This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
To kick off with the ever exciting nomenclature clarification, in Britain at the time of writing this is marketed as H6 – Diary of an Assassin. It’s already on DVD release Stateside, under the frankly more appropriate but perhaps shade too Henry derived H6 – Diary of a Serial Killer. That, however, seems further removed from the original Spanish title, H6: Diario de un asesino. Less frequently it’s referred to as H6: Dairy of an assassin, typically by people typing while their body screams at them to get some sleep already.
Rest assured, this has little or nothing to do with dairies. It also has next to nothing to do with assassins, as we can only really describe Antonio Frau (Fernando Acaso) as a serial killer. Released after a lengthy stint in choky for the murder of his then girlfriend Soledad (Elena Segui), who had the temerity to attempt to break up with his abusive self, he inherits a dilapidated guest house from his aunt. Marrying the woman he’d been corresponding with during his incarceration, Francisca (Maria Jose Bausa), herself not particularly happy with that arrangement but using it as a means to escape her domineering parents, he settles happily into his new career. Not of Fawlty Towers-esque guest house management, but of tying hookers to tables, raping and cutting them up with a chainsaw. Family friendly unit shifter this is not.
It would be nice, or at least unexpected, to report that H6 is a powerful and affecting exploration of the mind of a moonbat fruitcake, but it’s really just a slasher flick. One that eschews the silly orchestral stab based nonsense of teen oriented offerings, but doesn’t really attempt to replace them with any sense of psychological horror. Ah well, can’t have everything.
Putting aside the pretension of this being anything like a serious character study, you wind up with something that sits somewhere between Saw in tone and Hostel in set-up, with a dose of Giallo influences thrown in for the hell of it. On these terms and these terms alone it meets with some success, although as is invariably the case the claims of ‘shocking and extreme’ violence leave me wondering if either the folks who make the claim are crazy or if I am.
Acaso makes for an entertaining resident evil, seeing himself as ‘purifying’ lost souls through his unique brand of probing questioning and equally probing sexual abuse inside the plastic coated walls of room 6 (hence film title, were you wondering). There’s nothing automatically clever about announcing your featured nutter sees himself as being on a mission from God, but it works well enough here.
Basically, H6 winds up being an example of shock cinema that doesn’t shock anyone apart from the easily shocked. If you can ignore this fundamental pointlessness, H6 actually winds up being largely bearable, which is something of a rarity for anything tainted with the horror brush.