Bobby and Jules seek to fix their broken relationship with a vacation to the island resort town of Bog Grove after a big fight about Bobby’s suspected infidelity. The off-season island is strangely quiet with hardly any tourists roaming the shops and boardwalk. The couple stay at the Cozy Nook bed and breakfast, owned and operated by an eccentric host, Gene, whose more personally invasive than he is hospitable, yet everything else feels like a dream for both Jules and Bobby reconnecting to what is lost between them until a hooded man slices Jules’s throat and snaps Bobby’s neck. Next thing Bobby knows, he becomes awoken by a 6:45 am alarm and feeling relieved that the horrific moment was only a dream, but when the events exactly play out as they did in his dream and he dies again the same way only to wake up again at 6:45 am, he, and he alone, realizes he and Jules are trapped inside a time loop driving him to face a different, more grim reality.
Ah, yes. The time loop genre. An alternate dimension where reliving the same day over and over again without a new path of escape on the horizon had established a foundation of fear beginning with Bill Murray starring in the Harold Ramis directed comedy “Groundhog Day” and has more recently been a executed (pun intended!) delightfully in the Christopher Landon cycling slasher “Happy Death Day.” Well, here we are again, as if we ourselves are stuck in a time loop, with another rinse and repeat picture titled “6:45” from the “Perkins’ 14” director, Craig Singer. “6:45” will mark as screenwriter Robert Dean Klein and Singer’s fourth collaboration in their respective roles and their first feature together in 15 years following 2001’s “Dead Dogs Lie,”, 2003’s “A Good Night to Die,” and 2008’s “Dark Ride.” The fictional locale of Bog Grove is actually multiple locations up and down the new Jersey Shore from Ocean Grove to the Seaside Heights, showcasing a few local hangouts and attractions of the upper Jersey shore of Ocean County. “6:45” is coproduced between the director and the films’ stars Augie Duke and Michael Reed under the Birds Fly Dogs Bark Wind Blows productions.
Augie Duke must need a vacation because “6:45” makes the second getaway horror where one of Duke’s previous characters vacations at the Jersey Shore following the Cape May-shot psychological thriller “Exit 0” alongside sojourning costar Gabe Fazio. While there are parallels between the two Jerseyan films, Singer’s very own holiday in Hell is set on repeat and poor Augie Duke has to continuously have her throat cut more than a handful of times as the romance-question Jules, but being a quietly discreet scream queen of indie film (“The Black Room,” “Hell’s Kitty,” and “Necropolis: Legion”), the L.A. born Duke can handle a simple boxcutter to the juggler. Opposite of Duke, playing a recovering alcoholic musician in Bobby, is an equal match for indie horror credits to his name with Michael Reed (“The Disco Exorcist,” “Exhumed,” and “Subferatu”). Duke and Reed play nice as a happy couple on the rebound but as death and the date never ends, the strain between them grows with intensity every cycle as Reed has been the outlier in remembering every moment of his girlfriend’s death and the helplessness he feels in the inability to stop it no matter what route he tries. Creepy characters a peppered throughout just to make more peeving towards Reed tumble drying recollection of events from the Cozy Nook’s nosy nuisance of a host Gene (Armen Garo, “The Manor,” “Coda”), the drunk lesbian Brooklyn (Sasha K. Gordon), and the shadowy, silent man (Joshua Matthew Smith) who’s a representation of the incessant range and has one job of slicing throats and breaking necks. Remy Ma, Sabina Friedman-Seitz, The 45 King, Allie Marshall, and Windows, himself, from “The Thing” Thomas G. Waites co-star in the film.
“6:45” has a story that can easily wrap you up initially and have you invested in a couple burdened by their love-hate relationship. To lure you in more, that light-and-dark balance tilts more toward the latter in a dangerous askew manner and love morphs into a blinding obsession to where anything is possible, making that narrative of a volatile human chemistry cocktail needing to be told as straightforwardly as humanly possible. Singer works diligently on keeping Reed and Jules on that track of an askew reality revolving around the historical mysteries of a bruised romance that include infidelity, alcohol abuse, and even violence, but Singer keeps close to the chest in not unveiling the true nature of Bobby’s repetitive retreat on what should have been the best day the newfound happy couple’s lives after rekindling and taking next steps to marriage with an island proposal that’s seen as Bobby’s good faith effort in turning around his life for the better because of his love for Jules. Yet, out of nowhere, the established linear narrative takes an unexpected montage turn in style, blending the couple’s past, present, and future all in one Brady Bunch grid mixed with even more flashbacks and repeated scenes that tries to explain more of Bobby’s checkered, playboy background and hand over emotional stress of repeating everyday like a persistent and noisy street hawker trying desperately to hand you pamphlets. Yet, the repeated days stay sequential after Bobby’s next death and so Bobby and Jules die more than a dozen or so times, but the next title card follows in sequential order (but aren’t they also reliving the same day so wouldn’t be day 2 over and over again). “6:45” attempts unnecessary stylistic approaches to keep the story fresh because no one wants to see the same thing over and over again and that’s perhaps where Robert Dean Klein collapses in the second act that inevitably bled to a total meltdown of story in the third act in trying to connect the time of 6:45 am to an important event with an end result of just leaving us more bewildered about the reference. The gist of Bobby and Jules’ downfall is clear, but how Singer takes us there is a pothole-laden path with lots of senseless bumps along the way.
This off-season, Jersey shore, psychological thriller really casts a dark cloud over the sunny good times usually offered for vacationers. “6:45” is the shark roaming just offshore in that feeling of fearful uncertainty of what lurks about. Well Go Use Entertainment releases the Craig Singer film onto a region A Blu-ray home video, presented in a widescreen 16X9 aspect ratio, and is rated R for strong violence and gore, sexual content, nudity, and language throughout. Cinematographer Lucas Pitassi casts a fairly natural image, clearly sharp and texturally above par in Well Go Usa’s high-definition Blu-ray release. While much of the gels and abnormal lighting comes more into play at the tail end of the film, “6:45” offers a more than just a paradoxical effect on the mind but also on the sight of seeing what should be a joyfully hopping with out-of-town patrons and vividly bright with beach sun resort town turned into a cold and dreary Hell by the ocean. The English language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 had some issues with inconsistent dialogue levels that were, at times, muffled without just cause. Perhaps, the cause was more boom placement or interference of some sort. The soundtrack by Kostas Christides has a smoother quality while creating tense atmospherics where needed and ascending into rock instrumental for those black sheep montages and flashbacks. English SDH subtitles are an available option. On the variable-trailer-esque menu, there are no bonus features nor are there any bonus scenes during or after the credits on this barebones release. The cardboard slipcover, of the repeated Blu-ray cover art, is a flat, smooth matte that nicely sheathes the snapper case. “6:45’s” thrills and chills literally emanate a no time to die mantra disillusioned by guilt and death and the only slither of hope out of purgatory is to come clean, but if it was only that simple – in life and in Craig Singer’s film.