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Overall Rating
3.4

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look53.33%
Average: 40%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 6.67%

2 reviews, 3 user ratings


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Seven Days to Live
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by Brian McKay

"TV Static, a nutty husband, a creepy house - where have I seen this before?"
3 stars

The answer is - pretty much everywhere. SEVEN DAYS TO LIVE is not so much a horror film, as a hodge-podge of themes lifted from the likes of THE SHINING, POLTERGEIST, RINGU, etc. Now, it's certainly no sin to "borrow" elements from other films in the same genre. Everyone does it to one degree or another. But it IS a sin to not bring something new to the mix. Or rather, it should be.

After all, one of my favorite horror flicks of all time, Dog Soldiers, begged, borrowed, and stole from a plethora of other great horror flicks - yet it still brimmed over with a style, substance, and personality all its own. (Note to my few faithful readers: I know you're probably sick of me referencing that film, but the movie fucking rocked. I plan to harp on its greatness at every possible opportunity, so get used to it!)

Speaking of which, the main reason I decided to check this movie out was due to the presence of Dog Soldiers lead Sean Pertwee. While many aspects of the film dissapoint, Sean most certainly does not. Oddly enough, he's paired with Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) in a portrayal of husband and wife that holds a surprisingly genuine chemistry.

Martin Shaw (Pertwee) is a former best-selling author whose work has gone to shit ever since he and his wife, Ellen (Plummer) lost their young son. They decide to buy a ramshackle Victorian out in the countryside, in an attempt to get away from the city and painful memories. Martin hopes he can focus on his writing again, while Ellen just wants to find a way to cope with the loss of her child.

The first act is mostly effective at establishing their relationship, as well as layering on some spooky elements - most notably the enigmatic messages Ellen begins seeing in places like road signs or Scrabble tiles which warn her that she has X ammount of days to live - starting with Seven and counting down. As she grows increasingly unnerved by these happenings, Martin grows increasingly erratic and short-tempered with her. On the plus side, his writing is on fire and he's suddenly cranking out forty pages a night.

Okay, so far, so good - even if it's all a bit familiar and occasionally lapses into lazy horror movie tricks like old photographs with creepy looking people in them who suddenly turn to look at the protagonists. But as the film goes on, the story plateaus early on. There are occasional moments of creepiness or intensity, but nothing unique or innovative enough to hold the attention - save the strength of the performances.

Sean Pertwee is a damn solid actor. And although I get the hazy impression that he was phoning this one in for a paycheck, at least he doesn't call collect. His performance definitely brings value to the table, and he makes the most of a character that is fairly generic and who lapses into the obligatory bouts of horror movie insanity too soon. Oddly enough, Amanda Plummer is also quite good. It's an odd juxtaposition as Plummer, who normally plays the crazy-ass bitch, is the normal and level-headed one here next to Pertwee's raving mania. I guess she can only pull off normalcy in front of a camera if she has a script to work from, though, because during the "interviews" segment of the DVD, she can barely string a coherent sentence together and stutters about like a crackhead. The small supporting cast of mostly unknown Brits are also competent, but nobody in this film - even the fantastic Pertwee, can save it from the doldrums of the lackluster script and its standard "creepy house built over a graveyard" trappings.

It's a shame to see such good performances mostly wasted on a generic horror clone. Pertwee and Plummer could have been fantastic in a film like THE RING. If anything can recommend this film, besides a few spooky scenes, it's them.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6733&reviewer=258
originally posted: 03/18/03 21:55:18
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User Comments

11/04/13 action movie fan dull pointless film no scares or thrills 1 stars
12/03/03 KEITH ELLUL GREAT THRILLER 4 stars
11/22/03 Charles Tatum Derivative but watchable 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Feb-2000 (R)
  DVD: 14-Aug-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A (MA)


Directed by
  Sebastian Niemann

Written by
  Dirk Ahner

Cast
  Amanda Plummer
  Sean Pertwee
  Nick Brimble
  Gina Bellman
  Sean Chapman
  Eddie Cooper



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