likes of The Last House on the Left (1972).
A homage to the 80s splatter film that's well acted, well shot and most of all enjoyable. What more do you need?


forestofthedead said...

Awesome review. Love this movie, wonderful to hear you do too!

James said...

yeah this film deserves so much praise, apparently it was funded by the directors Ice Cream parlor!

Unknown said...

I have been meaning to check this out for a while, but have read so many mixed reviews--I'm gonna go with your opinion though and check it out. From what I've gathered so far our tastes in movies are pretty similar.

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