The mafia needed to launder some money. That’s the only explanation I can think of for the existence of 7 Below, this week’s straight-to-DVD turd starring Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames. You’d think a movie starring Val Kilmer and Ving Rhames couldn’t be all bad. You’d be wrong. I sure was. I desperately want to say something semi-witty or insightful about this movie, but I can’t. Fuck this movie. Just…fuck it.
Five idiots take a shuttle bus from a resort (apparently in the middle of nowhere) to the nearest airport when they crash on a deserted highway. Ving Rhames shows up dressed like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven and ushers them to his house, claiming that a storm is approaching and that they will all be safe there; the shuttle driver dies in the accident, but no one seems very bothered by the prospect of callously leaving his body behind to feed vultures. The ragged crew head without protest to a two story house that’s either haunted or resting upon a tear in the space-time continuum—the writers don’t seem to know or care and neither do I for that matter.
7 Below starts out feeling like the type of horror flick that was parodied in the brilliant Cabin in the Woods (which we here at Flesh Eating Zipper absolutely loved), but it gets worse. At least the generic horror story at the heart of that movie was competently crafted and occasionally scary. This movie is boring and ugly to look at. It doesn’t even pass into so-bad-it’s-good territory; it’s just infuriating.
Shortly after the clueless sacrificial lambs arrive at the house, they start dying. The first character’s death is obviously the result of foul play, but no one expresses any real concern. Could the killer possibly be the creepy fucking black guy who lives out in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t possess a telephone or a computer, and dresses like a nineteenth century frontiersman? These idiots don’t seem to think so. They also don’t seem to have cell phones, because not once does anyone attempt to contact the outside world for help.
And despite the fact that the movie is titled 7 Below the weather never seems to get all that cold. All of the characters spend the movie running around in t-shirts and dresses, never displaying the slightest discomfort. The menacing storm that Ving Rhames warns everyone about never turns up. The weather mostly consists of some light rain (not snow or hail) and some mild thunder and lightening. None of the brain dead characters realize that the weather actually isn’t that bad and that their chances of survival are better out in the rain than in the time traveling haunted house.
The casting is the movie’s strongest point which isn’t saying much. Val Kilmer’s mug adorns the poster, but he’s in the movie for all of five minutes, and he doesn’t do much acting here. In fact, I’m skeptical that the director even gave him a script. More likely, the crew just loaded Kilmer up on Peach Schnapps one afternoon and filmed the result without him ever knowing what was going on. Ving Rhames seems to be having a good time here, but everyone else fails to even register.
The cinematography is complete shit. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if these clowns shot the entire movie with natural lighting. That’s not always a bad idea, but it’s asinine when your entire film takes place at night in a three bedroom house. 90% of the movie consists of vague outlines of people stumbling around in the dark and whispering to each other.
Even if I cared about the proceedings, I wouldn’t be able to follow them because the film is completely incomprehensible. I spent so much time squinting and trying to figure out what was going on in each scene that I thought I was going to have an aneurysm, which honestly would have been a blessing because it would have prevented me from having to watch one more minute of this movie.
I would give 7 Below a rating of zero, but no movie starring Ving Rhames deserves a zero, even if it the production is just a crappy front for laundering dirty money.