A dejected, adopted, boy slaughters his family in…guess what..a house, back in the early 1900’s. Fast forward 100 years to the day, a tour bus crash leaves a group of people stranded at this house.
Hmmnn…Think this story has been played over and over and over and over and over? You’re right.
To be honest, my opinion of this movie was already lingering around the low mark simply because it has Val Kilmer as the headliner. BUT, being willing to watch semi unpopular movies because you can find a lot of gems in the pile is a good attitude, I gave it a shot. Keep in mind there is also Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Mission Impossible), Matt Barr (One Tree Hill), Luke Goss (Blade II, Hellboy II, Death Race II, lots of deuces here), and blossoming Rebecca Da Costa (The Firstling, Entourage) starring here. I figured maybe there was a shot in hell that this movie was semi watchable with this cast.
Opening scene you get tits and ass! Hell Yeah! Right? Well, it gets spoiled pretty quick when the wife walks in to her bedroom and bitches at the husband. Husband smacks her down..literally..orders the whore out, and again tells his wife to get the fuck out of HIS room. You get a general feel for the dysfunctionality of the family right there, but you get to see the mother run down to her sister and whine for a few minutes and go back in to martyr mode. Typical horror movie where there is a major storm brewing outside, she checks on the kids, and the adopted child kills them all. Nice opening right? While normally one would say yes, the delivery of the script was HORRIBLE. They could have really used some better known folks for the opening scenes when giving the backdrop story line or at least TRIED to spend more time on filming these scenes. Personally, if the intro is lame, it taints the rest of the viewing experience for me.
So now we fast forward a hundred years. That is where we meet Issac (Goss) and Adam (Barr), two brothers out to mend their lives after their mother has passed. You also meet the token fifth wheel in this story Dr. Lipinski, and the pissy married couple Bill (Kilmer) and Brooklyn McCormick. I wasn’t exactly wowed by the names either… This movie spends maybe ten or fifteen minutes pre-horror trauma giving a snapshot of the personalities starring in this story. Honestly, until Issac said he and Adam were brothers, they came off pretty strongly as a gay couple. I won’t bother with Lupinski, he was the token soul to be slaughtered later and really didn’t hold any value whatsoever in the film. I think the writers could have easily worked their brains a little harder and found a way to do without him.
Then you have the McCormicks. Wow. I tell you, there were only two good lines in the entire movie that Bill delivers. First, the snide comment he adds to the group discussion of “Why are you going to this convention?” He states simply,”My wife and I are reinvigorating our marriage.” The way he says it really makes you want to say ewwwww, how is this woman married to this guy? So I give Kilmer props for really delivering the shitty nature of his role. And he didn’t even have to undergo any major make up or costume for the title either. It’s amazing! Or cost effective…. :O/
Whilst everyone is happily riding the van to the event, Adam (Barr), sees the ghost of the long ago dead wife, and a few minutes later, the driver swerves to miss her apparition, mistaking her for a real person. Naturally the van plummets over a minor ditch, hits headlong into a tree, and somehow the driver smashes his head into the windshield and dies. My first thought was wow, I know I saw at least half the people in that van without seat belts on. He is the only one that died?
Eventually everyone regroups outside the van, determines the driver is definitely dead, and Jack (Rhames) shows up to offer help. This is where the movie takes a somewhat GLARINGLY obvious horror movie turn. Bill has a somewhat mild looking gash on his forehead, but everyone is OMG and let’s get to a hospital. Naturally, Jack announces that they can’t get anywhere in this weather (it’s still sunny and beautiful ouside at this point), and that the hospital is 2 hours away. Another member mentions trying to use his phone to call for help. Again, surprise surprise, phones don’t work out there. And of course, Jack pushes everyone to go to house which is “just up the road” and that he can make a call when they get there.
You know which house he lives in right? C’mon you can do this!
That’s right. The house where the ADOPTED kid slaughtered everyone one hundred years before. The word adopted is important here. And don’t forget the storm is coming too!
So why didn’t I quit watching this film yet? Let me tell you. The producers did invest some decent cash in to this film. Cinematographically it isn’t that cheap processing that you sometimes see on the straight to dvd films. There are plenty of special effects and they don’t come across as very chinzy or cheesy at all. The music score was fairly decent too, so combined, it kind of keeps you hanging on to see if it will pick up at all because you have all this potential dangling in front of you.
