By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
When Corey Feldman finally appears in 6 Degrees of Hell, you might feel hope. "I'm just a deputy," a cop tells him. "And I'm just a paranormal investigator," Feldman shoots back. At that, you'll probably scoot forward in your seat. From the neck up, this paranormal investigator looks like what you'd get if you asked an Applebee's executive to design a tough-guy mascot for extreme jalapeño poppers. He's got the five-o'clock shadow, short bleached hair except for a single foot-long strand artfully cultivated to hang in his face, and an e-cigarette that allows him to peer through clouds of smoke and attempt mysterious poses without risking cancer.
Directors take note: Only use e-cigarettes if you want your character to appear slightly fey. Robert Mitchum would not vape.
Feldman, sadly, is one of the few things in the movie that pops. If you look at the poster and say to yourself, "Yes, I would like to see a horror movie with Corey Feldman getting top billing in 2012," you are doing so because the movie implicitly promises that there will be a certain amount of insanity and cheese. You are probably looking for a good-bad movie. Here, that's not what you get.
Against Feldman the other characters are dial tones: attractive young people who aren't given much to do and whose stories are told via often-incomprehensible flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks. In separate incidents, someone accidentally calls up a demon, a haunted-house attraction becomes the site of a breakthrough to another dimension, and demonically possessed objects are collected in a psychic's living room. All of these threads are tied together with coincidence piling on coincidence, like Magnolia by way of Wes Craven. That might sound fun, but the film's structure is so convoluted, the trick never works. We don't even know the story is a flashback until almost 15 minutes in when Feldman appears, when he should have been the framing device from the start.
It's only in the bloody finale in that haunted-house attraction that the story finally matches Feldman's character for craziness. It's a shame he never gets to step foot inside the place. Peter Rugg
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