DVD Review: The 7th Dimension

Directed By Brad Watson
Starring Kelly Adams, Lucy Evans, Jonathan Rhodes and David Horton



It’s Hollyoaks horror by way of The DaVinci Code as a duo of beautiful young college students get roped into a night of sci-fi, psychics and psychos. After sleeping with her schlubby lecturer Malcolm (David Horton), flighty and impulsive Zoe (Lucy Evans) decides to quit college in hopes of being with him. Dashing off to his apartment building to declare her love, she drags supportive friend Sarah (Kelly Adams) along to act as wingwoman.

When they get to his penthouse flat, they find out that Malcolm’s been helping shock-jock ‘net radio host Declan (Jonathan Rhodes) and his sullen Asian sidekick Kendra (Calita Rainford) hack into the Vatican’s archives in hopes of unlocking The Bible Code – a complex correlation of words in the Torah that predicts every event ever. But to paraphrase Uncle Ben Parker (no, not the rice guy), with great power comes craziness and psychic shenanigans, and it becomes apparent that they’ve unleashed powers more sinister than intended.

It’s a straight-to-video flick with a generic sci-fi title and a cast of former Brit soap actors, and it likely only cost about half of Doctor Who’s bow tie budget to make. It’s a nice surprise, then, that The 7th Dimension is actually a surprisingly fun little film. It is, of course, still a hokey B-movie by-and-large, but it’s one with a solid cast, decent writing and a wealth of ideas and imagination. When 99.9997% of home-grown horror movies go for the easy out and drop an attractive cast into a generic slasher or monster film, it’s commendable that Brad Watson and writer Debbie Moon shoot for something more original and ambitious, even if their execution doesn’t quite match their ideas.
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With its Dan Brown religious conspiracy plot and supernatural sci-fi leanings, cramming in everything from remote viewing to ESP while still tackling a little theological musing alongside its broader horror beats, it’s pretty damn impressive just how much the film manages to juggle cohesively. Feeling ambitiously epic for a film confined to one room, it speeds along at a fast pace as Watson navigates the budget constraints well, avoiding any urges to throw in cheap effects and instead focusing on human horrors. Thankfully the writing and the cast are a few notches above the usual DTV fare; Kelly Adams is especially likeable and impressive, Lucy Evans manages to be amiable if occasionally screechy, while Jonathan Rhodes is hyperactive and showy, but chews scenery effectively as the radical antagonist.

The film isn’t without glaring issues though. Despite the rest of the cast being engaging, David Horton serves as a black hole of acting talent, actively sucking the energy from those around him and leaving the film a lifeless void whenever he called upon to speak. The script’s frequent dalliances with existential ideas come off like an A-Level student rattling off quotes from an Intro to Theology textbook; self-important and ultimately not remotely as intelligent as it thinks, but might just pass for truly clever if you’re drunk enough. After a brisk and ambitious build-up, the film fails to follow through on its initial promise, becoming lazier and more nonsensical before stumbling towards a half-hearted anticlimax that feels like it’s missing a final act.

Ultimately, Watson aims for thought-provoking, mind-bending sci-fi but lands at about the level of a decent Torchwood episode. Which is a pleasing enough compromise, as The 7th Dimension still delivers a fun, breezy late-night horror flick that’s a great deal more entertaining and original than the usual straight-to-video dreck, even if it doesn’t deliver on its lofty ambition.
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On the DVD:

The review copy that Kaleidoscope kindly sent along was a promotional screener without extras, so I can’t comment accurately on the visual/audio quality of the retail release. The DVD apparently comes with a ‘Making Of’ documentary and 5.1 Dolby Digital audio.


Rating:



The 7th Dimension is available to buy in the UK on DVD from 23rd August 2010.
Click here to order the DVD from Amazon.co.uk.