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Thursday, February 14, 2013

7 Below

I have a confession to make....ever since his career has been in a steep decline, I've really had a kick watching Val Kilmer's newer films. This is especially the case with his horror and thriller efforts, as his kooky, pudgy self is a hoot to watch, instead of scary. I say we do a Kickstarter campaign to more or less keep them rolling off the assembly line. But let's start a second campaign to force Wesley Snipes to stop making movies. He makes my soul weep.

Anyway, lets watch 7 Below, It's about a bunch of people trapped in a house during a storm. Will it be scary? Will Val Kilmer have to buy his wardrobe at Big & Tall? Will I warn you about SPOILERS below? Let's find out!

Okay, so the movie starts by showing us an endless parade of corporate logos. When they finish, the movie will probably be 10 minutes long. On a somewhat odd note, more than one logo centers around fish. Weird.  Yay! I think the movie's starting to kick in! And my horse tranquilizers!

Somebody starts to play " By the Light of The Silvery Moon" on a very old-looking record player, then we watch as a couple are having sex. There's a brief glimpse of a newspaper, and the top story concerns a Germany-funded trip to Antarctica. Finally, we see a small group of sepia-toned family pictures.

As the lovers continue to go at it, a woman interrupts the action. She demands that they stop, then orders the nude woman out of the house. The male slaps the intruder, tells her that he makes the house rules, then also tells his lover to hit the road.

So...this weird couple are married I guess, but they have individual bedrooms. After she leaves her husband's room, the wife visits her mother's room, mostly to seek out a shoulder to cry on. Before she exits back to the hallway, the wife suggests leaving the house.

Next on her indoor parade route is a visit with her young daughters. She tells them to get to bed, but a storm outside scares the girls. Not helping matters, her lip starts to bleed from where her husband smacked her. She tells them that it's fine, and leaves that room too.

In the hallway, the husband seems to be waiting for her. We finally learn that his name is Sean. Whoops, no...this is a tall boy, presumably her son. He spins around to face her, then stabs her with a large kitchen knife. The husband hears some of the attack, and heads down to investigate.

He finds a figure in a chair, and he calls out to her, thinking the the old woman wandered out of her room. Her name is Aunt May, so we now know 2 things about her:

-She's an aunt, not a mother-in-law.
-Her nephew, Peter Parker is about to be bitten by a radioactive spider.

Anyway, he spins her chair around, only to discover that she's dead. Was anyone actually surprised by that? If you were, then go back into the blog archives, and watch every single movie I've mocked since I began this thing. And take a drink every single time you spot a cliche. If you're still alive by next scare me, man. (On the other hand, if you're a female and you survive...Marry me. Tonight, my queen. I must have you here, next to me, where we shall rule over our horror-movie kingdom...)

As the young girls are heard screaming, the credits begin. Generic "spooky" credits, no less. Great.

The movie resumes, and there's either a light-colored van or bus driving down an otherwise empty highway. Inside the vehicle are Kilmer's character, plus a handful of folks I've never seen before. 2 guys sitting together discuss reincarnation, then one of them sees an eerie woman in a white dress, just standing by the side of the road. His reincarnation-obsessed buddy doesn't seem to notice her.

When the driver starts chatting with the group, one mentions that he's a doctor. Ghost-seeing guy pipes up, saying that he's in med school. The man next to ghost-guy is his brother. Anybody want to ask me if any of these passengers have names yet? Don't.

Kilmer and the attractive woman seated next to him are apparently a married couple, heading somewhere to work on their relationship. They don't look too happy. Wait, doesn't that make them a perfectly normal married couple?

They pull into a gas station, and the driver suggests that they get some food or use the bathroom or whatever, since this is the last stop before they reach their destination. Kilmer's wife asks him to buy her a coffee, and he and the brothers enter the convenience store. Sadly, this is the closest thing we've had to an action scene so far.

