7eventy 5ive (aka Dead Tone, 2007) Movie Review

“Se7en”, “s1m0ne”, “Thr3e”, “Thir13n Ghosts”, and now “7eventy 5ive”. All movies bafflingly fond of placing needless numbers in place of letters in their titles. A moot point yes, but an important one, for apart from “Se7en” (also notably the first film to start this trend), the quality of the aforementioned movies must surely be seen as on the lower end of the spectrum. So, what of “7eventy 5ive”? Is it better than “s1m0ne”, “Thr3e” and “Thir13n Ghosts”? Just about. Is it as ‘dynamic’ as its title? Unfor7unately n0t.

“7eventy 5ive” concerns a gang of college students known as (wait for it) ‘the 75’ who engage in a game which involves prank calling random numbers and aiming to keep the other person on the line for seventy five seconds without them laughing or hanging up. Of course they inevitably prank call the wrong trucker person and soon an axe-wielding maniac is on the loose and picking them off one by one at their secluded mansion party.

As far as story goes, we’ve seen this all before and to make up for this shamelessness, the filmmakers offer us an extremely polished and well shot horror that wouldn’t look out of place on the big screen. Throw in a bunch of pretty actors and enough gore to satiate the casual horror fan, and “7eventy 5ive” is sure not to disappoint too much. However, for those seasoned viewers out there, “7eventy 5ive” almost becomes a horror mythology “Where’s Waldo?” in that it’s rather enjoyable spotting the glaring scene-steals from other, better horror movies.

Here’s a small checklist: there’s a dirty toilet scene straight out of “Reeker” or “Monster Man”, there’s a creepy gas station attendant lifted from any number of hillbilly horrors, there’s a parka-wearing killer straight off the set of “Urban Legends” (from which incidentally a scene is ripped verbatim), and there’s a house full of cameras (“Halloween Resurrection”, “My Little Eye”), even the ‘shock’ ending’s been done before. This is unfortunate, because “7eventy 5ive” opens well, with a genuinely startling sequence that sets up a far better film than eventually follows.

Along with the more obvious examples, the script also opts for almost every single horror movie cliché in the book. We have groups of people splitting up to look for missing characters, and we have people refusing to turn lights on forcing them to stumble around in the dark. It’s this blatant disregard for the viewer’s intelligence that causes the film to lose any stand-out edge that could have been achieved. Cheap jump scares and people wandering around in the dark do not make a dynamic and original horror movie. Script aside, fortunately there are some good points, namely the actors.

One of which is Mr Rutger Hauer, (complete with his name emblazoned on the DVD cover), who used to lend his considerable acting talent to some pretty fantastic films. Here however, he’s relegated to a needless detective sub plot which feels entirely out of place and only detracts from any excitement that is happening at the party. He plays his part sufficiently well but it’s hard not to wonder whether he’d rather be somewhere else – he certainly looks like he would. The other members of the cast cope well with a dismal script and consist of the usual bunch of stock characters akin to this type of film. There are no stand out performances – apart from one, but to explore this would unfortunately ruin the ‘twist’ at the end – if you don’t see it coming anyway.

Still, it’s hard to give this film too low a rating as it is undeniably enjoyable and it’s pretty hard to not like. It’s quite surprising how derivative it is, but it somehow plays with all its stolen ideas and clichés in such a way that it makes for a rather fun horror thriller that will provide enough flashy action to please those looking for a quick horror fix. Those looking for something revolutionary, or even just a little bit interesting, will be sorely disappointed, but for others who fancy a standard slasher to wile away some time, this is a satisfactory entry. Shame about that title though.

Brian Hooks, Deon Taylor (director) / Brian Hooks, Vashon Nutt, Deon Taylor (screenplay)
CAST: Brian Hooks … Marcus
Jud Tylor … Karina
Cherie Johnson … Roxy
Germán Legarreta … Shawn
Antwon Tanner … Kareem
Wil Horneff … Scott / Josh
Aimee Garcia … Jody Walters

Buy 7eventy 5ive on DVD