6 Plots does not a creditable movie make. Any hopes that the title’s double meaning might deliver a smartly woven, multi-stranded horror flick are decidedly short-lived.

The singularly thin plot involves a gaggle of Australian high schoolers convening at a drug and booze-fuelled party. They black out soon after things hot up, only to wake separated and entombed in makeshift coffins with no memory of what happened.

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Cyber-geek Brie (Alice Darling) seems to have been spared, until she receives an evil smiley message challenging her to a game - find and save her friends before it’s too late. The rules: no parents, no authorities.

What should follow is a twist of sorts on the Saw franchise, or at least one of Jigsaw’s many subsequent pretenders. Instead, we get an excruciatingly dull rip off that fails to deliver, let alone respect any nuances or tropes of the genre. From the off, the ‘down with the teens’ dialogue is awful and leads to staccato exposition delivered in stilted performances. This is a pole apart from the workshopped credibility of Attack The Block or the smarts of say Donnie Darko, The Faculty, or, indeed, Wes Craven’s Scream.

The young cast are game, given that they have barely sketched stereotypes to work with and spend most of their time in boxes spouting into their phones. Still, there is hardly a true note struck and since we are given no reason to like, let alone care for them, there is simply no tension surrounding their imperiled survival.

Brie and her friends quickly break both the rules and the flaws tumble on after them. Continuity bumps, substandard audio, an irritating synth soundtrack from several decades ago and timid, unconvincing grue are just a few of the film's problems. They seem to have been sacrificed for a budgetary splash on a few sweeping helicopter shots of speeding vehicles and a misplaced CGI mascot cackle. Most irritating are the lapses in logic, making both Brie’s deductions and the sheer practicalities of the would-be villain’s efforts utterly implausible.

6 Plots does embrace the ubiquitous mobile technology of its young protagonists. Everyone has a smart phone, they stream their party live to the web, the killer controls everything from a tablet, and everyone’s ordeal is broadcast live. Rather than sidestep the question of why doesn’t someone just telephone for help, or retro-fit the story to a time before mobiles (The House Of The Devil springs to mind), the film places this all front and centre. Intermittently, they can all call and shriek to each other and watch as one of them is permanently cut off. Yet, without anything more meaningful to bind them together, people in different places talking on phones and clacking on laptops is inherently undramatic.

There may be a comment about using the internet for vicarious, responsibility-free entertainment, or a moral about how people are exposing so much of their lives on the web to attack and recrimination, but there is nothing so engaging buried among these shallow plots.

Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2013
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6 Plots packshot
A high-school kid finds herself embroiled in a deadly game after her friends are buried alive.
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Director: Leigh Sheehan

Writer: Tim C Patterson

Starring: Alice Darling, Ryan Corr, Penelope Mitchell, Joey Coley-Sowry, Emily Wheaton, Eliza Taylor, Damian Harrison

Year: 2012

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Australia


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