7eventy 5ive DVD review

A not-very-good horror thriller, 7eventy 5ive might have just tarnished Jenny's lucky number...

7eventy 5ive

Contains Spoilers

And now for an absolutely fascinating fact which will both thrill and astound you: my lucky number is 75. No joke. I can prove it.

Look at this photograph. It shows my lucky number. For 75 is my lucky number, emblazoned on the back of one of my ice hockey shirts. That’s 75. 75 is my lucky number. And they’ve sent me a film for review called 7eventy 5ive. Look at the photograph again. Isn’t that amazing? No, really, look at it again. Look at that 75. Because that 75 is far more interesting than this film.

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We don’t actually get off to a bad start, depending on your definition of ‘bad’. The film opens with of a group of children making crank telephone calls: they are playing a game called ‘75′, which involves trying to keep the recipient on the line for 75 seconds with a semi-believable tale of death, injury, woe or just having a wrong number. Anyone not managing it is a big fat failure. And as is quickly discovered, anyone managing it with the wrong person will have their head removed by an axe. This is what happens to the parents of these young japesters when they call someone who is really sick of those recorded messages asking if you want to resolve all your debts into one easy payment.

In truth, it’s a pretty upsetting scene, the kids forced to hide and watch as their mother is put through a slow and clearly extremely painful death. The acting in this film reaches its peak about here – which should tell you something – and you start wondering whether this might be a nasty little hidden gem. I can save you the trouble of finding out for yourself by promising you that it isn’t.

Fast forward ten years and the same kids are at an exclusive end-of-semester party in the middle of nowhere. Trouble is, some psycho has chosen that day to come back and kill all the survivors of his last rampage (isn’t there always someone there to ruin things?). And even more incredibly, the survivors have just started a game of – well, what could it be, Jenny? Twister? Monopoly? Scene-It Harry Potter Edition? No…good heavens…75!

So they ring a few people. But one of those people has just had his fifteenth automated call of the night, and decides to enforce the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 in a way that most of us would agree with – with an axe. Thus begins the main part of the film, in which there is a lot of running about in the dark. Presumably this was to hide the work of the special effects team, who have a curious idea of what blood looks like, and to cover up the fact that all the ‘students’ are not just through university, but probably through their first marriages.

What it fails to mask is the over-the-top sound effects (‘squelch’), the gaping plot holes and the grating, inane dialogue which is supposed to be of the cool, ‘urban’ variety. As no one here will have been within twenty miles of a genuine ghetto, it gets extremely irritating extremely quickly. And as all of the characters are deeply unlikeable anyway, all the language used will do is alienate you even further.

The biggest problem with 7eventy 5ive is that it simply doesn’t take itself seriously. I don’t know whether this was intentional or a lack of effort, but there’s every possibility it’s trying to be Scream. This is misguided at best – I didn’t particularly enjoy Scream and it doesn’t strike me as the sort of movie you’d want to aspire to be like. But you can see what they’ve done. The phone calls, the ‘trendy’ college kids, the unexplained psycho killer with the memorable face (in 7eventy 5ive‘s case, no face), the police hanging around in the background. Anyone would think they were trying to create the Next Big Thing (or things, as it would inevitably be a trilogy).

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Of course, Scream had famous people to help it along. 7eventy 5ive has one, but the inclusion of Rutger Hauer adds approximately zero. Any authority figure is a waste of time in a story which is really about teenagers having sex and being beheaded. They are involved in a ‘twist’ at the end, but it fails to shock.

When all’s said and done, this is relentlessly dull. I gather it’s already up for a remake, so let’s hope it’s better on the second go. For the time being, I think I need to change my number.

2 stars

7eventy 5ive is out now.

Rating:

2 out of 5