A weather report heard in the small store announces that high winds moving throughout the area are tearing property apart, tossing around trees, etc. The 2 brothers buy some snacks and drinks, and both try(and fail) to flirt with the woman at the register, Courtney. Better luck next time.

Kilmer's character gets impatient with these guys, and asks them to hurry with their purchases, lest the bus leave without them. His character tries flirting with Courtney as well, even giving her his business card(he's a corporate lawyer from Chicago), and planting a sloppy kiss on her hand. Oh, and his name is Bill! We finally know the name of a single passenger on the damned bus!

Bill leaves, and his wife demands her coffee. Bill lies, telling her that they didn't sell hot coffee. Of course, she saw him flirting with Courtney, so she pretty much knows what happened. Hard to believe that this is the same guy who played Jim Morrison in The Doors...

There's some dude fiddling with a camera. He glances up at the sky. Then the scene ends. Fascinating stuff.

Just like the weather report predicted, things start to get a bit rough back on the road. The cloud start to turn dark, The driver decides that it would be smart to accelerate, and he also sees the woman in white as he rounds a corner. He swerves to avoid her, and sends the vehicle crashing into a tree.

Some unspecified time later, a second vehicle pulls up to the crash site. A person wearing a long coat steps out, but we don't get to see who they are. Well, that was a waste of movie time!

Even MORE time passes, and everyone is now out of the bus. It turns out that the stranger from the previous scene rescued them. His name is Jack, and he dresses like a cowboy. The group came out alive, except for the driver, who face-planted into the windshield. That the good(ish) news.

The not-so-good news? There are several injuries throughout the group, including a massive gash in Bill's head. They're hesitant to try moving him, even when he  jokingly suggests that alcohol will make him a lot better. They get him standing, and help him to board Jack's pickup truck. The bus driver is left sprawled out on the ground, but Jack promises to call the authorities to get him later.

Jack's home is pretty nice, but it's also out in the middle of nowhere. Must be a real bitch of a journey to deliver the mail every day. As everybody files in, the young doctor asks for a number of medical supplies.

Bill follows his spouse into a quaintly-decorated bedroom, where they pick on each other. Jack watches the verbal exchange from the doorway. Then he gets upset when Bill finds an old knife, as well as several other "family heirlooms".

He and Bill get on each others' nerves, and Jack tries to distract everyone by generously offering them the use of his liquor cabinet. The first 2 takers are those annoying siblings, who just start drinking right from the bottle.

In Bill's room, his condition is getting worse. He's delirious, and he can hear women screaming in other rooms. He also thinks that Jack wants to kill them.

Bill's wife is given a dry shirt to wear(offered by one of the goofy brothers), and Jack leads her to an empty room where she can change her shirt. Meanwhile, the clouds get even darker, and thunder rolls in.

Bill seems to have calmed down, but then more sounds make him cry. In the living room, Jack tells the others that he only has venison to eat. When they suggest trying to head back to the gas station, Jack claims that the roads are closed. After a debate, Jack agrees to let one of the guests use his truck.

The younger of the brothers heads out. Along the way, he sees Courtney by the side of the road, looking under her vehicle's hood. He pulls over, and gets out to help.

She guesses that she ran out of gas, and the young man introduces himself as Adam. Then he talks about how unwary drivers are often taken advantage of by people faking engine trouble, right before pointing out that an empty gas tank isn't solved by popping the hood.

Courtney insults him, but Adam still wants to help her. She eventually accepts his offer of a ride, and they both climb into Jack's truck. Truckin' A!

Back at the house, Bill's wife chats up Adam's brother. She discovers that they're traveling together because their mother recently died, so they took a road trip to try to reconnect as siblings. Awwwwww...

After the story, we see Adam and Courtney discover that the road back to the gas station has, indeed, been closed down. With no other choice, they return to Jack's house. Everybody is surprised to see the new guest, especially Adam's brother.

Jack welcomes the new person, then escorts her upstairs to find some dry clothes. He opens a wardrobe, and Courtney is shown a flowing white dress. Gee, where have we seen a white dress before?

