Independent Film Review: 6 Degrees of Hell (2012)

Breaking Glass Pictures
(DVD release: Nov. 27, 2012
Runtime: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Joe Raffa
Writer: Harrison Smith
Starring: Corey Feldman, Jill Whelan,
Brian Anthony Wilson
6 Degrees of Hell takes place in a Northern Pennsylvania town at a place called “Uncle Jack’s Hotel of Horror,” run by the owner, “Uncle Jack” (Brian Gallagher). He and his two friends “Chris” (David J. Bonner) and “Kellen” (Joe Raffa) unintentionally release dark forces that seize control of the staff when they bring in haunted objects from a psychic’s house to be used as tourist attractions. They don’t believe that the items are legit or that hauntings are real (of course).

While this is going on, a well-known TV ghost hunter (Kyle Patrick Brennan) is on his own quest to confront the evil that was responsible for his sister’s (Nikki Bell) gruesome murder years earlier. The search puts him in the path of a rogue police chief (Faust Checho) and a girl named “June” (Nicole Cinaglia). The girl is sought after by the forces of evil due to her abundance of “energy.” This draws out paranormal investigator “Kyle Brenner” (Corey Feldman) who is coolly smoking an ecig when we meet him while talking to another police officer, “Deputy Hendricks” (Brian Anthony Wilson) who was a witness to the unfolded terrors.

But let’s not get lost in details you won’t care about. All you need to know is that 1) the film is a bad attempt at playing on any memories you may have of horrifying Halloween fun houses. And 2) Corey Feldman is in it and he, not surprisingly, is being used to promote it—even though his character is totally irrelevant to the plot.

6 Degrees of Hell does quite well at being an example of what happens when a self-driven and intelligent duo like director Joe Raffa, with writing help from Harrison Smith (writer of The Fields), get to make a movie: it is good and scary to them only and the story only ever really makes sense to them in all of its gratuitous details.

The project is so rippled with confusing overlays and material that it didn’t need that even when we want to be sucked in by its successfully done atmospheric horror and skin-crawling gore – and some very creatively executed murder scenes – we are put off by its muddled script. This is a continual problem, one that makes this feel like a horror soap opera (just with no eroticism or much of a drive to make us want to learn more about anyone).

Even the characters that we begin to relate to lack the necessary dimensions. The only authentic-feeling character here is Brian Anthony Wilson's. His single-minded vision of who he is supposed to be playing makes him stand out.

But let’s not ask for too much. 6 Degrees of Hell has a story. It’s just a fat, red, and swollen ankle of a story that someone fell down and twisted and may need a doctor to look at. The acting, particularly the delivery of lines, is generally above the canned-sounding norms of a lot of indie flicks.

As stated, Feldman’s part is irrelevant. What little he puts in is “6 degrees” from insulting. Ultimately, the film is a horror movie more grating and annoying than it is scary. I am so sick of this lack of focus in indies that otherwise could have made something of the story buried underneath. D+