7eventy 5ive (2007)

A group of young children play a game involving prank phone calls one night whilst their parents are throwing a party in the next room. The game simply involves picking a phone number at random, calling it and keeping the person on the other end of the line for a total of seventy five seconds. Everything is going well until one of the children picks the wrong number; the recipient of this call doesn’t take kindly to their intrusion on his life and he vows revenge. Later that night, as the children sleep, an axe-wielding madman breaks into the house and violently murders each and every one of their parents. Fast forward ten years and two of the now college-aged kids are still playing the game with their new friends, one of whom is hosting a party at his parents vast estate. It isn’t long before their fun is interrupted yet again as several of the group end up dead and their past starts to catch up with them. Rutger Hauer is the cop who attempts to put the pieces of the puzzle together and warn the remaining survivors before it’s too late.

Brian Hooks wrote, directed and starred in 7eventy 5ive so it was clearly a project that was dear to his heart. Unfortunately, no matter how much he dedicated to the making of it, it’s massively formulaic and while it dishes up blood and guts by the bucketful, there are no scares here.

Most of the characters are thoroughly loathsome, look far too old to still be in College and the only person amongst the cast who’s worth rooting for is Hauer but even his character is sadly under-developed and criminally under-used. Almost all of the primary characters are entirely two-dimensional and lack any real depth. Special mention has to go to the bordering-on-offensively exaggerated gay man (who is mercifully but inexplicably absent from half the movie) and the obnoxious white dude who insists on talking like some kind of retarded rapper (his irritating and vaguely racist mannerisms later turn out to be a rather transparent plot device).

There are about as many things that don’t make sense in 7eventy 5ive as there are things that do. Some characters are neglected for large sections of the film and by the time they re-appeared, I’d all but forgotten all about them. The usual ‘oh damn, no phone signal’ line is present but bizarrely when one character receives a text message and therefore clearly has phone service, none of them think to call 911 which makes it all a little baffling.

One thing that I can’t really fault 7eventy 5ive for is the extent to which it embraced the B-movie philosophy; there are a whole heap of deaths and most of them are blood-soaked and brutal. The effects aren’t quite up to scratch but still manage to get an ‘A’ for effort. As far as slasher movies go, 7eventy 5ive wasn’t a horrible experience but regrettably, its glaringly obvious plot twist, plethora of plot-holes and bland characterisation do affect proceedings.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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