Victim No. 6
30 Jan 2022
Heather Brittain O'Scanlon, Russ Russo. Rachel Farrar
Director Nancy Menagh drags viewers into the seedy seventies in Victim No.6, a thriller mystery set in a New York City terrorised by a serial killer.
Friends Donna (Heather Brittain O’Scanlon) and Judy (Rachel Farrar) debate whether to head to a local bar. Reports of a brutal serial killer fill the front pages, but Donna convinces Judy to have a drink after a rough week. As Judy flirts with a friend, Donna is left alone. She soon attracts the attention of creepy Bruce (Craig Mungavin), but is rescued by handsome and charming Mark (Russo Russo). But as the pair bond, is there a dark side to the men she has met?
Victim No. 6 is an engaging and illusive thriller that audiences will be enthralled by. Central to its story is the overarching threat that the infamous killer could be anyone we are introduced to, and director Nancy Menagh does a wonderful job building tension throughout the piece – reminding viewers of the danger that could be lurking behind every corner. Characters who initially appear to be predictable stereotypes gradually reveal unexpected depth – and experiencing this creates and effective unease whilst watching.
The film is brilliantly designed and expertly plants audiences firmly in 1970s New York – a dangerous place at the best of times. The bar itself has a threatening aura, and despite a friendly welcome from the owner, danger itself seems to embody the location. The characters themselves are also of their time. Sleaze practically radiates from Bruce’s garish suit, and Mark’s powerful moustache would give Tom Selleck a run for his money. The barman’s Pink Floyd t-shirt however? A little too on the nose.
A critical view of sexism and misogyny is encoded as the key theme of the film. The unquestioned notion that women ought to be scared and staying at home for their own safety is deconstructed – as is the press’ inclination to spread scare stories and sensationalise murders when it is perceived that women, and certain types of women, are the only victims. The director turns viewer’s assumptions on their heads more than once, and forces audience members to question their own assumptions about both the men and the women portrayed.
The film does somewhat lose track of its themes towards its conclusion, introducing motives for the killer which do not quite align with everything viewers have seen. It’s not a plot hole, but it would have been interesting to see some of the mentioned drivers of the character in question explored more. Said character also sets off on a long monologue which feels stereotypical, and covers ground Dexter did ten years ago. It’s a great ending plot-wise, but execution could have been better.
Even with its retro-setting, Victim No. 6 is a considered and entertaining thriller with a message that has a lot to say about today’s attitudes to sexism and gender roles.