Episode 81 – Dead 7 (2016)

or “What Do You Call 8 Teens at Crystal Lake?”

Featuring: Nick “The Hollow” Carter , Joey “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” Fatone , Carrie “’In Bed with Carrie‘” Keagan

Director: Danny “Shotgun Wedding” Roew

Writers: Nick Carter & Sawyer Perry

Origin: USA

Review_____

“They’re everywhere! And I’m runnin’ out of whiskey!”

Summer: my annual nemesis. Season of the swamp-ass. I look with anticipation to a possible future where I’ll hopefully reside in a climate that the 80s and 90s are fondly remembered for pop culture tropes rather than digits that the Weather Channel app uses to numerically mock me for some long since forgotten slight. In other words, uggh, it’s fucking gross and hot and grossly hot outside. Blah.

Speaking of fucking gross: an onslaught of impotent, tiny-minded, racist, misogynist, dick bibs harassed Leslie Jones to the point of driving her off of social media because they still can’t cope with a Ghostbusters team that uses tampons. Whether your mothers didn’t hug you enough or your creepy babysitter hugged you too much, neither is the fault of any other person. Stop blaming entire genders and/or races for your pathetic state of self-loathing and just get therapy or a fucking hobby like normal people, instead of being humanoid colostomy bags sitting around in your own filth. Wanna flex your imagined manliness so bad? Spare the world your vitriol over Suzy Creamcheese shooting down your invite to the junior prom and just have your next circle jerk in an active volcano. You won’t be missed.

And take Scott Baio with you!

With that out of the way, today’s traipse amid the taint sweat is the final installment of my accidental “’Dead’ Guys of July” trilogy. It started with the high of Deadpool, the crashing low of Dead Rising: Endgame, and wraps up with Dead 7 for the finale. What’s a “Dead 7”? Remember that Magnificent 7 remake due out in September? Well, The Asylum’s up to their old tricks again.

Originally announced by Syfy as airing on April 1st, I’m sure I wasn’t the only skeptic who would’ve bet their collection of “Great Conspiracies of History” Pogs (I have the Illuminati AND 9/11 slammers!) on Dead 7 being an April Fools gag. The fact that it stars a handful of former boy band members as zombie fighting wanna-be cowboys sure as shit didn’t alleviate our misgivings of legitimacy either. But it was all true! Come the first day of the fourth month of the millennium’s sixteenth year, the dead did rise at the whim of that black chick from “MADtv” and the washed up pop stars did send them back to their graves as heralded in the ancient tomes. All you ladies who used to maul your south mouths to your Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC posters (which your dads never understood why you hung on your bedroom ceilings…), it’s time to make like a cartoon wolf and get your tongues wagging!

Though the motif of today’s movie is “cowboys vs. corpses”, our setting is not the Old West. Instead, it’s one of those dystopian post-apocalyptic future times following the collapse of civilization. This time, it’s at the decroded hands of mindless zombie monsters called Copperheads, who seek only food and destruction (like a bunch of Rage infected John Kasichs). The remaining humans opted to build a fence around their own little section of the land and live life like a John Wayne movie. I’m guessing because the only people smart enough to run the power plants were all killed off during the ensuing downfall of humanity. Why not just set the movie in the actual Wild West rather than go with this bullshit “sometime in the near future” nonsense? Because this way our protagonists can have cooler looking guns, wear an affordable wardrobe that doesn’t require too much leather or period specific clothing, drive beat up jeeps and motorcycles, and use modern slang without people like me nitpicking over its complete lack of authenticity!

How uncharacteristically shrewd of The Asylum…by Mercury’s Merkin! Do you realize what this means?! They’re evolving! We’re all fucked!

