Relatively new UK DVD label DNC continue to pick up the films we've never heard of, and peddle them on to the horror fraternity over here ...
This month it's the turn of 7EVENTY 5IVE to have a pop at thrilling us. Ahem ...
It begins with a short prologue where a group of kids enjoying a sleepover together, make a number or random prank calls on the home telephone. Their parents are busy in another room partying. The kids all retire to bed when one of the fathers comes to check in on them.
But unfortunately the peace is soon shattered when one of the people they tormented over the phone turns up on the doorstep, axe in hand. The kids cower beneath their beds while the psycho hacks their parents to death before fleeing. These kids should know that if you're going to play pranks on mad axemen, you should block your telephone number first (by pressing *67 in America, where the action takes place).
Anyhow, detective Criton (Rutger Hauer) is assigned to finding the killer - only it seems to be an impossible task, as they left no evidence or DNA behind.
Fast-forward ten years, and the kids have grown into largely despicable young adults attending college. Unbelievably, truly unbelievably, they're still playing prank phone calls on people. That's in-between partying, swapping sexual innuendos with each other and squabbling like petulant teenagers.
At the first party of the film, grown-up Marcus (Brian Hooks) wins a game of "75" with his friends - the rules being, you have 75 seconds to ring someone and wind them up. He calls a sweaty neighbour and interrupts him while he's masturbating over Internet porn, telling him he's going to gut him like a pig.
It's merely a prank and Marcus hangs up, taking money off the other partygoers for beating them hands down. But, moments later, the sweaty wanker does indeed die in his pit at the hands of an unseen killer.
The following day, we meet former lovers Brandon (Jonathan Chase) and Karina (Jud Tylor) on campus. He's desperately trying to win her back after cheating on her, and has invited her to an "extra exclusive" party at his Dad's Colorado hideaway that night. Unfortunately for him, his friends overhear and invite themselves along.
After an afternoon of wacky hi-jinks the group meet up with Brandon and set off for their party. Naturally they're unaware that someone is watching their every move.
Meanwhile Criton discovers the wanker's corpse and is struck by the similarities between this murder and his unsolved case from a decade earlier. He can't persuade his boss of any link, but continues to be haunted by memories of the past atrocities and vows to crack this case. Luckily he has the help of loyal colleague Hastings (Gwendoline Yeo). After flicking through the files of the original case, they deduce that they must find the kids from ten years back.
Well, we know where they are. They're settling in to Brandon's Dad's place, by way of drinking, dancing and at the very least talking about having sex. Come the evening when the party comes into full effect, Marcus takes the opportunity to reinforce the rules of the "75" game to the roomful of revellers.
That's not a good idea, my friend. Not when one of your pals manages to call a psycho as part of the game. I only hope Criton can reach you in time to save your buddies from the axe killer, who likes to announce their arrival beforehand with spooky telephone calls of their own ...
Unfriendly cops, creepy locals warning the kids to go home, false alarm jumps and endless lonely forays into darkened public toilets are just some of the well-worn genre conventions that get brought back into employment during the first half of 7EVENTY 5IVE.
Of course, the "spooky" telephone calls feature prominently too, as do little script nods towards each teen character helping suggest that any of them may be the homicidal culprit. The other thing all of these elements help do, is constantly remind the viewer of the SCREAM films. Crikey, 7EVENTY 5IVE even robs from the first SCARY MOVIE film. And yet this is not a comedy (at least, I don't think it is - it's certainly not funny). So, how can this be a good thing?
Hauer looks rightfully embarrassed in his small role as the tired cop. And yet, he's the only decent thing in this tired, astonishingly derivative and abysmally scripted turd.
Admittedly the final forty minutes are a slight improvement on the first forty, with the film stepping up a notch and going into outright body-count mode. But, while co-directors Brian Hooks and Deon Taylor know how to shoot reasonably tense set pieces, there's little of memorable weight here, and the gore is distinctly pedestrian.
There are ludicrous twists towards the end of the film, and if you don't guess who's behind the killings you really ought to be ashamed. But by then you're unlikely to care, especially once you get to the 'last straw' scene where Marcus explains the rules of "75" to the party-goers. It's as close to Jamie Kennedy's party-stopping explanation of the rules of the slasher film in SCREAM as you could get.
Slickly shot but cursed with characters not worth caring for, a lack of pace and that aforementioned incredible absence of even one original idea, 7EVENTY 5IVE is almost deliberately lame. What can you possibly gain from watching this dead duck?
The film at least looks good in a slick, colourful anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer. Images are smooth and sharp.
Audio is provided in English 2.0 and is fine throughout.
Static menus include a scene-selection menu allowing access to the film via 8 chapters.
The only extra on the disc is a trailer for the film. The trailer's one of those jarringly shaky affairs, clocking in at 90 seconds and presented in non-anamorphic 2.35:1. I'm not sure which is the correct aspect ratio, but the main film seems reasonably framed.
Is it a piss-take, or is it serious? It's hard to tell with such a terrible, cliché-ridden and poorly plotted film. The trailer claims the film is based on a true story. Whatever. I only hope Hauer was paid well.
Review by Stu Willis
|Released by Dnc Entertainment|
|Region 2 - PAL|
|see main review|