THE 7 (2006)
aka Oakley Seven
Directed by Adam Schlachter
Available on Amazon Prime Instant Video
Seven students from Oakley High embark upon a science field trip with their teacher Mr Whitney to collect samples from a cave in the desert. When student Anthony Lopez goes missing whilst navigating the cave’s many tunnels, Mr Whitney sets off to find him, telling the other students to stay put. After two long hours and no sign of their teacher, the group decide to look for him and Lopez but end up discovering that they’re not the only ones inside the cave and that something bloodthirsty is hunting them down, one by one.
Low budget horror The 7 (aka Oakley Seven) plays on your stereotypical teen horror movie tropes to provide an entertaining, if a little cheesy, indie horror focusing on the legendary creature, El Chupacabra.
Opening with a scene of little Mexican girl awaking during the night to her pet goat Conchita being slaughtered alive by a ravenous creature, we fast forward to present day when the young girl, Ana Maria, is all grown up and attending high school in America. Waiting on the schoolbus to depart on their field trip, she’s joined by the usual suspects you’d expect to see in a teen horror movie: he confident but well meaning lad Zeke, horny couple Jock and Cosmo, blonde bimbo Jessica, moody loner Anthony and teacher’s pet Janice. Together they head to the desert in a bid to secure a pass in science with the help of their teacher Mr Whitney who seems excited at the idea of the project. When Whitney goes missing and they realise that they’re not alone in the cave, the teens discover that Mr Whitney had more reasons to visit the cave than helping them achieve their grades.
The 7 is a very run-of-the-mill survival film with a weak script and shallow character development but where it performs strongly is showing that you don’t need mega bucks to make these dime-a-dozen horrors. Though intended to be a straight horror with plenty of comedy elements added, the film also acts as a spoof of the genre, sending up the types of characters that always seem to be involved as well as the ridiculousness of the deaths which inevitably occur. In these movies, The 7 included, it’s very hard to care for the characters and their deaths end up as meaningless as the relationship between the character and the viewer.
Instead of an unnamed beastie terrorising the school kids, it’s great to see that the lesser-used Chupacabra feature as the villain of the piece. We rarely get a look at the creature but we certainly hear it as it screeches throughout the caves before attacking our hapless students, gleefully tearing at their throats before clearing out their inner organs. Most of the gore featured in the movie is in the form of carcasses but there’s a few scenes where the red stuff is squirted over our remaining survivors, much to the joy of horror nuts. Not all the deaths are chupacabra related either with some very sudden but inventive executions served up for good measure.
Whilst this movie was never going to be groundbreaking, it does have it’s amateurish, hammy charm that some indie horror fans may warm too, despite the lack of an original or in depth plot. Though you might have seen it all before, ten times over, The 7 doesn’t mind giving you another dose, one you can at least join in with and poke fun at.