Appellate Judge Tom Becker demands a few more degrees of separation.
Our review of 6 Degrees of Hell (Blu-ray), published December 28th, 2012, is also available.
Hell breaks loose.
Let's just cut to the chase: 6 Degrees of Hell is an incomprehensible stew of a low-budget horror movie. While there are a few standard-issue scares for genre fans, the dull and confusing run-up, plus poorly drawn characters, drains the life out of this early on.
6 Degrees of Hell tells the story of a haunted house amusement attraction that might actually be haunted. Except, when it doesn't. Then, it tells the story of a young woman who has psychic powers. Except, when it doesn't. Then, it tells the story of another young woman who was murdered a few years before, and whose brother now has a Ghost Hunters-style TV show. Except when it doesn't. Then, it tells a story about some kind of demonic possession that seems to be randomly afflicting some random people. Except…
So, yes, there are a whole bunch of plot threads floating around the film, and threads within those threads (possibly cursed artifacts being displayed in the haunted house, meddlesome police officers, some guy's problems with his parents, stuff like that). Now, if any one or two of these plots had been better developed, 6 Degrees of Hell might have been a fun and interesting little low-budgeter; instead, it's just a slog. Yes, everything interconnects at the end (thus, the how-'90s "6 Degrees" of the title), but the big reveal—which shamelessly rips off Lucio Fulci—is a big letdown, and the actual interconnecting overall pretty clumsy.
Director Joe Raffa (You'll Know My Name)—who acts and is listed as a producer—has little success making the script by Harrison Smith (also a producer) flow. Scenes skip around gracelessly, with flashbacks bleeding into flashbacks bleeding into dream sequences. Ideas are put out and then abandoned, character relationships are a little hard to figure out (I thought the psychic girl was the sister of some guy until later, when they had sex), and despite the obvious care that went into the production, the whole thing ends up feeling slapdash. By the time the film hits its big and protracted finale, which naturally ups the gore ante, it's nearly impossible to tell what's going on besides some pretty routine (and really silly) slicing and dicing.
The acting is pretty mediocre, on par with the script. Most of the actors have had small roles in other films, and many have worked with Raffa and Smith on previous projects. There are also two "names" here. First is Jill Whelan, who played Captain Stubing's daughter on The Love Boat for several seasons; in this film, she gets about three minutes of screen time and spends virtually all of it staring into space.
The other "name" is more problematic. It's Corey Feldman! And he's in a role that does nothing but add more insignificant footage to a film already overflowing with insignificant footage! OK, this one's not Feldman's fault (though I wonder whose idea it was for him to dye his hair yellow with a scraggly brown strand running down his face like a festering wound and smoke an electronic cigarette). Feldman plays a paranormal investigator interviewing a police officer about the horrific events of the film; presumably, this interview takes place after the horrific events, so the officer tells the story and we see it unfold. Only we really don't, and there are plenty of things that happen in the film that the officer couldn't know about. It's a silly, extraneous device that does nothing except further muddy the already murky waters. My guess is that someone got Feldman to sign on for a day's work, and they came up with this just to say they had him.
While the film is pretty slipshod, the disc from Breaking Glass is pretty good, with solid video and audio, plus a full slate of supplements, including a "making of," footage from the premiere, an interview with Feldman, some featurettes on the real Hotel of Horror in Saylorsburg, PA, a photo gallery, and promos and trailers.
As a marketing tool for the Hotel of Horror, this is a great piece; a film…meh.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Breaking Glass
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