7th Hunt DVD Review
Written by Sharon Davies
DVD released by Left Films
Written and directed by Jon Cohen
2009, Region 2 (PAL), 94 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on DATE
Chris Galletti as The Mastermind
Jason Stojanovski as The Sniper
Tasneem Roc as The Hand
Darren K. Hawkins as The Hacker
Sarah Mawbey as The Inquisitor
Malcolm Frawley as The Knife
Matthew Charleston as Ricky Walker
Imogen Bailey as Ariel Clarke
Kain O'Keeffe as Chris Roberts
Cassady Maddox as Callie Clarke
Olivia Solomons as Sarah Fairmont
A blood stained girl runs through the corridors of a school, she’s terrified, crying and running from something, but what? Suddenly she falls and is surrounded by five figures, a suited man commands an armed member of the team to finish the weeping girl and with the blacked out ringing sound of a shot we are led into the opening of 7th Hunt.
JD Cohen, writer and director of this independent Aussie film, brings what seems to be a low budget fusion of several films. Obviously a fan of Hostel and Saw, this storyline has echoes of familiar movies and not a huge amount of surprises in store.
A team of five people is headed by The Mastermind, a torture-loving murderer who has led his team in 6 "hunts" to date, resulting the killing of many.
His team consists of:
The Hacker - break his firewall to set yourself free, but pinkies at the ready as you’re going to lose them one by one as time ticks on. Ever tried typing without fingers? Not easy.
The Inquisitor- she's going to pump you full of an injection of blue fluid until you confess. And it’s going to take a while for her to get round to what she wants you to confess to.
The Knife - he likes knives, has lots of them and will plunge them into you until he hears you scream.
The Hand - the Chinese dress-wearing daughter of The Mastermind who will Kung Fu your arse until you commit suicide. Naturally.
The Sniper - I think you understand what he does and how by his title.
The antagonists of the film now need to find their unsuspecting victims for their 7th hunt (get it?). Cue a cheesy typewriter introduction to the victims:
Sarah - Spoilt. This selfish little madam will meet The Knife's blade soon enough.
Ariel - The focused deaf runner who will need to run faster than The Sniper’s bullets in order to have a chance at survival.
Callie - Has a love for violent imagery, this Emo wannabe is Ariel’s sister. Here's hoping that she isn’t afraid of needles.
Chris - The all-knowing typewriter describes him as a computer nerd who will need to be the next Steve Jobs in order to overcome The Hacker’s firewalls and try to save his friends.
Ricky - Self-centered misogynist (they could have saved words here and just wrote "tool") he isn’t as hard as he seems as he will soon be beaten to a pulp by a girl.
Each killer takes his, or her, victim into a room at an abandoned military base to slowly have their wicked way with them (see what I mean about Hostel) and dispose of them within the hour. Each victim has a heart rate device attached to them so The Mastermind can ensure that death is certain, and each kill is CCTV'd, monitored and catalogued in detail by the suited leader.
It sounds interesting, but then throw in bad acting, poor dubbing, minimal gore, and a really shaky storyline and you have a bit of a time-wasting production. I really don’t want to rain on JD Cohen’s parade because I really have lots of respect for independent movie makers, but if a film makes me roll my eyes more than ten times, you’ve got problems.
So why the frowns? Well, if someone was about to cut my fingers off, stab me in the stomach or try to suffocate me with a plastic bag, I’d be wriggling faster than a MC Hammer dance move. Do you get that here? Not a jot. If anything, each victim seems rather blasé about meeting their maker. Either that, or are so incredibly stupid they sort of deserve it.
There is also some tension between the five killers, especially between The Hand and The Inquisitor where daughter and current squeeze of The Mastermind promise to do away with each other at some point and there is a sort of twist that plays out at the end.
The real problem is that when you see an angle, PLAY IT OUT. So if you want The Inquisitor to play cat and mouse with Callie, making her feel like a Doctor Gordon / Adam (another Saw echo) type situation is in effect THEN MAKE IT LAST MORE THAN FOUR SECONDS. Or if The Hand is supposed to be so kick ass that she can beat a man to suicide, then perhaps make her look a little bit harder than Hannah Montana. (And kicking a man in open toed heels? Right.)
More in depth storyline is shed when we find out that a couple of the killers have actually escaped the hunt as victims and now find themselves in the unique position of having to kill or be killed. Again real flashes of Hostel here. Throw in quite a few utterances of “Lets play a game” and “You broke the rules” and you can again see where the Saw franchise plays a part.
When it comes to gore there isn’t actually that much going on. More akin to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, where the kill is implied and blood splatter makes up more than actual kill effects. There is however an abundance of blood handy and The Knife’s victim does get covered in the stuff, but other than this the blood is used somewhat sparingly afterwards. CGI springs up in the occasional gunshot ricochet, glass smash or taser shot, but other than this don’t expect anything groundbreaking. As for physical effects you really have to squint to not see how most of them are achieved, although there is a noteworthy part including a leg wound and The Knife’s knife where I sighed with slight relief.
The acting is really absent and with a patchy storyline this goes hand in hand to receive a thumbs down, but then again there is nothing offensive in the story so it’s not necessarily 94 minutes of my life I’ve wasted. I’ve seen worse films – have you seen Mama Mia?
You can see what the director has tried to do here and you know what? With a better budget and more time he might have actually pulled off a gem. It’s almost there and with an open ending there is scope for a sequel, although if the budget is the same then honestly I might not have the time to watch it – I have that paint that is drying you see.
Video and Audio:
The audio in this isn’t particularly great, the characters sound badly dubbed and the music springs between Matrix fight scene tunes and obscure Rock. The mix of the two can sometimes be a bit cheesy and doesn’t add anything to the overall production. This is low budget, and it shows. The video isn’t horrendous, but the absence of professional lighting or great camera lenses leaves the whole thing a bit grainy, a bit colourless and amateur. The set is actually pretty good and adds some quality to the piece but without this I fear the production would have been so much worse.
Extras include a trailer (which actually makes the film look a little better than it is – but when you put all the best bits in the trailer that does tend to happen).
Gallery – weird and wonderful set pictures but in the main taken from stills of the actual film.
Other Trailers – which include The Harsh Light of Day, Blood Car, Monstro!, Alien Undead and Devils Crossing.
Nothing spectacular nor any commentary to gain a cast, crew or director opinion so pretty basic overall.