6 Degrees of Hell (2012)

Description (from Facebook.com/pages/Six-Degrees-of-Hell):
Six people and their lives are stitched together by a supernatural force that has laid claim to one of them. A Halloween haunted establishment is ground zero for a paranormal perfect storm inadvertently touched off by a seemingly random series of events.

Major Cast:
Corey Feldman as Kyle Brenner, Brian Anthony Wilson as Deputy Hendricks, Nicole Cinaglia as June, Faust Checho as Chief John Hansen, Kyle Patrick Brennan as Erik Sanborn, Joe Raffa as Kellen Hudson, David J. Bonner as Chris Allen

Special Features:
None (Screener)
For Sale Version Includes: The Making of 6 DEGREES OF HELL, The Real Hotel of Horror Walkthrough, Behind the Scenes with Corey Feldman

Written by Harrison Smith
Directed by Joe Raffa

It’s kinda sad how times have changed. In the 80’s, if you saw the name “Corey Feldman” on a film it didn’t equal high art, but you knew it was going to be (at least) enjoyable. Nowadays when I see that name on a movie, it makes me cringe a little bit. I can’t think of a film in the last 15 years I’ve seen Feldman in where I was impressed, with the exception of his cameo role in CITIZEN TOXIE. I know a dude’s got to work, but seriously… Long story shortened, seeing Feldman’s face big and bold on the press release for 6 DEGREES OF HELL immediately put me on the defensive. Luckily, he’s not really in the movie that much.

Ultimately one of the scarier bits of 6 DEGREES OF HELL was Feldman’s haircut…

From the very beginning, the first impression I got from 6DoH was that this was a really, really cheaply made movie; the video quality was HORRIBLE. By “horrible,” I mean: a bad rip from the lowest quality YouTube rendering type of horrible. I contacted Breaking Glass pictures, and they informed me that they have had issues with some screener copies ending up being pirated, so they are putting out some releases at a much lover video resolution. So I just need to digress for a minute. To that reviewer who is pirating out the screener copies: you’re a dick. Being a reviewer is a bond of trust between you and the filmmaker/production company, and you’ve wrecked that trust and therefore ruined it for all of us. So for the sake of this review, I’m assuming that the video is really nice (6DoH does have a Blu-Ray release), but what I watched was horrible.

6DoH is a haunted house story, both literally and figuratively. Kellen’s Uncle Jack owns the Hotel of Horror, a local Pennsylvania haunted house that is known for being one of the scariest around. Jack attains a high level of creepiness by hiring lots of local actors and putting them in pretty frightening makeup, and by dressing his sets with actual paranormal-related props, for example: an altar that has bloodstains from where some children were sacrificed. Having things like that in a hunted house couldn’t be a bad idea, right? Along with the story of the “haunted house” is the story of Erik Sanborn, a local ghosthunter with his own local TV show, “Dead.TV” (which is apparently going to be the next film from this group of filmmakers, or at least the title for their next film). Erik lost his sister to an attack from a demon years ago, and is trying to reconnect with her and solve her murder.

One of the creepy, subtle images that gave me hope for the film.

The story starts off pretty decent. It actually has a few good, creepy scares in the first act that got my hopes up for the rest of the film. While I can’t comment on the video since I have this reduced quality screener, the production design seemed pretty decent overall as well. Again, it was kind of hard to really see the details, but it seemed that the sets were well done, the costumes nice, and the composition was nothing special but not really lacking either. The acting was all over the place. Some of the actors were on the far end of the bad spectrum, most were decent, and a few shone. Feldman was not horrible, but was not really good either; a lot of his delivery was laughable – he actually says, “I’m a paranormal investigator!” at one point – and the rest was decent at best. The main characters were all basically ok; there was no one that really made me feel like we were watching public access TV, and only one that really gripped me: Deputy Hendricks. I have previously seen Wilson in THE FIELDS (review here), and he was one of the better performances in that film, but in 6DoH he really excels above all of his peers. The fact that he is above and beyond the best actor in this film may be part of the reason that Feldman fell so flat; in comparison to Wilson (whom he shares 90% of his scenes with), Feldman really does come off nearly amateurish in his performance.

Another bit of creepiness, with a nod to THE EXORCIST. I wish these screen captures could show you just how bad the images were when watching on a big screen!

My big issue with 6DoH – other than, of course, the video quality of the screener I have to judge the film on – was the third act. There are a lot of horror nods in this film, and it is obvious as the film builds that someone that really loves horror was responsible for the script. There are a quite a few recognizable references – I noticed a few myself but if you’re really interested in knowing exactly what they were going for, check out “Changing the Paradigm” on the official site, which explains it all – and a really solid job is done thought the first two acts of building suspense and layering on the creepy factor. Then you get to the third act, in the Hotel, and it all just falls apart. What had been good and creepy just goes to silly and gory at about 1:10 into the film. All pretense of attempting real scares fall away and 6DoH relies on what a haunted house relies on: jump scares and bloody bits. In a haunted house, where there is a real person (often times with a real chainsaw, sans chain) jumping out at you, or you can get an up-close and personal view of some sickening gore, this type of scare works very well. In a film that has spent the majority of its running time building up suspense with a few scary releases here and there, this type of scare on the end feels like a cop out, and it really soured my opinion of the movie as a whole.

And then 6DoH wimps out and just throws in “scary guy with chainsaw,” and “scary clown,” and “scary goth chick with sharpened teeth,” and…

Overall, 6DoH had the potential to be a really good scary movie, even though Corey Feldman is listed as the star (thankfully he’s only in about 5 – 10 minutes of the movie, and only interacts with one character), but it fell quite short of that potential. My opinion may be somewhat skewed because of the video quality of the screener, which often had me wondering just exactly what I was looking at on screen, but that image quality does not hide the fact that the movie’s finale relied way too much on cheap scares instead of the solid work the rest of the film had put in. I think that I would be down to see other things this group of filmmakers put out, as there was such a great chance of 6DoH of being a great movie, and hope that with the next one they stay away from the easy scares and continue to focus on the more subtle creepiness that piqued my attention.

Overall 6 / 10

6DoH on the IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2002789/

6DoH for sale (as of 11/27): (DVD) http://www.shop.breakingglasspictures.com/6-Degrees-of-Hell-DVD-BGP333.htm
(Blu-Ray) http://www.shop.breakingglasspictures.com/6-Degrees-of-Hell-Blu-ray-BGP336.htm

6DoH site: http://www.sixdegreesmovie.com

6 Degrees of Hell (2012)
Original Theatrical Poster
6 Degrees of Hell (2012)
DVD Cover



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