There are seven people in “The Last Seven”, and each one has no memory of who they are, only that they have awakened in a completely deserted London. Eventually, the seven come together, and try to figure out what’s happening to the city around them. Okay, not really; they mostly just bitch at each other and walk around. Slowly but surely, though, they began to remember things – memories from their past that starts to shed light on their current condition. Meanwhile, a mysterious, bleeding figure in black (the ubiquitous Danny Dyer) stalks them from the shadows.
Sound interesting to you? Well it sounded interesting to me. Then again, I’m a sucker for these type of movies – disparate strangers in a strange location must work together to survive? Yes, please! “The Last Seven” marks the feature film directorial debut of Imran Naqvi, and while it’s not the best film in the genre that I’ve seen, it’s far from the worst. Visually speaking, Naqvi gets a lot out of the deserted landscape of London. There are a number of excellent aerial and street-level views of the deserted major city, and Naqvi, a former cinematographer, knows how to compose a master shot to establish mood.
The rest of the film, alas, is hit and miss. The characters are not exactly the type of people you root for. Okay, you’ll probably not give a hoot who lives and dies to be perfectly honest with you. They spend way too much time bickering, and no one really comes across as particularly sympathetic. In fact, you could probably slot each of the seven survivors into two categories: “loathsome” and “only slightly loathsome”.
The film opens with schlubby everyman William (Simon Phillips) waking up in the middle of a deserted London street. Eventually, William locates the other six: there is Chloe (Daisy Head), a mouthy teenager; Jack Mason (Tamer Hassan), a tough talking (and more importantly, machinegun-brandishing) Sergeant; Captain Kendrick (Sebastian Street), an Army Captain who immediately takes charge of the survivors; Henry (John Mawson), a bureaucratic type who seems to have decided he’d like to drink himself to death instead of finding out what’s going on; Isabelle (Rita Ramnani), a nervous foreigner with a knife; and Isaac (Ronan Vibert), who spends most of the movie reciting bible verses.
“The Last Seven”, like most films of its ilk, has essentially two things going for it: the beginning, which explains the set-up to a willing audience, and the Big Reveal at the end, when the audience gets its payoff for sticking around. As such, there is a lot of leeway in the middle section; after setting it up, you just have to hold serve until the Big Reveal. “The Last Seven” does that with a long and mostly uneventful middle that doesn’t wow, but just sort of treads water until it’s time for the Big Reveal. To keep things moving, Naqvi builds on the flashback each time we see them (which is very often), making each survivor’s flashback longer until the full picture is eventually revealed. Of course, this means sitting through the same series of flashbacks at least a dozen times, which can get a tad ridiculous.
There are parts of “The Last Seven” that I really liked. The first 10 or so minutes are the highlights, but as John Stanley’s script begins sliding headfirst toward its Big Reveal, and Naqvi begins intercutting more and more flashbacks into the storyline, things take a dramatic turn for the … generic. By the film “The Last Seven” has blown its load, you can’t help but feel like you’ve just spent 90 minutes watching what is essentially a 30-minute “Twilight Zone” episode (plus commercials), complete with a Rod Serling wannabe Danny Dyer providing the film’s bookending voiceover. There are elements of a horror movie in “The Last Seven”, but they’re not going to be keeping you up at nights anytime soon.
Imran Naqvi (director) / John Stanley (screenplay)
CAST: Tamer Hassan … Jack Mason
Simon Phillips … William Blake
Danny Dyer … Angel of Death
Sebastian Street … Robert Kendrick
Daisy Head … Chloe
Ronan Vibert … Isaac
Rita Ramnani … Isabelle
John Mawson … Henry Chambers