Three seemingly different people, all whom have some sort of tie with the supernatural world, find their lives intertwined as dark forces converge at the local haunted house.
"I'm gonna give you some advice, okay? Keep it under a-million-and-half, get one name actor and if you go straight to DVD, you might break even." - Bruce Campbell
It's kind of amazing how a simple joke from "My Name Is Bruce" can be spot on when describing certain movies in the world of low-budget horror. Except I don't know if they break even or not but that's not the point I was looking to make or what I wanted to insulate. Then why am I still talking? I. Don't. Know.
"6 Degrees of Hell" is a lil' indie movie that's been tearing up the scene by having over 100k 'likes' on their Facebook page and a little over 2 million views on the trailer. However, for me, much like "Dust Up", I hadn't heard of the movie until I had the press release show up in my inbox from Breaking Glass Pictures. And again, I've watched far too many low-to-no budget horror movies to have "6 Degrees of Hell" flicker any interest with me. I didn't know for sure but I had a pretty good guess as to how this movie was going to turn out, and after watching the screener, I feel I was spot on with those initial judgments.
"6 Degrees of Hell" is essentially about how the paranormal and dark supernatural world affects three characters: a paranormal investigator haunted by his sister's mysterious a death, a young woman with psychic abilities who's plagued by demons and the owner of a haunted house who is bringing haunted artifacts into the show as an attempt to add atmosphere. These characters unwittingly create a supernatural perfect storm at the Hotel of Horror where an unimaginable evil will be unleashed.
At least, that is my best guess as to what "6 Degrees of Hell" was suppose to be about. The movie has a decent idea behind it but somewhere from the script, to the final product, the story and proper development of the story got lost. It seems that people like to point their fingers at the script when a story isn't very good or has problems with it. With "6 Degrees of Hell" I don't know if it was a bad script, if there were issues during production (not getting to shoot the scenes they needed) or if it was in post production. But the story is a complete mess, the separate storylines are very poorly merged together and in general the movie lacks all sense of pacing and flow.
It's typical to have subplots in a movie but at some point they have to converge with the main storyline for anything to work. With "6 Degrees of Hell" it all chunks up; it moves in blocks instead of having a smooth and natural flow to it. The separate storylines for the characters don't come together properly -- they're forced together because they have to be. Writers say if a story is good it'll write itself but with "6 Degrees of Hell" it felt like they weren't able to find a reason to bring these characters together so they said, "Well, let's just have this happen and that will cause the interaction between these sets of characters and then we can move on." The reasoning is flimsy and the logic isn't there -- things happen just to happen and to make the movie move along to the climax. Because of that the pacing becomes jerky. There should be a flow, the progression should be, "this happens, so this happens, which causes this to happen, etc." Instead it moves along more like, "this happens, and then this happens, and then this happens."
It's not a question of it being a "thinking man's horror movie" or one where you "have to pay attention" like it's being pushed as. "6 Degrees of Hell" is an insanely basic and simple horror movie which makes the failing storylines and inability to find a natural rhythm kind of frustrating and irritating when you're watching it. The movie can't even make up its mind as to what timeline it wants to run on as it constantly jumps between the present and the past and causes things to become even more muddled.
I think the reason why the subplots don't properly tie in together and why the movie overall has a problem telling a story is because it's all built off the climax. There are just some movies that you can tell where the writers had the ending, and then went backwards from that. To me, "6 Degrees of Hell" very much came off like that. The whole movie is built off of a real haunted house (from where ever the movie was shot) and then built off the idea of the characters within that haunted house actually killing the people in attendance. The motivation of the main characters, both protagonists and antagonists (the demon's motivation for doing everything that he did in the movie is down right silly), never makes sense or is justified. Everything was meant to get everybody into this one location just so they can have a haunted house massacre. And the climax certainly wasn't a good enough of a pay off to endure the rest of the movie.
Then there's Corey Feldman's character who is also obviously wedged into the movie just so they could have a name actor in the movie. His character actually doesn't have a purpose (all he does is help move the story along and try to fill in the holes, which doesn't help this movie at all) -- he's literally there just so "6 Degrees of Hell" could have a name to it. And the reason it's obvious is because if you were to pull him out and pull his scenes out, you'd still have the exact same movie. Feldman is used in the movie strictly for publicity; they get to promote the movie by riding the coattails of his name, but also use him in a way where there won't be a strain on the budget.
Personally, I was actually amazed at how bad "6 Degrees of Hell" was because the writer responsible for this was also responsible for "The Fields" which I thought was quite excellent. Again, I don't know what caused the movie to be as bad as it was ("It took the whole team working together to lose this one.") as there seemed to be so many problems. The movie or the project, whatever you want to call it, had a lot of ideas and wanted to do so many things with the story -- toss in a little bit of this and that. As a result, it created a mess of a movie that quite surprises me that Breaking Glass Pictures decided to be the one to release it. I would consider "6 Degrees of Hell" to be an okay first time amateur effort at a horror movie that would be more suited for the likes of Brain Damage Films.