Six buried high-school friends, time running out in this post-Saw Australian horror film.
A group of school friends disappear off to a seaside house for a night of drinking, drugtaking and sex. Partway through the night, Brie (Alice Darling) wakes up and she is alone in the house. Her mobile phone rings. A horrible face on her phone (called The Emoticon in the credits) tells her that six of her friends have been buried in six different locations and she has to find them, without calling on parents or police, or they die…
Calling your film 6 Plots and your female lead Brie is just asking for it, so let’s get the obvious joke about this being a cheesy film which can’t manage one good plot, let alone six, out of the way right from the start. 6 Plots is a sub-Saw horror film, though one much less gruesome than its model, which is something you may guess from its 15 certificate (a rather lenient M in its native Australia).
The principal cast are high-school stereotypes to a man or woman, the only thing to distinguish this film from any number of US productions being the cast’s Aussie accents. (The principal location was Williamstown, a suburb of Melbourne.) The plot stretches credibility: quite how the villain managed to bury six people in six boxes in the space of just a few hours is beyond me. There’s some suspense as Brie and her policeman father try to locate the others before The Emoticon disposes of them in various complex ways – all of it broadcast live on the Internet to a watching audience, an irony too hamfisted for this film to stand. Writer/director Leigh Sheehan (in his third feature – I’ve not seen his earlier two) shows some ability in his handling of the horror setpieces, but 6 Plots is too generic and bland for us to care much.
6 Plots is released by Matchbox Films on a single-layered DVD encoded for Region 2 only.
Digitally-captured on the Red camera and shown in Australian cinemas in Scope, 6 Plots has an anamorphically-enhanced transfer. This plays in a ratio of 2.40:1 for the opening and closing credits, 1.78:1 for the rest. As the Red has a native ratio of 1.78:1 (or 16:9) it would not be so bad – though nothing to be encouraged – if a 1.78:1 transfer was open-matte, in other words keeping the picture width but increasing the height. But this disc doesn’t do that – it has taken the theatrical 2.40:1 image and cropped it at the sides. To add insult to injury, the trailer (the disc’s only extra) is in 2.40:1, as can be seen in the following screengrabs, feature first, then the trailer.
This is a sad illustration, that well into the DVD medium’s second decade of existence, Scope films are still being cropped and panned and scanned. (See here for another example.) This escapes a zero for video because this is one of so many modern Scope films that does nothing especially creative with the wider ratio and does remain comprehensible in a way that a film that makes better use of Scope would not be – like the example of Rebel I’ve just linked to. There’s nothing wrong with the transfer in terms of colour and shadow detail, as I would expect a DVD of a recent digital-captured and digital-intermediated feature to be, but this is 2013 and not 1983 and there is no excuse for not releasing a film in its correct ratio.
The soundtrack is Dolby Surround (2.0) – not 5.1 as you would expect for a new film – and virtually monophonic. The surrounds are barely used, not even for the music score, and there’s nothing much in the way of directional sound. There are no subtitles for the hard of hearing.
As already mentioned, the only extra is the trailer (2:13), presented in a ratio of 2.40:1 but non-anamorphically.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
Continue the conversation over on The Digital Fix Forum