The Last Seven
October 21, 2010
It seems that failed agony uncle Danny Dyer has been in an awful lot of direct-to-video films lately. In fact, every time that I go to my local Asda, he’s there, mocking me from the DVD aisle. Cheapo copies of Pimp, Jack Said, City Rats and Dead Man Running festoon the shelves, yet I’ve never been tempted to pick one up. I hadn’t seen a Danny Dyer film since the sales-team-meets-psychopathic-killers-in-the-woods caper of Severance. A few people I know are in the habit of spitting on the floor and cursing at the mere mention of Dyer’s name. Me? I don’t mind him. He’s not Larry Olivier, but he has enough acting chops and charisma to have a healthy career.
The Last Seven starts with William Blake (Simon Phillips) coming to in a deserted London street. After wandering around for a while, he comes across sozzled posho Henry (John Mawson), callow youth Chloe (Daisy Head) and grizzled soldier Jack (Tamer Hassan). It turns out that they have no memory of what has happened or how they got there. Reasoning that there’s been a dirty bomb or biological attack, they decide to head out of the city. They come across three other people – Robert (Sebastian Street), Isabelle (Rita Ramnani) and religious nutter Isaac (Ronan Vibert), and as their memories start to return, they all realise they are connected somehow. However, there’s a sinister something out on the streets that begins picking them off and there’s an obligatory twisty ending.
So, was it any good? Unfortunately, no. The Last Seven is hamstrung from the start by a weak script. Very little happens in the movie, and any character development is achieved by the use of flashbacks. This is not a problem in itself where a modicum of invention is employed, but here we’re treated to pretty much the same flashbacks over and over, and it quickly gets played out. In fact, the tedium of the character’s journey through the street of the capital is only broken up by the tedium of their flashbacks. For example, the start of the film does an effective job of making the streets of London look deserted and eerie, but Blake’s trudging through them goes on for ten minutes. This is quite a chunk given the short running time of 1 hour 20 minutes, and it wears your patience out straight away. The director has tried to evoke a similar feel to the similar sequence in 28 Days Later, but that achieves a sense of desolation much more effectively in less running time.
The standard of acting is pretty poor also. Tamer Hassan emerges relatively unscathed, regardless of his clunky dialogue – fair play, the guy has great screen presence – and Ronan Vibert has his moments, but overall there are more wooden performances on show than a Ron Jeremy compilation tape. Most of the characters do little to endear themselves to you with their moaning and bickering, but special mention must be made of Mawson – he obviously had fun playing the pissed-up posh nob, but it’s a pity that his performance is plain old cringeworthy.
This is director Imran Naqvi’s first feature, so I could forgive him for jumping on the opportunity to make a film and throttling it into submission, but he may want to be a little pickier with his script in future. Hopefully, he’ll go on to better things – remember, Sir Ridley Scott was making Hovis adverts before he wowed us with Alien. It’s possible that Naqvi he was taken in by blurb similar to that found on the cover of the DVD; Hassan and Dyer “explosively reunite” in an action-thriller where a “cataclysmic event” has left London all spooky and deserted. Pfft.
Ah, Danny Dyer. I almost forgot. You may be wondering what part he had in this movie. Well, were I to reveal it, it would be a massive spoiler even though you would probably guess the twist near the start. The chubbily handsome cockernee has hardly any screentime, and the only time he opens his mouth is during a voice over at the beginning and end of the movie. The prominence he’s given on the cover of the DVD is disingenuous to say the least, but it’s fair to say that this is a Danny Dyer film for people who hate Danny Dyer.
As a Brit horror/action film it’s no Shaun of the Dead, but at least it’s not as catastrophic as Lesbian Vampire Killers. For that, we should all be grateful.