H6: Diary of a Serial Killer (2005)
Starring Fernando Acaso, Angel Alarcon, Raquel Arenas, Ruperto Ares
Directed by Martin Garrido Baron
I've had to take the last few days to make sure that I was clear on how I felt about H6: Diary of a Serial Killer. It’s been a long time since I’ve not been able to just plop down and write a review right after seeing something, but H6 took me some time to process.
And my conclusion? H6 is a fucked up little film.
Here we have the story of one Antonio Frau (Acaso) who, as a young boy in a fit of rage, killed his girlfriend in cold blood. He’s served many years in jail, and when we meet him it’s the day of his release; the day he starts his diary.
Upon his exit from The Big House, Antonio learns that he is now the owner of a disused brothel in one of the seedier parts of town. His aunt was the former owner and proprietor, but since she’s passed on and he’s the only living relative, it’s now his. He sees this as fate; he has been given this temple to bring in the lost and downtrodden and save them from their wicked ways.
His first target is the squatter who’s been taking up the building’s upper floor. Antonio tells him it’s all right if he stays, feeds him dinner, and watches with almost clinical interest as the poison he laced the boy’s food with takes effect. This is the first of many, many overtly disturbing scenes of the film as not only does it come out of nowhere (sorry to spoil the surprise, but I’m sure it’ll still get you), but it goes on for a very long time. This boy does not want to go out without a fight, and it takes him a while to finally give up.
Antonio takes a wife, a girl from his past whom he’s always had a crush on, and she moves in with him. Room 6 is the only room in the building he claims he doesn’t have a key for, assuring that his wife will not find what the contents of that room really are; a single table with four straps in each corner resting in the middle of the floor covered, as are the walls and floor, in plastic. This is where he takes his girls, girls that he sees as needing to be saved. Salvation is not always easy, however, and usually ends with a chainsaw and a lot of screaming.
And I mean a lot of screaming.
There are more layers to H6 than that, so don’t think I’m telling you it’s just about some psycho torturing girls. Part of what makes the film so overall disturbing, aside from the haunting cinematography and subtle performance by the lead, is getting a clearer idea of just how wrong this man’s way of thinking is as the film progresses.
It is not a perfect film; the ending does feel a bit rushed and the chance that so many of Antonio's victims would just wander by the front of his house is a bit too much of a coincidence, but its flaws are minor. Especially when stacked up against both the skill that went into making the film and the guts it took to go as far as they did with it.
H6 doesn’t end the way you’d think it would, either. I don’t want to say much more than that, again you’ll enjoy it more the less you know, but suffice it to say it’s not what you’d expect.
If you thought Hostel was upsetting in its depictions of violence, H6 goes further in the raw viciousness and unrelenting horror than Hostel or any other mainstream film could ever hope to. The fact that a company like Tartan, who put out some great films but have really never taken a chance like this, have picked the film up for release here in the States goes to show that they’re a company with some real balls. If they put this film out there as-is, with all the sex and dismemberment in place, I guarantee that you will see them in a different light from then on.
I’m sorry if this review seems shorter than most, but again with H6 it really is a case of the less you know, the better. It’s an amazing film overall, even more so when you consider the fact that it’s director Martin Garrido Baron’s first. There are not many directors, aside from people like Alexandre Aja or Nacho Cerda, who have come out of the gate with a film as powerful as H6, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Tartan will be releasing the DVD here in the States this July. You’ll hear more about it here when we do!
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