What struck me most about Six Days to Die was its fearlessness in being something different. It’s highly stylized, and often I felt as though I was watching a graphic novel spring to life. Six Days to Die is an exciting, innovative, fantastical sci-fi western. This genre-bending film may not be for everyone, but the ones it’s for will love it. It features a rich, fully-realized world with unforgettable characters. If you enjoy emblematic, epic stories like “The Dark Tower,” are a fan of Westerns, have spent hours playing Red Dead Redemption 2, or enjoy highly-stylized productions — this is definitely a film you don’t want to miss.
This isn’t writer / director Matthew Campagna’s first foray into his “6 Verse,” but the story and production of Six Days to Die is so well-designed it didn’t matter that I hadn’t seen its predecessor, Six Reasons Why. Six Days to Die opens on a man known only as The Gambler (Darryl Hinds), as he makes his way through a punishing, viscerally familiar (yet surreal) landscape. He drags a heavy, skin-biting chain as he limps his way eastward. That’s all you need to know. The story unfolds as he navigates a cruel, punishing desert. Not far behind him is a person known as The Marshal (Melissa D’Agostino), who is quickly established to be as bloodthirsty and ruthless as she is relentless in her pursuit eastward. When The Gambler encounters The Boy (Ellery Miki-Petite) in a strange oil town, The Gambler comes to realize he has several tough decisions to make.
The biggest selling point for me with any film is its ability to create and maintain a compelling world, and to follow its rules – and Six Days to Die excels at its world-building. Every element of the production’s design is done in such a way it contributes to the mood and visual language of the story. In addition to its rich visual language, Six Days to Die has sound design and music that adds effective soundscapes to the story.
The costumes are particularly exquisite and detailed – from the design of the Marshal’s deep red ‘hero coat’ to The Gambler’s brocade suit, and including a particularly lovely and sparkly dress, each piece tells a story of its own and adds to the character. I am sure costume designer Vanessa Lee Wishart spent a lot of time stressing over the choices, but the results are sublime.
The performances are evocative and interesting. Darryl Hinds at The Gambler is sympathetic, mysterious, and charmingly funny. Melissa D’Agostino gives a powerful, magnetic performance as The Marshal – her presence is felt even in the scenes she’s not in. Once I met her, thoughts of her relentless character were never far from my mind. Ellery Miki-Petite’s performance is dynamic and interesting. Colm Feore brings the necessary gravitas and force to his character, named ‘The Man in Black.’
I had an amazing time watching Six Days to Die and enjoyed the story so much I immediately wanted more. If you enjoy movies where it feels as if each frame is a work of art within itself, or want a good Western told in an innovative way, you’ll enjoy Six Days to Die.
To find out more about Six Days to Die, you can look at its website at http://www.6d2d.com/ or by following 6Days2Die on Twitter or 6Days2Die on Instagram. Even more exciting, if you want to be able to see this movie on the big screen (and boy would I ever recommend it!), it will be screening as part of the Indie Discovery LA Film Series at The Laemmle Theater in Glendale.