7 Below– Film Review
Vitamin A Films/ Barking Fish Entertainment
Directed by Kevin Carraway
Reviewed by Anthony C. Francis
Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames are two of the finest character actors to ever grace filmdom. Between the two of them they have been involved in some of the best films of the nineties and, on a few occasions, have given performances worthy of an Oscar. I have been a big fan of both of their work for over twenty years. Their presence in a film, good or bad, would almost always liven up the proceedings.
Now they co-star in a new horror film titled 7 Below and I can assure you that their presence in this film does not help save it. The film is a truly awful exercise in terror that is bad from moment one and spins its wheels for the rest of its dull 90 minutes.
The movie begins in the early 1900’s as we see a boy slaughter his entire family including Mom, Dad, Sis, and even Grandma. The story then moves to present day and follows a group of people in a van on their way to some sort of unnamed getaway for a weekend. Two brothers, Luke Goss and Matt Barr, are trying to deal with the death of their mother, a married couple, Val Kilmer and Bonnie Sommerville, trying to fix their damaged marriage, and a doctor, Christian Baha, who is dealing with drug addiction. They become stranded after a serious accident and are found by a creepy stranger named Jack, played by Rhames. Jack gives them shelter as a huge storm is coming their way. Of course, the house is the same house where the earlier murders took place. Once everyone is in the house things get as nasty as the wailing outside winds. Our characters begin to see images of dead people and other frightening occurrences. Then, as expected, one by one, people begin to die. All I could think of was the actors drawing straws, each one anxiously hoping that they were the first to be killed so they could jump this sinking ship as fast as possible.
From the outset, this film is completely amateurish. There is no sense of style as the director just points his camera, turns down a few lights for the “horror” look, and shoots his scenes. He holds nothing back as far as filling the proceedings with every horror movie cliché in the book but gives us nothing in the way of originality or interest.
The screenplay is, at best, uninspired and lifeless. People act in ways people do not act and speak lines that are cringe inducing. As with most post- Sixth Sense horror films, there is a twist ending and it is utterly ridiculous and predictable.
Most of the line deliveries by the cast are as flat as the direction. Kilmer looks bloated and bored and Rhames is trying to channel horror icon Tony Todd but comes off looking silly. He is definitely miscast here. The other actors do what they need to do but the entire cast seems bored at every moment.
Director Carraway previously directed only one film, 2009’s The Fear Chamber. That film was a small, B horror gem that, while not original and done on the cheap, was interesting and played well. 7 Below seems like a first effort directed by someone who has no idea what makes a good horror film. Even the storm is lackluster. We are certainly not given the feel that this is a life threatening storm at all.
From the dreadful title to the tediously dull film itself, 7 Below is one dud of a film.