Trivia ‘75’ refers to the length of time in seconds a caller has to convince those they are cold-calling that the warped lies leaving their mouths are true. If the caller rumbles and you fail to keep them talking for one minute fifteen seconds, you lose.
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7eventy 5ive (2008)
24th May 09
Years after seeing their parents butchered with an axe by some nut job they made the mistake of crank calling, the same kids, now older but no wiser, do the same at a party in the middle of nowhere to find that oops, they call him up again.
Wes Craven’s huge box office smash was obviously a HUGE inspiration for 7eventy 5ive. From creepy phone calls telling the recipient that they are being watched and are about to die, right up its climactic twist, it’s pretty much all there. Given that such material has worked before, surely directors Brian Hooks (also starring in the film as Marcus) and Deon Taylor can turn out a semi-decent flick from such an influence this time round? The answer is no. 7eventy 5ive stiffs right from the start.
After a pre-credits sequence showing youngsters cold-calling people late at night only to dial up an axe-wielding maniac, the viewer finds himself scratching his head with his jaw sagging in disbelief. Why would the killer leave the kids from his slaughter given that it was them that phoned him and annoyed him to start with?
Rather than be mentally scarred for life, these kids grow up into your archetypal nauseating stalk and slash clichés - and not a single one of them is likeable. There are also too many of them to keep track of or try to empathize with, so when the killing starts you kind of forget who was who.
Admittedly, there is normally some joy to be had by watching vaguely pretty young Americans finding themselves on the wrong end of a chop-happy axe-wielding maniac, but strangely not here. There are too many plot inconsistencies, also known as bad writing, that entangle and stupefy the viewer for them to really take on board all the head lopping and death by Jacuzzi.
For example, the script makes a point of letting the viewers know that there is no mobile phone signal where our party hungry youngsters are heading, and therefore presumably where they are going, but what was the fricking point? Upon arriving at the huge fuck-off house in the middle of nowhere, they find a conference phone to call up anonymous people to play the game that is the name of the flick - as well as, apparently, a pizza delivery service.
Prior to some enlightening shots of half eaten pizza to let the audience know that the pizza man has indeed delivered, the viewer has been informed that the nearest police station is forty five minutes away. Given that the house is meant to be in the middle of nowhere, a standard set-up for a serial killer to pop by and slice and dice undisturbed, how many pizza places do you know that will deliver so far out? You can hear the guy at Domino’s saying, ‘What’s the address again? Sorry that’s forty five minutes drive.’ And given the lavish mansion has that looked after feel to it, wouldn’t the fridges and freezers be stocked up by the housekeepers? Why such a fuss about the pizza? You’ll understand why when you see the film. It’s a key moment for the youngsters in sussing that they may have a nutter with an axe come calling at their door.
The killer gatecrashes the house party, one of those mind-numbingly boring movie set-ups were no one really looks like they are having any fun at all, he is hardly what you would call stealth like. Smashing through glass, victims running screaming, axe thumping into walls, doors, furniture, you know the sort of thing, this guy seems to WANT people to know where he is. Either that or he has cottoned on to how stupid these kids really are. And boy are they stupid!
Considering all the commotion our anorak-wearing killer (anorak? Urban Legends anybody?) is making, the most you get out of those yet to meet their maker is an irritatingly dumb, ‘Did you hear that?’ What you mean all that screaming and glass shattering, nah, didn’t hear a thing mate!
Other plot details that irk are as follows...would you REALLY play a game of prank telephone calling if the last time you did you saw everyone’s parents chopped up? Um, no! And just what are the chances of calling that very same number by chance again and failing to dial *67 prior to making the call AGAIN so the killer now knows your number? This all makes even less sense when the big reveal to who the killer(s) is come the movie’s climax.
Later there is a scene where three people are being pursued by the one person with the axe. He isn’t superhuman, just turn on the fucker, there’s three of you, one of him, take the asshole down! But nope, they run screaming behind locked doors and remain there whimpering away.
The plot absurdities pile up right to and including the shock twist, which isn’t, and an open ending which just makes for a huge fuck off groan. Rutger Hauer (as Detective John Criton), whom the movie is sold on, is only in it for like five teeny weenie minutes and looks bored throughout like he'd rather be out running with the other replicants. 7eventy 5ive is definitely one phone call you’ll wanna miss.