6 Plots (2012)

The tone of 6 Plots is really set in stone from the very beginning, with it’s opening line consisting of a question that will come back to haunt the viewer time and time again. Just what is the collective noun for a group of bitches?

All kidding aside, this movie was my third journey into Australian horror, and sat somewhere in the middle of the different ends of the spectrum that I have experienced. For the sake of context, I should say that the other two flicks were the truly awful Body Melt (featuring Neighbours’ Harold Bishop as a mad scientist) and the wonderfully creepy photoshop-em-up Lake Mungo.

6 Plots is the cautionary tale of seven students of a high school that I imagine is in a fictional suburb of Melbourne, who, after a hedonistic party of booze, drugs and bluetooth-ing, become the playthings of a sadistic maniac, who traps six of them in ironically located (that special kind of serial killer irony, where the daughter of the fire chief is covered in petrol) wooden boxes. Our villain then tasks the most brunette of the group to find and save them, all the while communicating to them via a creepy, yet poorly designed avatar. To say that the plot borrows heavily from other franchises would be something of an understatement.

The whole thing comes of like a weird collision of horror/thriller and Australian soap opera, perhaps brought about by it’s resemblance to a PG version of Saw, with a few Ramsey Street Alumni thrown in for good measure.

Before I get too hooked on bashing it though, the movie is not without its good points. The acting is, for the most part, fairly decent, and the ensemble cast has some nice chemistry, which makes the opening scenes feel natural in a sort of Dawson’s Creek-with-swearing kind of a way. The writing isn’t awful either, and for the most part flows pretty well.

The big let down for me though was this: for a horror movie, 6 Plots is just too tame. The boxes in which the kids are confined don’t look small enough to invoke a terrifying sense of claustrophobia, and what little gore there is more closely resembles CSI style aftermath than the kind of splatter that a modern horror audience would crave. There is also some really clunky commentary on social networking and internet voyeurism that is more buzzwordy than observational. It falls equally flat if viewed as a traditional thriller, as the pace is too slow, and the buildup of tension is practically non-existent. The ‘twist’ ending was also particularly weaksauce, and was pretty evident from the first scene.

It’s not a terrible movie, but could definitely have been more than it is with some tighter editing and a bit more gore. On the plus side, it’s nice to see Janae Timmins is still getting work.

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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