Stars: Nick Carter, Lauren Kitt-Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, Jeff Timmons, Erik-Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood, Trevor Penick, Dan Miller, Carrie Keagan, Debra Wilson, Frenchie Davis | Written by Nick Carter, Sawyer Perry | Directed by Danny Roew
OK, so its April 1st and I’m writing a review of a boy band zombie Western mashup starring members of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees and O-Town. Which comes from The Asylum, best know these days as the mockbuster company behind Sharknado and its (three) sequels…. I know, I know, it sounds like I’m taking the mick, but I swear to god this is NOT a joke – this is a real movie. Well as real as an other Asylum/Syfy team-up!
For those interested in the plot (because, to be fair, most people will just watch this to see old boybands fighting zombies - which would actually be a great alternate title), Dead 7 is set in a world which – after being decimated by a mysterious epidemic – has regressed to an Old West kind of life, mixing cowboys and gunslingers of old with more modern tropes. The film tells the story of a ragtag band of gunslingers – led by reluctant hero Jack (Nick Carter) – who team up to rid a small town of not only an invading zombie menace but also an insane cult leader, Apocalypta (Debra Wilson) and her army of Copperheads. Oh ,and AJ McLean who plays her sidekick, a Joker-esque villain called Johnny Vermillion.
So who’s bright idea was this? The story is credited to Nick Carter, with a screenplay by Sawyer Perry (oddly his ONLY credit, perhaps a pseudonym?), though my guess is this freakish film stems from The Asylum’s current TV show, also airing on Syfy, Z Nation. I’d love to think that Carter was sat marathoning the show one day when he decide he wanted to fight zombies so got in touch with The Asylum. And so Dead 7 was born… Whatever the reasoning behind this film, it would undoubtedly make for a more interesting story that this though, that’s for sure!
If one was to try and pick out the positives, there is a least some decent, if infrequent, gore to enjoy – heads explode, limbs are sliced off, people are (obviously) eaten; you know, the usual zombie movie cliches. And then there’s Joey Fatone, who plays the hard-gambling, hard-drinking gunslinger Whiskey Joe. He chews up the scenery and the script, giving an over the top performance that is a “drunken” as his character is supposed to be. I’m positive only Fatone knows just how stupid this movie is, and gives a performance that is as gloriously ridiculous as this films premise. He’s certainly having more fun than Carter and his wife, who take things way too seriously for a film such as this!
Ultimately, unlike The Asylum’s regular cheesy Syfy TV movie output, Dead 7 plays things too damn straight. The only humour – and this is despite some badly-written, oddly-paced comedic scenes – is completely unintentional. On top of that, for a movie filled with former (or is it current, given that it seems everyone involved with this film has a music “project” of some kind on the way?) boyband members, boybands known for high-energy performances may I add, Dead 7 is slow, uninteresting and, worst still, dull. So much so that I really was hoping everyone would break out into a Bollywood-style dance number make things more fun…
An epic waste of talent and concept, Dead 7 is a movie that wants so badly to be a Sharknado-style cult hit and is instead the complete opposite. Though what it is does rhyme with hit… And this is coming from someone who typically loves The Asylum’s movies.