Horror is an interesting genre. Done correctly, it has the power to terrify and linger with an audience long after the film has ended. Done poorly, it can frustrate an audience and leave the bored with either the predictability of the story or the complete lack of suspense. It’s a fine line between doing horror right and doing it wrong with horror films coming out of the woodwork every week either in theaters or on video.
Enter 6 Plots, a 2012 teen horror film from Australia, that has an intriguing concept that unfortunately fails to pay off in any way. It’s a clever twist on the Saw genre of torture porn films, but there are a lot of elements missing throughout the film’s narrative that cause it to become less entertaining as the movie plods along.
Horror films tend to deliver a strong female protagonist whom the audience can empathize with at the start of the film. Whether it’s Laurie Strode in Halloween of Sydney Prescott in Scream, it’s important that we as an audience have a lead character that we are ready to take a journey with through the horror that is about to commence. In 6 Plots we are given Brie (Alice Darling) who is part of the “It” crowd at her school and is also into partying, drinking, and drugs. She has no tragic backstory that causes us to empathize with her, she’s just one of the popular kids like the other six of her friends whom she joins for a weekend party at a beach house.
Upon waking in the aforementioned – but now darkened – beach house, Brie quickly discovers that all of her friends have been taken and buried in wooden boxes by a mysterious person who contacts her with a demented talking smiley on her phone with two rules: no parents, no authorities. If either of those get introduced into the mix, her friends will start to die. The killer uses technology to live-stream the fates of each of Brie’s friends to her as she struggles to find them before it’s too late. Oh, and they all have their phones so they can communicate with each other. And the killer is live-streaming their fates to the world as well.
The issue here is that it’s a clever concept that lacks any real suspense. I think it’s mainly because we have no vested interest in any of the characters. We know them as a group of popular kids who party, but we have no other real information about them. I know, I know, it’s a horror movie and they’re just bodies to be counted as the death toll increases. I get it. The problem here is that they aren’t really presented as good people so their deaths are not as shocking or traumatic for the audience as they probably should be.
Now, as a fan of the Saw franchise, I enjoy seeing the contraptions made by Jigsaw actually brought to life as time runs out for his victims. It’s what makes those films work. Here, each victim is trapped in a box and meets a similar fate through confinement. While the method of death may change, there’s no real change in how they die. They just do since they can’t really do much else. As Brie rushes to save the day and gather clues as to where they are and who remains, I found myself losing interest since the deaths became more repetitive than clever.
So, let’s talk about the finale, which also lacked any cathartic moment, no true revelation as to who the killer was and what their motive in doing all of this truly was, either. Granted, we do get a general idea as to who and possibly why, but it would have been nice to be given an idea how the killer pulled off such an amazing feat as drugging seven people, dragging six out of the beach house, sealing all six in wooden boxes, burying them throughout the city in a specific pattern, then making sure each box had a unique death attached to it via remote. Whew! Hope the killer had some help!
There’s also no vindication for those that remain alive. Even the final moments of the film where we do get a hint as to who the real killer was lack any real heft that would make us think a huge twist had just been revealed. I wanted more, and got much less.
To their credit, the filmmakers did create a visually dynamic world in which their film takes place, and the concept is solid. Also the use of the most advances tech by the killer was pretty impressive. It is in the overall execution of the film’s story that things falter and derail.
I wanted to like 6 Plots. I was excited when I saw the DVD cover that touted it as “Buried Meets Saw.” However, the end result was more anti-climactic TV movie, or mundane episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager or even BBC’s Skins than gritty and gory horror.
Special Features include The Making of 6 Plots.
6 Plots is available now on DVD and Digital Download.
What’s your favorite scary movie? Leave a comment and let us know!