I’m not gonna mince words here … SEVEN BELOW is a friggin’ disaster of a film. It’s currently having a MOD/VOD release and is set to hit theaters on April 17, 2012, but I don’t know if it’ll make it that far. The film stars Val Kilmer, Ving Rhames, Luke Goss, and Bonnie Somerville, and the acting is competent enough. Kilmer does a little over acting at times but overall the performances are solid. The problem with SEVEN BELOW is the story, the writing, and the dialogue … ya know; the basics!!
The film opens up in the past with what you might call a dysfunctional family. Tragedy strikes and the family is murdered. Flash forward to the present where our cast is gathered together. They’re all in a van headed to the airport (I’m guessing) after vacationing at the same resort. There’s McCormick (Kilmer) and his wife Brooklyn (Somerville); brothers Adam (Matt Barr) and Issac (Goss); and a doctor traveling alone, Dr. Lipski (Christian Baha). The weather outside is beginning to blow up as the area is bracing itself for a bad storm. And then the unexpected happens … the van gets into an accident stranding the group in the murder house from the opening. Wait; did I say this was ‘unexpected?’ I meant this was extremely predictable and the result of some very lazy writing. I don’t wanna be too hard on SEVEN BELOW, but this is exactly the kind of genre film that’s starting to pop up with all too much frequency. We get an “up and coming” director; a few B-list, recognizable celebrities past their primes; a celebrity who’s ‘on the rise’ (Luke Goss); and a horror-ish story that’s been re-hashed, recycled, and done to death offering us nothing new. I know I said I didn’t wanna be that hard on SEVEN BELOW, but I actually am holding back.
After the cast is assembled in the murder house from the pre-credit sequence, strange sounds and ghostly apparitions start rearing their ugly heads to the cast. The plot unfolds exactly as you expect it too and you’ll be five steps ahead of the actors. Hey; now that I mention it, “Five Steps” would be a great title for this film because honestly I have no fucking clue what “SEVEN BELOW” is referring too. Seriously; not a fucking clue. I assumed it referred to the temperature. Maybe the group was caught in a blizzard. Nope. Maybe the “seven” refers to the cast members. Perhaps, but then what the hell does the “below” refer too? Again; not a clue. After a little research I found out the full title of the film is SEVEN BELOW ZERO, which supports my temperature hypothesis. But I must ask the question again: Why does the title refer to a sub-zero temperature when the film clearly takes place in the summer time? The title’s as much of a mystery as is how this film was ever made. Everyone gets on Hollywood for not producing any original genre films, but if SEVEN BELOW is the level of writing talent we have in Hollywood, then I’ll be more than happy to stick with remakes and the indie horror scene (but I have a nagging suspicion there’s better original content out there).
As the plot slowly, and I mean S L O W L Y, unfolds we are privy to some truly terrible dialogue. When it becomes clear that Ving Rhames is somehow connected to all the weird (and boring) shit going on, one of the characters screams to him, “What’s happening here?!” His response:
“What’s happening now is bigger than all of us.”
Really? Are you friggin’ kidding me? Thanks for the explanation, Captain Cryptic!! And towards the end after we get the “big reveal” (yawn), Luke Goss’ Issac and Rhames’ Jack characters have the following exchange:
Jack: The cycle needs to be completed.
Issac: The cycle of what?
Jack: The cycle of death (yes, ‘death’ was emphasized)
Oh come on; you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!! This is the level of dialogue we get the entire course of the film. I could write 5,000 more words in this review just relating some of the horrible dialogue between all the characters.
Bottom line, folks, is that SEVEN BELOW is a fucking disaster. It breaks all the rules of “good filmmaking”: boring, unfleshed out characters; a slow, plodding pace; and a plot that’s a rambling, muddled mess. Sure the acting is decent enough, but the actors have nothing to work with. Trust me, you’d never see such a boring, ridiculous plot coming outta the indie horror scene!! Definitely skip SEVEN BELOW.
Director: Kevin Carraway
Plot: 1 out of 5 stars
Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer