When it hits theaters this Friday (August 5), “Journey to Hell” will sound a clear and frightening warning to anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ. The faith-based movie, delayed several times by the pandemic, offers a glimpse into what awaits non-believers in the fiery underworld.
Director Timothy Chey says the movie has a two-part goal: to help people “understand how real hell is” and to have “many people coming to Jesus.”
‘Journey to Hell’ Is Based on a John Bunyan Allegory
John Bunyan, author of the classic 17th-century allegory “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” provides the inspiration for “Journey to Hell.” In the film, a man named Shane Badman (who thinks he’s a Christian) dreams about hell during a near-drowning. The terrifying experience makes him realize he had been a Christian in name only. When Badman recovers, he dedicates his life to Jesus.
In interviews about the movie, Chey says he “changed the ending to make it completely uplifting” because “no one would go [see the movie] if it’s just about a man being in hell.”
The trailer for “Journey to Hell” shows Badman wandering a flame-covered landscape, encountering notorious figures such as Judas Iscariot, Nero, and Adolf Hitler. Viewers see glimpses of a prosperity preacher, someone saying no “magic prayer” guarantees salvation, someone claiming hell is an “old-school fundamentalist belief,” and someone quoting this Old Testament warning: “Remember him—before the silver cord is severed” (Ecclesiastes 12:6).
Badman (played by John Terrell) eventually acknowledges he is “just a filthy sinner” who needs Jesus Christ. When he regains consciousness, he thanks God for sending his Son. He also admits he deserves hell but promises to start praising and living for Jesus.
Can You Scare People to Faith?
Promotional materials for the movie note that only about half of Americans believe in a literal hell. Chey says “Journey to Hell” will alert lukewarm Christians to change their ways. Then on Judgment Day they won’t hear Jesus say, “I never knew you; depart from Me” (Matthew 7:22-23).
The director notes that in the Bible, Jesus speaks about hell more than heaven. And the film’s trailer features Charles Spurgeon’s warning that “Hell is filled with almost-saved people.”
Chey says he thinks we’re living in the last days, and he describes himself as “a firm believer” in the Rapture. “Only the Rapture will rescue [God’s] church before the seven years of tribulation that will come on the entire earth,” he says.