Directed by Joe Raffa
Distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures
6 Degrees of Hell is a supernatural horror film which has much of its action focusing in and around a haunted hotel attraction in Pennsylvania. Completely inhabited by all types of psychotic looking creatures, this hotel provides a viciously ferocious backdrop for 6 Degrees of Hell. Unfortunately, the entire film wasn’t shot in the Hotel of Horror because every time the story ventures away from the attraction, things go sour.
As a whole, 6 Degrees of Hell has several shortcomings. The first thing viewers will notice is the stiff acting of much of the cast, giving it an amateurish feel. In addition to this, there is little to no development of any of the characters, giving them all a two-dimensional, hollow feel. This leads to a cast that the audience cares nothing about.
The crown jewel of this basically forgettable cast is supposed to be Corey Feldman. 6 Degrees of Hell pitches Feldman as the star of the film, when in actuality he appears very briefly and is not even involved in the story. Feldman plays a paranormal investigator listening to the story of 6 Degrees of Hell being retold to him by a police officer who was present when much of the madness of the film went down.
Another problem is that there is simply too much going on in this indie film. The plot revolves around a malicious spirit that has haunted the lives of several of the characters; however, there are too many storylines here for the filmmakers to give ample time to each. If the overall plot could have been focused into something manageable, it would have made the film much tighter and more enjoyable. There are tons of flashbacks and dream sequences to add to the problem. 6 Degrees of Hell is loaded with spooky stories and creepy images, but with a disjointed story and characters the viewer doesn’t care about, all the creepiness in the world would be hard pressed to save it. It’s tough to erect a strong building when your foundation is weak.
And to top things off, much of the effects work is cartoonish and Halloweeny. When laid against the backdrop of an indie film that’s taking itself very seriously, the make-up used for much of the film is severely lacking.
Now, with all this being said, 6 Degrees of Hell actually does have a few redeeming qualities that do their best to salvage some of the 90-minute run time. There is a particularly impressive sex/murder scene that finally gets the audience to sit up and take notice. Finally something for the viewers to sink their teeth into. And that seems to be the take-off point for the entertaining portion of the film.
6 Degrees of Hell surges to a climax that is staged inside the Hotel of Horror, and this is where the movie really hits its stride and is able to shine. The actors portraying staff working inside the haunted hotel attraction are excellent. They are so much fun dressed as different nightmares terrorizing the guests… and then some. They’re great! The hotel baddies are so numerous and diverse, it’s like a low budget version of The Cabin in the Woods bestiary.
In the Hotel of Horror, 6 Degrees of Hell stops taking itself so seriously and lets loose. The results are some really fun scenes that make for the best part of the movie. The F/X are also better here as well. Although still hokey in some spots, there is a noticeable improvement. Also the make-up used to create the characters looks better here as well as the Halloween-like jobs referenced earlier actually work in the haunted hotel scenes because that is what you would expect the characters to look like. Full of unique characters (most notably, the downright creepy Clownie) and tons of action, the final 25 minutes of 6 Degrees of Hell provide a bloody fun romp.
The Blu-ray/DVD special features are nothing special. There is a look at the opening night for the film, a making-of sequence with unbalanced audio that seemed to be more a way for the producers to mention their sponsors then share much with the viewers. A brief Corey Feldman interview and a trip with director Joe Raffa through the actual Hotel of Horror in Pennsylvania where much of the film was shot don’t provide much entertainment at all. There are also some commercials and trailers for the film. Pretty standard stuff.
6 Degrees of Hell is a textbook case of good news/bad news. Overall, it’s lacking in many aspects and takes itself much too seriously for the majority of the film. However, there are redeeming qualities. When the movie decides to just let go into some good ol’ bloodletting fun, it’s a great time. You just have to get through a lot of other stuff before you get to it. Why so serious?
• The Making of 6 Degrees of Hell
• Behind the Scenes with Corey Feldman
• The Real Hotel of Horror Walkthrough with Joe Raffa
• The World Premiere of 6 Degrees of Hell
2 out of 5
1 1/2 out of 5