Courtney slips off her wet clothes, then puts on the gown. She puts on some lip gloss in the bathroom, and leans over the sink. A ghost child appears behind her, and Courtney spots him in the bathroom mirror. Of course, he vanishes when she turns around.

Bill seems to be having visions of ghosts now, and they frighten him. Courtney hears him and tries to help, but his rants about being in danger make her nervous. She promises to come back, then escapes the room.

Some time later, Bill's wife is heard screaming.

Everyone comes running, and find her and the foreign doctor trying to revive Bill. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot: Bill died. And marks on his neck imply that it was MURDER!!!! *cue dramatic music*

They all gather downstairs, and try to figure out who was the last person to see Bill alive. Courtney admits to speaking with him 10 minutes earlier, but denies killing him. Then his wife is accused of murdering him. Pretty much everyone's a suspect. Personally, I think it was Professor Plum in The Study with a Gun.

Anyway, Adam says that he thinks the neck bruises were new, then he and his brother announce that they intend to leave. Yeah, right after someone was murdered? As they get outside, Adam asks his brother(now identified as Isaac, by the way) to let Courtney go with them. Isaac okays the idea, but only gives her 1 minute to join them.

Isaac climbs in the truck to start the engine, but it won't even stutter. Adam pops the hood, only to discover that somebody sabotaged the motor. So much for the escape plan! They run back to the house, on a hunch that Jack is behind everything.

He's in a parlor room, calmly reading a newspaper and smoking a cigar. The siblings immediately start to accuse him of messing with the engine, and he responds that they probably did it, since they've both had so much recent access to the truck. Then the lights go out.

They ask Jack if he has a flashlight, and he tells them to find it on their own. Isaac tries to do just that, and scrapes his stomach on a nail. The young doctor runs off to get supplies to treat the wound with, while Isaac, Courtney and Adam examine the wound.

How the heck do you scrape your torso with a loose nail? I mean, stubbing your toe, sure, but higher up on the body? Yeesh.

Adam and the doctor talk privately about the way that Bill died. The doctor is still hesitant to say when he first saw the neck scratches. Then he confesses to Adam that he once had his medical license taken away because of an addiction to painkillers, and he's been trying to keep a low profile since getting it back.

Bill's corpse is moved out of the house, so as not to upset the rest of the group. Then Jack is asked how long he's owned the house. He says that it feels like forever.

Brook, Bill's widow seems afraid to fall asleep. As the storm rages on, she gets the uneasy feeling that she's not alone in the bedroom. Brook leans waaaay over the side of the bed, and takes a peek. Nope, nothing's hiding under the bed.

Brook sits back up, and a ghost girl behind her sets her Freak-O-Meter off the charts. Then a pair of ghostly hands clutch her ankles, and start to drag her beneath the bed. Brook manages to stand up, then just leaves the room. Lame!

A storm warning on the radio stretches to several counties in the local region. because of the storm, they decide to try to get some sleep, and deal with everything in the morning. Sweet dreams!

They go to bed, but no one feels much like sleeping. Each one seems to have their own theory about what 's going on. Isaac encounters Jack out in the barn, and he finds out that Jack has always been "sensitive" in a "garden-variety psychic" sort of way.

In his bedroom, Adam is getting restless. He hears laughter, then footsteps, and decides to check it out. He sees the ghost of the young boy from the opening sequence, and witnesses one of the murders being acted out in front of him. Adam runs away.

He finds, Isaac, Courtney and Brooklyn(I shit you not, that's her full first name!) drinking together. Adam describes what he just saw, and Isaac fetches one of the antique pictures from the other room. After Adam identifies the little boy in the photo, the woman admit to seeing him as well. Adam and Isaac agree that it's time to try to contact their father again, and the women leave with them.

They stupidly split up into pairs, and Adam takes Courtney with him to investigate Jack's room. She agrees to stand guard as he searches the room, then she abandons her post to check out a noise upstairs. Nice guarding, she's really effective in her job.

