6 Degrees of Hell (2012)
(18) Running time: 90 minutes
Director: Joe Raffa
Writer: Harrison Smith
Cast: Corey Feldman, Jill Whelan, Brian Anthony Wilson, Nikki Bell, Brian Gallagher, David J. Bonner
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish
Joe Raffa’s 6 Degrees of Hell was marketed last year as the scariest film of 2012, and boy was I excited to see it. There was a minor fuss about its release in the US, but here in the UK it came out without barely a whisper and, as far as I am aware, pretty much sunk without a trace. This lead me to believe that maybe this was not the “scariest film of 2012” as it was so-called, and after seeing the film I can tell you this: yes it is scary, but for all the wrong reasons! I shall get to that in a minute, but the small but effective promotional campaign of some rather disturbing images worked well, and you would be forgiven if you were sold on this film because of this. The trailer then arrived after a big build up of tension for fans to finally see some actual footage, and from that point the film simply disappeared into nothingness, and here it is, finally, on region one DVD for all to see. The first big question is “should you see it?”. Sadly, the simple answer is no.
6 Degrees of Hell has clearly been made on a budget, and clearly the director has a passion for making horror slightly different from the usual supernatural genre. The film has an antagonising slow build up where the director desperately tries to make his film a little more special than it actually is. See, sometimes you come across these low budget shockers which actually have brains, brawn and balls to be different, and they stick in your head once you realise you have watched something quite brilliant. 6 Degrees of Hell wants to be this, but it isn’t. The slow build up based around a story of some youngsters caught up in some kind of supernatural mumbo jumbo never reaches the point of actually doing anything. There is a lot of talk, a lot of not very much happening, and unfortunately the characters are simply not engaging enough. Add to this fact that their acting abilities are just awful, it makes it very difficult to actually connect with this film.
The story twists and turns and tries to be clever, but it lost me completely. When the film finished I had no idea what I had just watched, and what (if anything) actually happened. Then there is the choice of filming on location in a real life haunted hotel using actual actors from the attraction. The setting works, but it doesn’t really add anything to the film and, to be honest, it could really have been shot anywhere. The hotel actors do a decent enough job, but ham it up way too much and do not come across as frightening at all. In fact, when the monsters do appear the budget restraints really show, and the director’s desperation to come across as nightmarish and freaky does not work at all. Granted it is when the monsters from our nightmares appear that the film finally comes alive, and yes there is quite a lot of fun to be had when this happens, but sadly it cannot save this mediocre scare flick.
Then there is Corey Feldman, the man plastered all over the trailer and heavily promoted on the poster. Let’s make this clear, he is barely in it, and in fact his few small scenes total up to about two minutes of screen time, so if you are watching this simply to see Feldman back in a starring role, then you will be sorely disappointed. He doesn’t add much to the film either with his extra long cigarette and weird bleach blond hair, so maybe he was simply used because it was the only star name the director could get?
As you can probably tell, 6 Degrees of Hell has let me down big time. I was not prepared for this film being quite as bad as this, which is a real shame as from the early points on the marketing campaign I really thought we had something special to look forward to. Sadly, this film, as I said before, IS scary, but for all the wrong reasons. The acting, story, plot twists, costumes, lighting and coma inducing slow pace are what is really terrifying about this film. On the scary scale then for those reasons this film should be awarded at least a 9 out of 10. However, as an actual attempt at a horror film, this is awful, and I will take off an extra point for getting me hooked and suckered in so easily with its blatant lie of being such a scary film. Damn you for cheating me!