This is a super-stylish Spanish horror about a religious maniac ‘purifying’ the unworthy in a dimly-lit former brothel. Antonio Frau has just served a long prison sentence for killing his girlfriend in the heat of a dispute and, as it soon becomes clear, his time inside has not rehabilitated him. During his incarceration, Antonio has inherited The Pension Paraiso – a decrepit brothel – from an aunt, and he puts it to good use as his own abode. He buys a new freezer immediately (clue). On an internet dating service, he meets and marries an innocent woman and is soon living on the straight and narrow, renovating the bordello to its former dismal glory. But old habits die hard and Antonio also runs a little sideline in redemption in room H6…
H6 is an atmospheric masterpiece, bringing to life the faded glory of the old hostel-cum-brothel. The publicity branded it the Spanish answer to Hostel, but that doesn’t do it any favours. Hostel is a shallow plot with a simplistic message, relying on shocking gore to sell tickets. H6 is a thoughtful study of the mind – of a madman scarred by an imperfect childhood and of the dangers of religion. And it delivers the message subtly. There is gore, but much of it is implied rather than in your face.
The psycho-sexual nature of H6 hooked me, as it resonates with the novel I am currently completing together with author Julia Kavan. Only one thing puzzled me: someone tied to a table for a week would either be lying in their own excrement or would need some toilet solution. No answer is forthcoming.
Aside from the mysterious bowels, I highly recommend H6. It’s currently on Lovefilm (UK) streaming but only for a few more days.