Amid the mayhem, a woman named Apocolypta runs around the jungles of South America to flee her fate as a human sacrifice for her tribe. Shit. Never mind, that was Apocalypto. Apocolypta is a sinister she-demon (played by Debra Wilson) who controls the Copperheads with her dark magic (not racist!) and rules what’s left of the world. As for the remaining unturned, they’re rounded up and given the option to join her teeming mass of voracious mouths, or become the cattle that feeds them. Personally, I’d sign up for the breeding program and then behead myself once I’d had my fill of filling others, rather than spend the rest of my life roaming in hunger from respite morsel to respite morsel. But then there wouldn’t be much to the movie without a few rebels to fight the forces of fiend-dom. As such, we get protagonists in the form of the retired stage monkeys portraying our eponymous septet. Let’s meet the Insignificant Seven, shall we? Good guy role call!

In order of appearance:

  • Billy (Jeff Timmons) – the barely effective heartthrob hero who shows off his all-American-ness with his stars & stripes baseball cap and the fact that he rides a motorcycle. Chicks dig motorcycles. Pro tip ladies, sybians are cheaper and don’t come with the road rash risk.
  • Daisy Jane (Carrie Keagan) – Billy’s bae. She’s your standard issue tough girl for flicks like this, and she’s the one wearing the pants in both their relationship as well as in the group as a whole. Remember the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the king’s expounding upon his wimpy son the benefits of the lad’s soon-to-be bride’s “huge tracts of land”? Well, Daisy is a land baron’s dream come true.
  • Whiskey Joe (Joey Fatone) – the group’s intoxicated comedy relief. Joe’s a chauvinistic, brawling man-child. He makes it a point while bantering with a prostitute to tell her about the booby trapped flask full of blood he keeps in his coat pocket in case he ever turns into a Copper himself, so don’t expect him to make it across the finish line.
  • Vaquero (Howie Dorough) – the gang’s sniper and Joe’s amigo numero uno. For no real reason, he prefers to be called The Vaquero. “The Vaquero” is a Spanglish term that translates into Engnish as “El Cowboy”. I guess The V just wants to differentiate himself as not just another buckaroo, but as the preeminent buckaroo? Meh.
  • Komodo (Erik-Michael Estrada) – because every group needs a samurai-ninja. A latino samurai-ninja. Kind of an interesting twist given the influence for the original Magnificent Seven was Kurosawa’s epic The Seven Samurai after all. Granted, the whole character reeks of “Who’s this goofy LARPing reject motherfucker?!”, but the entire movie is just kids playing pretend, so I guess we can just go with it.
  • Jack (Nick Carter) – Billy’s estranged, “too cool for fools” brother. Because of course Nick Carter would write himself as the brooding wanna-be Man With No Name knock-off that all the ladies would want to “get with” cuz he’s “mysterious” like that.
  • Sirene (Lauren Kitt Carter) – a Native American (I think?) wasteland warrior princess who was at the End of Days’ ground zero. She’s just the type of amazon you want on your side when fighting the legions of unliving. Unfortunately, her lack of interest in the role and middling talent give her a borderline “Me talkum like Indian trying to talkum to white man” old Hollywood Indian speech pattern that left me checking my calendar to make sure I hadn’t fallen through a time warp. Guess what? I didn’t fall through a time warp.

    With the introductions out of the way, there’s really not much else to say. A large part of the movie consists of gathering the posse, there’s a chunk where they split into two groups for no real reason (beyond having a bordello/whore house/hump shack scene), then the half-assed hero squad and Apocolypta’s Copperhead ghoul brigade have their climactic confrontation. I’ll spare you the spoilers, but suffice it to say that the entire scenario is soaked in the brand of half-assery we’ve all come to expect from the a-holes at The Asylum. Time for the judgment!

    First, the movie’s biggest marketing effort: its stunt casting. Being a non-fan, I don’t even get the novelty of knowing who these goons are. The only one I could pick out of a lineup is Fatone, and that’s just because he’s one of those guys that is his name – he’s the fat one! Anyway, as you’d expect from a group of people best known for their flash-in-the-pan music careers, the acting is mostly meh. Lazy attempts at keeping up accents and a pervasive sense of boredom hanging in the air from pretty much everybody. Especially the wishy-washy emoting from Jeff Timmons as white bread good boy Billy. Amid the rabble though, we do get a trio of diamonds. Well, not so much diamonds as those egg geodes from Giant Spider Invasion.

