A group of narcissistic but neurotic models and a secretary looking for a change in direction find themselves outside an old warehouse where they’ve been told to meet for a catwalk audition. Some of them have history with each other and tensions are rising even before they get inside the building. Once inside, though, things get worse as the dilapidated lift is scrawled with ominous graffiti and quotes that unnerve the group more. It takes several attempts to actually get the elevator to reach the right floor, as it seems to have a mind of its own.
There’s also some previous history with a couple of the models - a not particularly nice encounter at that. When they finally get into the warehouse, they discover why they are really there and what role the ‘actor’ who has been hired as the MC has to play in everything.
Taking its cue from the Saw films, 6 Models in Hell is a cheaply-made film but is bolstered by its enthusiastic (if not altogether likable) array of characters and an admirable moral stance, even though some of the subjects tackled are a quite sensitive and certainly will upset some viewers. Most of the first half takes place with the group trying to actually get into their audition, and this is where the in-fighting aids the tension-building as we are never quite sure what direction the story is going to go. However, there’s no way the most obnoxious of the models are going to finish the film in one piece that’s for sure!
Despite the low-budget, this is a surprisingly well put-together film. The characterisation brought about by the long build-up helps greatly, and by the time we get to the ‘payback’ sections, we’re certainly rooting for the antagonist rather than the models. There’s a genuine sense of claustrophobia in the elevator scenes, but this dissipates once we get into the second half of the film. While it’s fun to see each vacuous model receives their just deserts in some very painful and terrible ways, it’s here where the lack of funds rears its head most. Although it plays perfectly fine without any excess gore, we can’t help but think a bit more claret could have been spilled. These scenes are also shot far too brightly, losing some feeling of mood and intrigue.
6 Models in Hell is certainly one to check out providing you go in with an open mind and are prepared to overlook some shortcomings. As a taster for what the talented cast and crew could do, however, it’s a great calling card.
6 MODELS IN HELL (2012) / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: SIMI VAN SCOY / SCREENPLAY: TONY SLADE, SANORA JEAN / STARRING: TONY SLADE, KRISHNA TAILOR, JOSE ROSETE, JENNIFER RENÉE PRICE, NIKIYA PALOMBI, ERICA SABEN, JOALE NORRIS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW