Fans of Horny Cinema will have a complicated experience with the 2021 movie 6:45. The film kicks off with two sex scenes within the first 10 minutes, and there’s even more skin throughout the 93-minute runtime, but director Craig Singer and screenwriter Robert Dean Klein don’t rely on traditional erotic thriller tropes. Instead, the filmmakers explore an individual’s struggle to accept the consequences of his shitty behavior, resulting in a nightmarish tale that unfortunately has too many thematic similarities to the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day and the 2017 Blumhouse hit Happy Death Day.
6:45 stars Michael Reed and Augie Duke as Bobby Patterson and Jules Rable, respectively. The couple plans a weekend getaway at an island resort called Bog Grove, and they soon notice that something’s not quite right within the community. For one, it’s mostly empty — a big red flag. Two, their resort manager Gene (Armen Garo) makes disturbing statements about past guests and seems to perform like he’s hosting a late-night horror screening. As Bobby explores the island, he finds out that he’s living in a time loop — one that involves Jules being slashed to death, every day, by a pale-faced baddie. 6:45 follows Bobby as he investigates the rules of the nightmarish realm and tries to escape.
There’s a strong message at the heart of 6:45, in terms of accountability and psychological trauma, but the film seems derivative of genre predecessors and unfocused as a whole. For example, it’s a bold move to begin with dual sex scenes and then stray from the erotic element. Early bedroom moments remind of almost every modern indie about conflicted couples, and the horror twist involving a hooded slasher doesn’t feel viscerally impactful because of the recycled premise. However, most of the literal killer sequences do indeed stand out. Interior scenes have a wonderful green-black color palette, while the violent exterior sequences are anything but tame. The focal baddie doesn’t exist merely to affect the conceptual premise — vacation, die, repeat — but 6:45 would’ve benefitted from more horror and gore, as opposed to repeatedly reminding viewers that Bobby has some psychological issues to address.
Overall, I like 6:45’s ambition. Even though Singer and company check off various genre elements, the collective performances make the experience worthwhile. Reed carries the film from act to act, and delivers some impressive acting moments as Bobby tries to understand what the F is happening inside his mind. In addition, Garo – a veteran of The Sopranos — kills it as the passive-aggressive resort manager who is just begging to get knocked out. As for Duke, it feels like she gets left behind with the material, as her character has multiple sex scenes and gets killed over and over without adding much to the story. A final act twist does indeed reveal why Jules has such a rough experience in 6:45, but some viewers may take issue with the overall handling of the character.
Now streaming in Regal Cinemas, 6:45 should’ve committed to the killer bit. The scenes featuring the focal slasher are terrifying and stylish, but the filmmakers shift back and forth to a romance-themed subplot that simply won’t appeal to moviegoers who value originality over modern spins of past flicks. 6:45 concludes with a powerful WTF sequence that adds some extra weight, yet it’s not hard to imagine victims of physical abuse rolling their eyes and immediately moving on from the experience.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.