    Fatone drew the lucky straw in playing the group’s drunken lout, since all he had to do was goof off on camera. A job he did just fine. Then there’s AJ McLean as Apocolypta’s henchman Johnny Vermillion, who feels like an attempted mash-up of Johnny Depp’s role in Dead Man with The Joker. Before you get too excited though, AJ’s mania is way less Heath Ledger and way more Cesar Romero, so abandon all hope for Oscar winning psychosis because you’re getting daytime TV cackling and prancing instead. Finally, despite Apocolypta being the most one-dimensional villain I’ve seen in a while, Debra Wilson’s act is hammier than Petunia Pig’s poontang after slipping Porky a vodka and Viagra cocktail. With eyes bulging and her lower jaw jutted out as far as it’ll go without full-on disjointing itself like one of the Snake Men of Eternia, Miss Wilson puts on a performance so over the top that Lincoln Hawk (I’m sorry, “HAAAWK!”) would just hand over his son to her and walk away without even a hint of saltiness. She makes the voodoo priestess in Zombie Nightmare look measured and culturally sensitive in comparison. True story. No truer story! If you don’t guffaw in awe, you may need to see your doctor to make sure your brain’s not full of tumors or some shit. It’s magic, and incredibly unfortunate that she doesn’t have more screen time as a result.

    Oh, and Everclear frontman Art Alexakis makes a cameo in there somewhere too. This has nothing to do with his 3 seconds of acting or the fact that Everclear wasn’t a boy band, I just wondered if anyone remembered who Everclear is. They had that song about how he had a black girlfriend? Always crying about how he grew up without a father? No, not the guy from Korn. Not ringing any bells? I didn’t think so. They played the New York State Fair last year. Yep, they’re state fair fare these days. It was a free show. We almost went, but there was a demolition derby in town that day. The Evil Dead Bride and I are contented with our choice.

    As far as the story goes, no points to Carter and Perry for originality. In another case of dreaming too big for the budget, we’re promised a global zombie holocaust that gets reduced to a few dozen extras in cheap makeup and thrift store scraps. And, in a dose of logic acid that gave me cranial indigestion, how the fuck do you expect me to believe that Apocolypta’s army of zombies were able to reduce humanity to a small population of Wild West throwbacks, only to be held off by a chain link fence long enough for said refugees to establish their own society?! And with the disturbing amount of guns in the US, how would traditional “kill the brain, kill the beast” infected manage to wipe out 320 million people, let alone under the control of a single leader who only employs a couple of handlers to keep ’em in line?! Did people forget that they could just sit on the roof of their home and crack the undead’s decayed skulls with coffee mugs or door stops or whatever other moderately dense objects they have lying around the house? Clearly there were no Romero movies on Dead 7‘s alternate Earth and its people all deserved to die.

    Rather than just pissing and moaning, today I’m gonna extend the olive branch and try to make the world a more peaceful place. In that vein, here’s some creative criticism on how this chicanery could’ve carried a little credibility. Rather than sticking with the “after the end” setting, instead rewind the story so it takes place in the 1800s. Drop the modern tech and exile Komodo the ninjurai dingus in favor of a more primitive world. It immediately gives credence to the idea of a necromancer menacing small towns of settlers who have no idea what the Copperheads are or how to fight them. Or, if the studio’s boner for the dystopian future tense was set in concrete, just leave the zombie outbreak’s origins unexplained and paint ‘Lypta as an opportunist who can control small groups of ghouls to take what modicum of power there is left. You know, enslaving the remaining humans to…build… monuments…to…her? I’ve burned enough brain cells on this one already. To Hel with it. Onward and up Ward!