Isaac and Brook are just wandering down random hallways. Meanwhile, Adam finds very old newspapers, filled with details about the murder spree. And then Brook pukes into a toilet for no reason. Welcome to "Random Scene Theater"!

Courtney watches as another ghostly murder is reenacted. The ghost of the boy seems to look at her, and she gets upset. At the same time, Adam finds old-timey pictures of Jack! Then Jack finds him!

Brook washes up at the sink, and thinks she hears something nearby. She calls out to Isaac, but he doesn't reply. Brook finishes washing her face and hands, then Isaac pops up and makes her jump. They exit the bathroom on their never-ending quest to rescue the princess, I meant: They continue to search for Jack.

Oh look, there he is! Adam shows Jack the pictures, and demands an explanation. Jack tells him that 100 years ago, a tragedy struck the house. Just as we're about to get an explanation, the movie decides to show us the young doctor sleeping. Dammit, movie! Pay attention to yourself!

Anyway, the doctor hears a noise, and decides to go have a look in the hallway. He sees movement, and follows it. He eventually discovers a woman with a large throat wound.

Okay. Finally. The plot. Jack shows Adam a picture of a man named William, and is told that William was the young killer's adoptive father. After the boy killed him and the other family members, he supposedly couldn't remember committing the crimes. Oh, and there was a storm that night that was as bad as the current one.

Adam asks Jack why he stays in the house, and Jack says that it's his sanctuary. Adam insists that the others should know, and Jack laughs. Then he walks away.

The others are collected, and Jack tells the same story twice, adding that people who stay in the house claim to see ghosts. Jack insists that they're safer in the house because of the storm, then tells them to go back to bed. Then he yells, "BOO!", and leaves the room.

In bed, Adam apologizes to Courtney for bringing her to the haunted house. She then relates to him that she thinks a curse has followed her for her entire life. When she was a child, Courtney's parents were killed. She spent her childhood in foster homes, where she had been abused and mistreated. When she was old enough, Courtney moved out on her home, eventually settling in this tiny, isolated community to get away from the world.

There's a quick scene showing that both Isaac and Brook are unable to sleep, then the clocks start running backwards. A series of images of the various murders occur, and Adam is jolted awake. He tells Courtney of the various murders he just dreamt of, and then he shows her the very old picture of Jack.

They talk about what the picture might mean, but neither one can figure out a logical way to explain the image. Then they spot a hole above the headboard. Isaac takes a closer look at the wall, and realizes that somebody is spying on them! Adam rushes out of the bedroom to catch the voyeur, and the scene screeches to a halt before it gets interesting.

Now, we're catching up with Isaac and Brook. Is this a horror film, or a reality dating show? Is there actually a difference? Hmmm...I must ponder these questions later.

Anyway, Brook is torn between being exhausted, and being terrified. Isaac suggests that she sleep, and he'll watch over her. They wander away together.

Adam again. He finds out that the room next to the one they were in is some kind of storage area, with a ton of furniture, covered in white sheets. He wanders through a furniture maze, until he finds the wall with the peephole in it. He checks on Courtney, then moves on to explore further.

A figure draped in one of the sheets grabs Adam from behind, then rushes out of the room. As this happens, Isaac and Brook arrive at one of the bedrooms. Brook complains that the floor is wet, and it turns out to be blood. It's revealed that the doctor is dead.

Then, all 4 of our intrepid "heroes" reunite. They decide, again, that they should leave. Wait, didn't this happen twice already? This is the cinematic equivalent of a Moebius Strip, I swear.

Outside, the storm has come to a screeching halt. Just like the movie! They grab flashlights and tools/weapons from the garage/storage shed, and head into the woods to begin their hike to any sort of road or town.

As is the rule of pretty much every horror film if the last 15 years, the cell phones don't work. Then Courtney trips, and injures her ankle. I swear to Chthulhu, if a cat jumps out of a tree to surprise them, I'm turning this off.

