Blumhouse Productions must have its own version of ‘Santa’s Workshop’ hidden away somewhere. I can almost see a secret army of filmmakers and writers toiling around the clock to produce an endless stream of cheap horror films. Case in point – new teen horror film, Seven in Heaven. Blumhouse unceremoniously dumped Seven in Heaven today on Netflix. Try as I might I couldn’t find any promotional material for this PG-13 chiller. The film’s official IMDb page doesn’t even have a poster. That is not a good sign.
High schooler Jude is an awkward but bright young man who has struggled since the death of his father. When he attends a house party with best friend Kent, Jude runs into school bullies Derek and June. Eventually, Jude gets pressured into a game of ‘Seven in Heaven’ that sees him locked into a ‘secret closet’ with June. Things get stranger when Jude and June leave the closet. They find themselves in a world that looks like their own word, but is dangerously different. It’s an alternate reality where you worst fears come to life.
Seven in Heaven is Arguably Worse Than the Teen Game on Which It’s Based
At this point, Blumhouse Productions is shamelessly plugging for that teen demographic. Seven in Heaven is their second horror film centred around a teen party game. Truth or Dare was a harmless and entirely unremarkable PG-13 horror film. But next to Seven in Heaven, Truth or Dare might be The Exorcist of our generation. Blumhouse has churned out a cheaply made teen horror film that feels like a slightly edgier Goosebumps episode. This is a slightly unfair comparison. Some Goosebumps episodes are actually still a little creepy. In contrast, Seven in Heaven is an entirely scare-free film that can’t even conjure up a lazy jolt. You can also forget about atmosphere or tension.
In addition to its lack of scares, Seven in Heaven is also a terribly paced movie. It seriously overstays its welcome. I mistakingly checked how much time was left an hour into the movie. Much to my dismay, Seven in Heaven still had over 30 minutes to go. Maybe writer and director Chris Eigeman wanted to re-create the unbearably long awkwardness of actually playing ‘seven minutes in heaven.’
So Bad It’s Good, Or Just Bad?
By the time Seven in Heaven hit its final act, I started second-guessing my initially harsh criticism. No, there’s absolutely nothing in the movie’s final 20 minutes or so that elevate it to being technically good. But things do slide into such absurdity to almost make the movie laughably fun to watch. Eigeman’s screenplay contains no internal consistently or logic. There’s some ridiculousness about nude playing cards and a woman who resembles Jude’s mom. The dad exists in this alternate reality. Sometimes he’s evil. Other times, not so much. Seven in Heaven makes up the rules as it goes along. This usually involves clunky and lazy expository dialogue.
But with each passing minute, Seven in Heaven almost becomes fun to watch. It was hard to tell if the laughs were intentional or not. I actually laughed out loud when Jude and June’s intimate ‘seven minutes’ in the closet ended with four minutes left. Whether Eigeman intended it to be funny or not is a mystery. Jason Blumhouse must have hijacked the always reliable Gary Cole into this movie. Is he an inter-dimensional ‘guidance counsellor’ navigating different worlds? Who knows? But when you get to the movie’s bizarro ending with bully Derek, you’re almost wishing things would continue.
Blumhouse Productions Risks Serious Overexposure
Universal Studios and their Gothic monsters eventually ran out of steam. By the mid-1970’s, Hammer Films felt quaint in comparison to films like Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Though Blumhouse Productions has released some of this decade’s best horror films, it risks watering down its own brand. Too many average and below average titles are bound to impact the studio at some point. Clearly, Blumhouse Productions had no faith in their latest release. Ironically, Seven in Heaven might make a fun college drinking game someday. In the meantime, if you want a really good thriller centred around alternative realities, just watch Coherence. I think it’s still available on Netflix.
THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: D