    Ward who? Fred Ward? Burt Ward? Ward Cleaver?! Whatever Ward rubs your chub. It’s okay, there are no secrets or judgment here. Except the judgment of this poo poo party, which it’s time to conclude.

    What’s left to ruminate on? Hmmm. Well, as is par for the Asylum’s commodus operandi, the gore’s mostly diluted to digital discharged with traditional splatter used sparingly. On the plus side, the cinematography does what it can to limit said computer generated viscera to brief moments and puts the camera at enough of a distance to keep most of the tech-splatter out of our eyes. Like I said, The Asylum is learning…be afraid.

    All in all, Dead 7‘s not the worst thing in the world, and that’s high praise for an Asylum miscarriage. It’s dumb fun. As bad as it is, at least it’s not The Ridiculous 6, which is about as good as you’re gonna get given the circumstances. If you’re ever confined with your friends in some sick Saw trap where you’re forced to watch it, try taking bets on which characters die and in what order. It makes the wait for your inevitable lunch date with moi go a little faster. Speaking of waiting, now we wait for Syfy’s inevitable follow-up movie where the New Kids on the Block and the Hanson brothers fight to prevent the invasion of Earth by marauding aliens led by Corey Feldman’s ex-wife! I am counting the days.

    Now, what’s next on my imagined itinerary? Well, I’m taking a trip back to The Asylum soon, so send me some of those hopes and prayers people are always banging on about. Before then? I may have a surprise up my pant leg. Care to check? If so, I advise you to put on some gloves first. Preferably something nice. Isotoners® if you’ve got ’em.

    Moral of the Story: If you’re gonna go all Tombstone after the dusk of man, maybe take some of the more useful modern concepts to deal with zombies with you. Like tree houses. And machine guns. And concrete jails. And a few steam shovels to build a moat around your town to fill with some of those zombie fighting Fulci sharks.

    Screenshots_____


    “Jacob, as your voodoo dentist, I’m concerned dat your gums always be bleedin’ when ya come here. I know I told ya to get ridda da plaque, but you godda stahp brushin’ yo teeth wid Brill-O pahds!”


    That look you get when you wake up and step in a pile of what used to be a mouse, before your cat decided to offer it up as a sacrifice to you.


    With no more brown people to harass, Nevada Sheriff Joe Arpaio found himself without much to do after the end of the world.


    Looks like somebody watched Benny & Joon last night… while on angel dust… and listening to Kid Rock.


    Always be wary of wearing a white dress around a person with a bloody nose. One good sneeze and you look like a used tampon.


    “All the props department had left were the steampunk eye patch and the mutton chops, Luther. I called the patch fair and square, and I’m not gonna trade! Accept it!”


    “Hey guys, wanna know a secret? Everybody calls me ‘Whiskey Joe’, but it’s really just water in my flask! I’m a total teetotaler. I never touch the stuff! Hahahaha!”


    “God damn it, Joe! I toldja what was gonna happen to you if you ate the last Lunchables™, and you fuckin’ ate it anyway! THAT WAS MY DINNER, YOU DICKHEAD! Hold him down, boys! I’ll be dining on my tiny deli meats and crackers one way or another tonight!”


    Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Whiskey Joe and The Vaquero.


    “Well, I guess I’m a cultural anachronism!” *shrug*


    Jeff Timmons – the poor man’s Mark Wahlberg… with a stupid kanji tattoo that he probably thinks mean “fire”, but actually means “flaming dog turd”.


    Pocahontas: Beyond Thunderdome


    That’s not a statue. It’s actually an elaborate decorative meat smoker. When in use, the smoke bellows out of her nostrils. It’s kinda funny…


    Damn, girl. Does your mouth offer car insurance, cuz it’s NATIONWIDE! *rimshot*

    ———————————————————
    ———————————————————

    Anubis will return next time in
    “The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

    Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

    All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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