25th Jun2020

‘7 Deadly Sins’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tori Vild, Tom Sizemore, Eric Roberts, Ana Walczak, Gladys Bautista, Noel Gugliemi, Glenn Plummer, Samson Crouppen, Bart Voitila, Steph Santana, Anthony Del Negro, Orit Morami, Shanna Forrestall, Jaslyn Ome | Written by Tony Mercedes | Directed by Glenn Plummer

Directed by actor/director Glenn Plummer, whose work includes roles on the likes of ER, Sons of Anarchy and Suits, 7 Deadly Sins (formerly known as Charlie, Charlie) tells the story of a group of seven teenagers who play the spirit contact game “Charlie, Charlie” and without knowing it, they end up releasing Charlie’s evil spirit, who likes to indulge in the seven deadly sins… in deadly ways!

7 Deadly Sins opens in a rather convoluted way, with a number of unconnected scenes – the first in a Mexican family as a girls uncle Juan attacks her, trying to strangle her to death, before being shot and killed by the police.

Then, interestingly prescient given the current Black Lives Matter movement, 7 Deadly Sins then sees two characters getting caught with a ton of marijuana in their trunk on their way to Cabo for spring break. One character is a blonde haired white girl, who gets 3 months house arrest for “not knowing” the drugs were in the trunk; the other is a young black man who too did not know about the drugs… Only he gets five years in jail! It’s clear director Glenn Plummer and writer Tony Mercedes, both black men, are using the film to highlight the injustices they know are present in society within the confines of their terror tale.

We then flashback to 5 years previously as Tom Sizemore has a mental breakdown at home, seeing visions and hearing voices, and being locked up in a mental facility… All thanks to someone named “Charlie”, who he insists on warning his daughter about.

Once those scene setting segments are out of the way, we get to the film proper. As the friends of the house-arrested Kim (Tori Vild) decide to throw their spring break party at Kim’s house – inviting Jamal, 72 hours away from a 5-year jail stint, to the party too… Things can only go horribly wrong right? Well yes, especially when Kim’s stepfather hires a live-in “nanny” for Kim. Who – it turns out – is the girl from the opener who was nearly killed by her uncle!

So what are a bunch of vapid, totally unlikeable, racist, bigoted, teenagers to do at a house party once it’s been shut down by the cops? Well they decide to play the ouija board-like game Charlie, Charlie…. Unleashing the aforementioned spirit who possesses each of the seven high schoolers with one of the seven deadly sins – Wrath, Greed, Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Sloth and Pride. Pushing each high schooler to the brink of their sanity in hopes to completely own their souls.

Right there is 7 Deadly Sins‘ main problem. Writer Tony Mercedes has given us a group of the most unlikeable teens in a horror movie I seen in quite some time. So much so that you don’t care what happens to them in the slightest. Though as the film progressed I did wonder if Mercedes actually wrote 7 Deadly Sins as something of a parody of the genre – its packed with cliches and stereotypes and every trope of low-budget horror filmmaking you can think of. So much so that this HAS to be intentional – especially considering how exaggerated the actions of the characters are.

Speaking of characters, 7 Deadly Sins has both Tom Sizemore and Eric Roberts listed in the credits and we all know what both of those actors are known for these days don’t we? Cameoing in films so that filmmakers can use their names to sell a movie when it is in fact filled a with no-name, no-previous credits, cast. And that’s definitely the case here. Roberts cameos as the judge in the courtroom scene, sentencing Kim and Jamal; whilst Tom Sizemore, in another cameo, is the dad locked up in a mental facility. Oh, and Noel Gugliemi, aka Noel G., also appears in the opening scene as Juan the crazed uncle; whose performance is better than ANY of the the others in this movie… and he’s only on screen for less than five minutes!

It takes over half the film to actually get to the point the terrible teens play the game and slightly longer until Charlie makes his presence felt. Which means we’re stuck watching these unlikeable, vapid teens for far too long before they start getting killed off! But oh the joy when the do start dying. Karma is certainly a b*tch for these loathsome louts. But then, like I said in previously, this HAS to be the plan all along for 7 Deadly Sins. There’s no way you have these characters, in this situation, with all these cliches and stereotypes, WITHOUT this being a parody of the genre and without wanting the audience to cheer on Charlie rather than the despicable d*ckheads whose behaviour is, frankly, deplorable. If we’re supposed to root for these kids once Charlie makes its presence felt (and there are hints at that) then we have a real problem!

Beyond all that, the fact that I actually have to question whether 7 Deadly Sins is a parody or not is probably the films biggest problem…

7 Deadly Sins is out now on digital in the UK from The Movie Partnership.


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