Release Date(s)2021 (March 22, 2022)
Studio(s)Birds Fly Dogs Bark Wind Blows Productions (Well Go USA)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: D
Not every horror film depends on monsters and dark alleys to create terror. In 6:45, the terror arises from reliving the same day, with slight variations, over and over.
Bobby (Michael Reed) and his fiancee, Jules (Augie Duke), visit an off-season seaside town on the remote island of Bog Grove to relax at a bed-and-breakfast, do some sightseeing, and reconnect with each other. The B & B’s eccentric proprietor, Gene Pratt (Armen Garo), is welcoming but his personal hygiene puts them off. The couple’s first morning, the alarm clock goes off at 6:45 and Gene knocks on their door before they have time to get out of bed. They have breakfast and set out to explore the town, get romantic, and enjoy a blissful day.
Bobby proposes and Jules accepts. Shortly thereafter, a mysterious cloaked figure appears, slashes Jules’ neck and then, as Bobby watches in horror, his own neck is broken by the same figure.
Bobby wakes up in a sweat. It was only a dream, and he’s relieved. But he finds the day oddly similar to the previous one, which also ends in the same brutal murders. This goes on repeatedly, the alarm going off regularly at 6:45 each morning. Bobby wants to leave the island but they can’t. Because it’s off-season, the ferry runs only once a week.
We see the story’s progression by onscreen titles, “Day 1,” “Day 2,” etc. As time moves on, only Bobby seems aware of the repetitiveness of events day after day. The violence escalates with every passing day, each neck slashing more bloody than the last. Bobby, in shock, can only watch, helpless, as his girlfriend is butchered and he awaits his own execution. He hesitates to tell Jules about the time loop because of her increasingly violent death in each successive dream, so he must deal with his recurring demons alone. After several attempts to outwit the looping nightmare, Bobby realizes that in exchange for a perfect day, he will have to accept a horrendous end. We learn later that the couple’s dysfunction plays an important role in the bizarre happenings.
Director Craig Singer provides a haunting milieu with overcast skies, nearly deserted streets, and charming picture-perfect houses as he drops hints about Bobby’s character flaws. When the horror hits for the first time, it’s quite shocking, and it retains its impact on subsequent recapitulations. Singer doesn’t replay the murders exactly the same each time; there are variations but the end result is always the same.
The idea of reliving the same day over and over was used memorably in Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day, but 6:45 writer Robert Dean Klein takes the viewer down a markedly different, sinister path. The cycle of terror is largely psychological, rooted in the relationship between Bobby and Jules. Though the premise is intriguing, the two leads have little screen chemistry together. It seems Klein wants us to identify and sympathize with Bobby, but Reed’s bland personality makes it tough.
Gero’s proprietor adds a nice dose of weirdness, serving both to provide exposition about the island and add a touch of impending menace. His performance combines accommodating deference with annoyed condescension. He’s a good character who should have been used more. Because the film focuses almost entirely on Bobby and Jules, there’s a claustrophobic, stagey feel to most of the scenes.
Though the film is only an hour and a half, it seems longer thanks to a sluggish pace and the endlessly repeated day. Singer depends on the mysterious figure and his awful murders to hold the viewer but misses opportunities to enhance the suspense. Well before the denouement, it’s easy to figure out where the film is heading. 6:45 is unsettling and creepy, but it never rises to the level of first-class horror. The payoff is disappointing and it doesn’t reward the viewer’s patience.
6:45 was captured by director of photography Lucas Pitassi digitally and is presented on Blu-ray by Well Go USA Entertainment in the aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The color has a de-saturated look, with outdoor scenes shot mostly under an overcast sky. Pitassi’s cinematography adds a sense of unease, as if something is lurking in the seaside town like a layer of mist, fear, and chill creeping over what was intended to be a romantic getaway. Complexions look natural and the color palette is subdued. Director Craig Singer uses split screen, multiple images, dizzying montages, slow motion, and weird music to disorient and enhance a mood of uneasiness and psychological anguish.
The main soundtrack option is English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with an addition English 2.0 Dolby Digital track as well. Optional English SDH subtitles are available. Dialogue is clear throughout. Kostas Christides’ score adds to the eerie mood and becomes frenetic in a nightmare montage sequence. Unlike many horror film scores, Christie’s dispenses with “scare chords” in favor of subtlety. The alarm clock and Gene’s knocking on the door every morning indicate time repeating itself.
This Blu-ray release contains the following bonus materials:
- Trailer (1:40)
- The Long Night Preview (2:05)
- Unwelcome Preview (2:19)
- Project Gemini Preview (1:50)
6:45 aspires to be more clever than it is. The premise of a day constantly repeating is awkwardly handled. It’s difficult to empathize with cold, wooden characters. Bobby and Jules never seem more than mannequins in a dark tale rather than real, flesh-and-blood individuals. The atmosphere, with palpable eeriness in nearly every frame, is rendered far better than the story and characters.
- Dennis Seuling