One has to admire Asylum; the studio that brings Z Nation and Sharknado (ad nauseum) to SyFy. The former sometimes reaches heights that can only be described as sublime and the latter is an exercise in schlock. Dead 7; a sort of mishmash of grown boy bands meet Seven Samurai (or the “not-so” Magnificent Seven) is the latest effort from the bargain basement film company.
At two hours, Dead 7 is a little long and drawn out. Co-written by Nick Carter and Sawyer Perry and directed by Danny Roew the film follows a group of disparate “heroes” who take on the evil Apocolypta (Debra Wilson), who could be a kissing cousin of Big Daddy Mars (Richard Cetrone) in John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars.
The world has been overrun by zombies and the power mad Apocolypta is raising an army of the undead to take over her little part of the world. She sends hordes of the creatures to overtake towns, under the supervision of her “non-zombie” right-hand man (AJ McLean another of Nick Carter’s band mates from BSB), and makes more zombies.
As the team of seven work toward taking out Apocolypta they find more zombies and more villains to overcome. This film, despite being written outside the Asylum studio feels right at home on SyFy with its mix of Z Nation and the Sharknado franchise meet the Seven Samurai manages to slightly entertain.
There are enough CG exploding heads and blood spray to keep most gore enthusiasts satisfied. It is never explained just why Apocolypta wants to overrun the world with zombies. The heroes battle an ever increasing amount of these creatures and as the two hour film progresses, characters stumble and die along the way.
Of course the big pull of this film is not its plot and is more about the grown boy band members. Nick Carter is the lone wolf hero who reluctantly joins the mission. There are members from BSB *NSYNC, 98 Degrees and O Town.
Carter looks good and all of these boy band performers do a pretty impressive job in front of the camera. The problems with the film, and there are a number of them, have to do with liberal borrowing from other horror films, an overabundance of CG deaths and a meandering plot line.
For example; the heroes pull teeth from the “copperheads” and use the mouth enamel as currency. This is all too similar to the collection of vampire fangs in Stake Land which were also used as a replacement for money.
Dead 7 is probably more entertaining to fans of the former boy band members who populate the film. Others may find the movie a bit tedious as the pace drags and the boy band actors are a little up and down in terms of performance.
Joey Fatone is good as the gregarious Whiskey Joe and Carter is good as Jack, so too is his wife Lauren Kitt Carter who underplays the role of Sirene. McLean’s giggling Johnny Vermillion is just annoying after a while however.
The camera work is a mixture of oblique angles and tight shots that fall short of a proper close-up and feel more like an effort to ignore the set’s background. Overall Dead 7 is more on par with Sharknado than Z Nation and a deviation from the usual popular fare from Carter and his fellow Backstreet Boys band members.
The film is not overly impressive as it rambles (At two hours how could it not?) and it ultimately fails to deliver a punch by its end. There are moments where Wilson actually manages to be rather disturbing and the one scene where she licks zombie drool off of a zombie’s chin is revolting.
Dead 7 is another example of Asylum putting together a project that falls short but still has the odd moment that entertains. On a Sharknado scale of one to five, this one is a two and a half sharks short of a full mark.