13 January 2008 | homerjer
7eventy 5ive ... percent of the characters in this movie are incredibly unlikable
The plot of 7EVENTY 5IVE involves college kids who play a cruel phone game that unexpectedly (to them, if not to fans of horror) gets them in over their heads. The STORY of 7EVENTY 5IVE, on the other hand, is that of a horror film that had a wee little bit of promise, sadly outweighed by really bad writing.
What could have been a fun, if somewhat silly, old-fashioned slasher tale is derailed early on by its filmmakers' misguided belief that the audience would enjoy watching a bunch of loud, whiny rich kids bitching at each other for most of the film's running time. With the exception of a police detective played by Rutger Hauer, (in a minor role that is designed mainly to add the movie's only star power) every character on screen is a different breed of young A-hole.
Male and female, black and white, straight and gay, an entire ensemble of shallow and shrill college kids carries the bulk of the film's narrative. Worse, since the tale deals with a PARTY game gone awry, most of the time the scenes are completely filled with these little b*****ds. Because of this, there are few breaks for the viewer, who must put up with the angry sniping of the thinly-drawn protagonists. Even though at least some of these people are supposedly friends, invariably all characters interact in a very hostile manner, long before any genuine conflict has actually arisen. This leads to the worst possible result in a slasher film: The audience, intended to care about the leads, instead not only cheers on the anonymous killer, but wishes that he had arrived to start picking off the vacuous brats far earlier.
The real shame of this poor characterization is that otherwise 7EVENTY 5IVE actually DID have some potential. Visually it's fine. First-time directors Brian Hooks and Deon Taylor know how to build a suspenseful mood. They also manage to deliver on some competent, if sparse, moments of classic 80s-style gore. Surprisingly, the production's cast is also fairly able. It isn't that the actors aren't capable of expressing realistic human emotion; it is simply that the screenplay (co-written by newcomer Vashon Nutt and director Hooks, who fared much better behind the camera than with a keyboard) is short of such moments.
7EVENTY 5IVE can hardly be recommended, as its familiar premise and few thrills can't outweigh the bad taste left behind by a story driven by a gaggle of unpleasant characters. In this tepid whodunnit, the real mystery is why anyone should care about a group of young folk who can't even manage to like each other.