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Five friends throw a party to celebrate their graduation. Things take a turn into left field when one of them brings along an uninvited guest, her dealer. He provides some hallucinogenics to replace the usual weed. Things end very badly, especially for THE 6th FRIEND.

On the fifth anniversary, the survivors get back together in a cabin in the woods. Things go from awkward to fun back to awkward before moving to bloody at a rapid pace.

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A fairly stock plot, we can all agree. What makes THE 6th FRIEND stand out at first glance is Jamie Bernadette. One of the more active and talented scream queens, she has been in everything from 4/20 MASSACRE and ALL GIRLS WEEKEND to shows such as MIDNIGHT TEXAS and NCSI: NEW ORLEANS. Seeing her name in the cast list isn’t so unusual. This time though she adds co-writer, with director Letia Clouston, and producer to her credits.

The film does a good job of leading into the action as the women try to ignore and then come to terms with what happened and their ways of dealing with it. The female writers and director give this a different perspective than the usual slasher. Joey (Jamie Bernadette) has been repressing it, shunning her old friends and refusing to talk about it. The others insist they need to work through it as a group. Unconvinced, she intends to leave anyway until Mel (Chantelle Albers, Reawakened) says she’s been seeing Tyler (David Villada), who died that night. Seems the others have too, except for Joey. That, of course, is about to change.

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THE 6th FRIEND is an effective slasher that manages to keep the suspense going until the final reveal. It has some nice touches like the women quickly going on the offensive. It also has its share of clichés, like people running into the woods when their car runs out of gas. At this point though, the plot has been done so many times, I suppose there’s no way of avoiding all the genre’s clichés.

But overall there’s enough fresh material in THE 6th FRIEND to hold your attention and the cast does a good job with it. Dominique Swain (MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, FACE/OFF) and Monique Rosario also deserve a mention for their performances. The result is an enjoyable, female-centered horror film that’s worth watching.

The Asylum will be releasing THE 6th FRIEND to theaters on January 11th with a DVD and VOD release to follow.

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