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Dead Tone (2007)

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Overall Rating 45%
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Ranked #5,212
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As another semester draws to a close at the University of Dreyskill, a simple game dreamt to help students avoid studying becomes a bloody battle for survival in this stalk-and-slash frightener from filmmaking duo Brian Hooks and Deon Taylor. --TMDb
Rutger Hauer
Rutger Hauer
Gwendoline Yeo
Gwendoline Yeo
Antwon Tanner
Antwon Tanner
Brian Hooks
Brian Hooks
Wil Horneff
Wil Horneff
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Review by Chad
Added: May 01, 2009
I truly wanted to love 7eventy 5ive before I even popped the disc into my player based on two things. One of those things was Rutger Hauer, a man who never fails to disappoint even when appearing in movies that otherwise aren't worth the plastic that houses them. The other thing that really caught my attention was the storyline, or to be more specific, the main plot device that was fairly original and offered plenty of room for shocking twists and turns. Granted, the overall storyline did borrow bits and pieces from other films that have been released over the years, but that plot device was fresh enough for me to overlook that. Even though the film wasn't downright horrible, it saddened me to see that it failed to deliver anything more than yet another disposable, by-the-books teen slasher.

Perhaps I should start with an explanation of what the title means. You see, there's this game that kids play, a game that is called - wait for it - "7eventy 5ive." This game requires that the kid prank call someone at random, and the goal is to tell a story that will keep them on the line for seventy-five seconds. Perhaps you pull something out of Scream and pretend that you're inside their house watching them, waiting for your chance to savagely murder them, or if you're a bit older and lacking a penis, maybe you'll pretend that you've redialed the wrong number after accidentally hanging up the phone while having phone sex with your boyfriend. The story is up to the dialer, but the object is always the same: keep the prankee on the phone for seventy-five seconds and convince them that your story is legit.

This is the game that a group of children decide to play one night while having a slumber party, and unfortunately for them, they end up calling the wrong man. This particular fellow is a serial killer who, with the help of *67, is able to track down the address of those who pranked him. To get his revenge on those snotty-nosed little brats, he shows up at their house with an axe and proceeds to murder their parents in front of them, but before he can get started on the kids, the police show up and run him off. He's never caught, and that brings us to the present day (ten years later).

We discover that local rich kid Brandon O'Connell (Jonathan Chase) is throwing an uber-exclusive party at his dad's mansion, a mansion that just so happens to be situated in the middle of nowhere. He invites his ex-girlfriend Karina (Jud Tylor) to said party with the hope of reconciling their differences, and she agrees... on the condition that her "crew" is allowed to come with her. It's a date, and before you know it, she and her crew - 7eventy 5ive creator Marcus (Brian Hooks), the racially-challenged white boy Scott (Wil Horneff), Roxy (Cherie Johnson), Jody (Aimee Garcia), Kareem (Antwon Tanner), and the walking, talking, homosexual stereotype Shawn (Germán Legarreta) - are partying like it's 1999 in this mansion.

Of course, we wouldn't have a party proper without party games, right? Our genius of a leading man proposes that they break out the phone and do a little 7eventy 5ive, because, you know, seeing his parents murdered as a direct result of this game doesn't mean that he has to actually stop playing it. It's all fun and games until they call the wrong man and interrupt him while he's murdering someone, and if you think that that's the end of it, you haven't seen many horror movies. This serial killer soon shows up to wreak havoc, and even though Detective John Criton (Rutger Hauer) is quickly getting to the bottom of the string of murders in the neighborhood, will he find out what's going on in time to save at least some of these fresh-faced teens?

I mentioned above that the main plot device was fairly original, and I'm going to stand by that statement. It's certainly true that a lot of other things in the film were borrowed from other releases (the killer found here is a carbon copy of the killer from I Know What You Did Last Summer as but one example), and yes, I'll concede that the feel of the film is highly reminiscent of the slasher genre circa 1985, but the game that sets everything into motion was interesting. The problem enters when you realize that this was the only original thing to be found in the film.

Let's start with the characters, shall we? Each and every character found here comes straight out of "Horror Stereotypes 101" - there's the wisecracking black guy, the thuggish black guy, the rich guy who just so happens to be an asshole, the overweight nerd, the slut(s), the sassy black girl, and yes, the white guy who thinks that he's black. Let us not forget the gay guy, who... well, let's just put it like this: there's gay, there's openly gay, there's flaming gay, and then there's this character. I won't say where the killer fits into this, but yes, he's yet another movie stereotype that has been done to death.

Speaking of the killer, how about we take a look at the ending? Now, I try to avoid spoiling movies on here and I won't break that trend now, but the twist ending found here would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic. You probably won't see it coming, but there's a good reason for that: it's so unlikely and only makes sense in the world of bad b-movies, and it's a stretch even in that universe. When you have to show numerous flashbacks and have a character all but spell it out to the audience to support the twist, you know that a few edits are in order. Sadly, those edits never happened.

Now, I did say in the opening paragraph that the film wasn't downright horrible, and that is true. The film definitely has an eighties slasher meets nineties teen horror vibe going on, so if you're a fan of either of those subgenres, you'll likely get some degree of enjoyment out of this affair. There are a couple of great kills on display here, there are a handful of one-liners that made me laugh out loud, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that any of the cast was great, I also couldn't complain about any of them given the low standards I have in regards to acting in the horror genre.

Overall, I think that it's an average movie. It's not great and it's not wretched, but it's just sort of there. It's amusing at times and your ears may perk up during a scene or two if you consider yourself a gorehound, but this is not a movie that you're going to want to rush out and purchase either. It's a good rental for fans of slashers if you don't get your hopes up too high, but by the same token, it's easily forgettable. 5/10.
BronzeRuby #1: BronzeRuby - added 07/16/2009, 04:57 PM
This movie is soo good.. and they are making a re-cut called Dead Tone and it comes out September 8th! I loved all the actors especially Brian Hooks and Antwon Tanner.. mmmhhmm... Definitely cant wait for this movie to come out
iamcandi #2: iamcandi - added 09/11/2009, 06:25 PM
i finally got the chance to watch dead tone. i never know what to expect from independent films. this one was actually pretty good. i suggest it to anyone whos into good old horror flicks. theres a twist at the end that makes the movie way better. i especially enjoyed antwon tanner on the big screen!
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