And with Jack coming in to the picture, despite is obvious scripting, a small little part of me was hoping this underdog would pull ahead.
Everyone makes it to the house. Lupinski acts like a doctor and asks for typical first aid items to deal with injuries from the crash. We see more of the McCormicks conversating, and it becomes apparent how bipolar their relationship is. They go from semi loathing each other to sarcastically flirting with each other in the same sentences. Then you watch Bill get belligerent and play with a knife…guess which knife it is? C’mon you can do this! That’s right. The very knife that the ADOPTED kid slaughtered everyone with one hundred years before.
Now we find out that Jack kind of lied about having a phone. Jack mentions that the roads are closed, but I noticed it is still sunny outside…. The weather is very confusing in that part of the country. But throughout this dialogue, you get clear malicious intent from Jack. And for whatever reason, Bill decides to announce to everyone that they aren’t going to make it through the night in this house. People explore the house, notice how creepy it is, help themselves to some liquor and generally make themselves at home within less than three minutes of walking in to this stranger’s house. Hmmnn…
This movie seems to be in a hurry on a lot of levels. By twenty three minutes into this show, we have Bill lying in bed from his “major” head injury, hearing the screams of the family members that were slaughtered in a previous time. He’s trying to convince everyone to leave and is begging for help in such a droll way, it is hard to tell if he is playing scared to fuck one of the men by his bedside or he decided he needed more pay in order to deliver his lines meaningfully.
The movie continues to go from here. More instances of the paranormal start to effect other members. People start to die mysteriously, and not so mysteriously. Paranormal strangulations and death with a certain kind of blade that no one thinks to go check is still in its box on the mantle. The thunderstorm officially hits at about minute twenty-five. The sets they used, the effects, music, anything EXCEPT the script delivery was awesome in this film. So I keep watching, still hoping.
The youngest brother Adam opts to risk it and drive in to town using Jack’s truck. He comes across Courtney (Da Costa), whom he met earlier in town at the gas station. She is out of gas, in the middle of a rain storm, looking under her hood…. And since he offers her a ride, and they find that the road truly is shut down—- Guess who gets to join the house party? Yep. Now our story is truly set because we picked up a sexy young Latina, that likes to play hard to get, to bring in to this trauma of movie making. Hooray!
Back to the house. Jack conveniently gives our hot Courtney a dress to wear (her clothes are wet). Can you guess who the dress used to belong to? C’mon you can do this! Yep! The wife that had gotten the physical beat down a hundred years prior. Retro is definitely coming back. Hottie puts on the dress, and notices she is being watched by a little boy in the mirror that isn’t really there when she turns around to find him. Could this boy be the ADOPTED boy that slaughtered his family a hundred years before? Correcto Mundo!
Okay, this is getting long, so I will cut this short. For about an hour, you see the drawn out process of knocking all these people off except two. You find out that Jack is a purveyor of fate and isn’t exactly human at all. He goes on and on about completing the cycle and that sexy Courtney needs to finish offing everyone since she is the reincarnate of the ADOPTED little shit boy that slaughtered his family one hundred years before. No obvious link imo. Somehow, he even knew enough to get headstones made ahead of time. There is a not so thrilling final battle between the ADOPTED boy’s ghost and Adam that turns out rather strangely. But Adam gets the hot Latina chick in the end.
So, what was so important about the word ADOPTED? I have NO fucking clue. They never really explain why that detail is important though the fact he was ADOPTED comes up several times in the film. I kind of got the impression that it had something to do with always having felt alone, and the Courtney happens to be… Can you guess? C’mon, you can do this! ADOPTED.
I think if they remade this movie, and tweaked the story, and bothered to do a better job of delivery on the lines, it could have hit a real theater. I can only give this 2 out of 5 Zombie Jesuses because it falls wayyyyy short of a typical shitty horror film. If the graphics would have been shitty, and the potential not dangling all over the place, I would have given it a 3.
2/5 Zombie Jesuses
7 Below (2012)
Starring: Val Kilmer, Ving Rhames, Luke Goss, Matt Barr, and Rebecca Da Costa
Running Time: 90 minutes