The 7th Dimension (aka Beacon 77, 2009) Movie Review

Originally titled “Beacon 77”, low budget British science fiction conspiracy thriller “The Seventh Dimension” is an imaginative affair written and directed by Brad Watson. The film is certainly ambitious, attempting to tackle grand themes of science, technology, religion and the supernatural, despite for the most part only taking place in a small, nondescript flat. Having enjoyed a successful run at genre festivals, the film now arrives on region 2 DVD via Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, coming with a making of documentary.

Set in London, the film begins as a young woman called Sarah (Kelly Adams, who recently appeared in Nicolas Winding Refn’s awesome “Bronson”) accompanies her friend Zoe (British television actress Lucy Evans) on a mission to declare her love for her tutor Malcolm (David Horton) at his flat. They are somewhat surprised to find his living room filled with computers, which he and his fellow hackers, the disabled Declan and the attractive though foul tempered Kendra are using to try and break into the Vatican’s secret archives. As Declan is only too happy to inform the two girls, their purpose is to try and uncover and unravel the truth behind the real Bible Code, which they believe will give them the power to predict the future. Unfortunately, as they get closer to their goal, it becomes apparent that they have unleashed a sinister power that beyond their expectations and control.

“The Seventh Dimension” is a film which certainly tries very hard to make the best of its limited resources and indeed to turn them to its advantage. Watson is well aware that the film’s main asset and its driving force is its script, which basically takes the whole Dan Brown “Da Vinci Code” conspiracy and notches it up a few levels by throwing in some big words and elements of “From Beyond”, “The Lawnmower Man” and others. This works reasonably well, and though the plot is a bit hackneyed and overly convinced of its own importance at times, it does engage and offers up a few entertaining, if predictable developments along the way. The supernatural angle itself is rather weak, with the interesting gambit of psychic spies being tossed in without too much thought, as are a few other throwaway ideas. Still, a little thought goes a long way, and though the film never quite hangs together, the obvious effort put in by Watson pays off and helps to lift it considerably above the average straight to DVD outing.

The film is sadly somewhat more variable in other areas, with Watson proving himself a better writer of narrative than of characters. While Sarah makes for a reasonably sympathetic nominal protagonist and Declan an amusingly over the top eccentric, Kendra, Zoe and Malcolm are painfully bland and weakly sketched. Similarly, aside from Kelly Adams, the rest of the cast struggle to rise to the challenge of the material, and generally fail to convince. While such a criticism is common enough when it comes to the low budget end of the spectrum, for a film such as this which relies predominantly on its writing rather than shocks or thrills, it is particularly problematic. Certainly, the film suffers from being too po-faced, and could well have done with a few extra visceral touches or moments of good old fashioned schlock to distract from its failings and to dilute some of its more pretentious tracts.

Even with such faults, “The Seventh Dimension” still represents an admirable stab at doing something different, and should be enjoyed by open minded genre fans. Whilst Watson’s reach certainly exceeds his grasp, the film is entertaining and intelligent, qualities which have been all too rare in most of its recent peers.

Brad Watson (director) / Brad Watson, Debbie Moon (screenplay)
CAST: Kelly Adams … Sarah
Lucy Evans … Zoe
David Horton … Malcolm
Calita Rainford … Kendra
Jonathan Rhodes … Declan

Buy The Seventh Dimension on DVD