Adam tells the other couple to continue on their hike, while he remains with his beloved. As Isaac and Brook abandon their friends, Brook sees another ghost up close, and she and Isaac get split up in spooky ghost fog. That makes sense...

Adam gets Courtney standing up, which pretty much invalidates the entire "go on without us" scene. I hope they get eaten by a bear. Or Jack...same diff, right? Yeah it is. You know I'm right...

In any event, they also walk into the ghostly fog, and share a "special" moment. The moment gets ruined a few seconds later, when they bump into Isaac, who is looking for Brook. Isaac then moves deeper into the fog to continue exploring, while Adam makes the dumbest decision ever. He decides that he and Courtney should also split up, to cover more ground.

Was the script written in crayon???

So yeah, now everyone is lost in the fog and alone. Brook is briefly shown, but she sees something that forces her to make the goofiest "scared" face ever. Then she seems to sink out of camera range at 100 miles an hour.

Somehow, the other 3 find each other again, and spot a house nearby. They see a light on inside, and decide to seek help. Once inside, they see the ghost family having dinner, and Jack is standing in a corner and grinning. He welcomes them back.

Isaac tells him that they're leaving, but Jack insists that they can't leave. He even offers them drinks, but they make a hasty retreat. As they leave, Bill appears in the room, also holding a glass of alcohol.

As they all get outside again, Brook staggers toward them, clutching a gory abdomen wound. She falls to her knees, gasping. Adam and Courtney run to her, but Isaac runs off into the fog.

Bill and Jack drink, and Jack starts to sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" while Brook is dying on the ground. The ghostly woman in white then vanishes. Adam continues to look for the others, and the sun starts coming up.

Isaac sees another ghost, then Courtney shows up. He asks her if she saw the ghost, but there's no response. As Adam calls out to his brother, he stumbles into a graveyard. No surprise, the names on the graves are not only the murdered family, but also the people on the bus.

Courtney shows up, and then both of them notice an open grave. Jack shows up swinging a gold watch on a chain. Adam accuses him of murder, but then Courtney is seen clutching a blood-drenched knife.

Okay, so let me try to make sense of this....the bus passengers were all pawns in a crazy reincarnation plot. Everyone was reborn, just so they could be killed again. Jack makes it sound like Adam was the killer, but flashbacks show Courtney murdering all of the bus passengers during the night.

Then Jack claims to be "Destiny", or whatever. Courtney lifts the knife, even as Adam begs her to resist the impulse. As he attempts to talk her down, she gets stabbed instead of him. Black, wispy smoke leaves her body....Hey! We have a new Pope!

Courtney collapses, and has just enough time to confess her love to Adam, before she passes away. Then Jack performs some kooky chant, and starts to laugh like a hyena. Adam also sees the ghost of the little boy in the distance.

The ghost creeps up behind Jack, and ghost-stabs him in his ghost-back. They disappear in a cloud of black smoke, then Courtney starts to breathe again. Huh???

Adam promises to get Courtney to someplace safe, then the scene fades out. We see a wall in the next scene, which includes a picture of Adam and Courtney on their wedding day. She's in their kitchen, chopping veggies for dinner in an ominous manner.

Adam enters the kitchen, kisses her neck, and she tenses up. She spins around, and hands her hubbie a glass of wine. Adam leaves the kitchen, and Courtney soon follows. She brings the knife along, while the ghost of the crazy boy watches from outside. THE END

These are getting worse. And so is Val Kilmer. Someone needs to put him on some isolated island. Then nuke the shit out of it. 1 out of 5, for being complete crap. Oh, and what lessons have I learned?

-Destiny has nothing better to do than mess with people.

-If someone dies in your house, dump the body outside.

-When you begin to realize that people are vanishing down the hall from you, just go back to bed.

The next movie on my list is something called Detention. I'm sorry for this entry's lateness, but I was mailed a damaged DVD, and it took a few extra days to get another movie in the mail. Hopefully, Detention will be okay...