Day 1. “Where are all the people?”, Jules (Augie Duke) remarks with her boyfriend, Bobby (Michael Patterson) in tow. They’ve just arrived in quiet Bog Grove at an AirBnB run by the creepy Gene (Armen Garo) to take a vacation to get away from everything. The two lovebirds haven’t been blissful of late. However, this is an opportunity to get back on the same page. Explore the city, make memories, and let unsaid bygones be bygones.
As their magical and life-changing day 1 comes to an end, tragedy strikes. Jules is fatally slashed, and Bobby is brutalized by an unknown assailant. An unfortunate way to go out, except they don’t? Bobby wakes up on Day 2 at 6:45AM with the feeling that he’s already lived this day before. What is really going on here?
There have been many a movie that have turned out to be great with less than optimal opening scenes. Starting with a false start isn’t a death kneel, but it does put a movie behind the 8 ball and can sometimes be an ill omen. In 6:45, director Craig Singer curiously begins with a fairly lengthy sex scene, a great way to introduce the two lead characters the audience will be spending heavy time with. Surprisingly, that is not the only scene of intercourse, and both feel symptomatic of a larger issue of 6:45: missing cohesion and awkward/unnecessary filmmaking decisions.
An obvious comparison for the film is Groundhog Day—the director has said as much. The cleaner comp is Happy Death Day, a feature that lifted the live through this day repeatedly template and applied it to a horror/mystery scenario. In 6:45, Singer has created a mildly interesting visual playground to set the story around in Bog Grove, and the stretch of runtime before the loop officially begins carries the best total direction of the feature. Whether those aforementioned films or something like Palm Springs or Live. Die. Repeat (aka Edge of Tomorrow), montages in these often go a long way in providing more nuggets of story details and/or just serving as moments of levity—there is always an element of self-awareness present in the majority of time loop films.
That self-awareness doesn’t exist in 6:45, mainly because it seems to be uncertain as to what kind of movie it is. Horror? Thriller? Drama? Mystery? Look at its main poster which looks like equal parts of a demon worship, haunted house and 70’s fantasy (Phantasm says hello) feature with a horrid tagline to boot. Obviously, it is absolutely none of those things.
At its best, 6:45 feels like a metaphor for the importance of communication in a relationship; the lack of it can and will kill your significant other, maybe not immediately, but repeatedly time and time again. Issue is, Singer and writer Robert Dean Kline set up pieces of town backstory and prominent characters only for them to go nowhere; why set a story and say the town has a dark past when that past has no bearing in how the story unfolds? Why is Gene so creepy yet ultimately inconsequential? How do certain townsfolk of Bog Grove seemingly know more about Jules and Bobby’s dark past than humanly possible?
Some—not all, but some—of these questions could have been answered with clearer editing. The final act of 6:45 is not that, deluged with poor extended montages with no specifics of elapsed time (so much back and forth seems to span at least 25 days and then its revealed to be only one day?), a fuzzy POV, and cumbersome transitions. Maybe it would have landed better if the last 10 or so minutes had a bit of foreshadowing as to what Kline and Singer are suggesting. As presented, the “resolution” is flimsy at best, far-fetched at worst. The two leads aren’t scintillating, but it is hard to fault them too much as it is difficult to see anyone succeeding with this material.
Much like micro-thrillers, infinite time-loop films have become their own genre and can, if done competently, scratch an itch. Rather than viewing 6:45 for one time, most viewers would have a better time returning to subgenre staples.
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