To our international readers: Danny Dyer is a foul-mouthed British treasure. He’s been in three stone-cold classics (“Human Traffic”, “Mean Machine” and “Severance”) as well as, judging by his IMDB page, every independent British-made film of the last 15 years. His quality control is not, it must be said, particularly strong – but in recent years he’s become weirdly beloved, with hilarious appearances on TV panel shows, a great Twitter presence and the role that’s finally turned him into a household name, a series regular on soap “Eastenders”.
Having seen a lifetime’s worth of low-budget gangster films already, I tend to avoid most of his work, but this intrigued me enough to go into it without knowing anything other than the DVD cover. The first problem was right there, though, and I should have been more careful. He’s third billed, but the cover gives us Simon Philips, Tamer Hassan, “…with Danny Dyer”. “Oh dear,” I realised as the film was 20 minutes in. “He’s only going to show up for 2 minutes at the end, isn’t he?” Amazingly, I actually exaggerated – we see Dyer’s face for maybe 20 seconds, plus another 30 seconds or so of him wearing a black cloth over his eyes, covered in blood. That’s cold, filmmakers!
It’s billed as something post-apocalyptic, but the best description is a weak episode of “Tales Of The Unexpected”, stretched to feature length. Seven people find themselves in a completely empty London, and wander about a bit until they start getting picked off by a mysterious figure wearing a black hoodie and black cloth over his eyes. There are occasionally interesting touches, such as them all struggling to remember their own and each others’ names, but none of them are developed, just thrown out there into the ether.
There’s a pretty impressive opening sequence as Philips strolls round the streets of a deserted London – I do love stuff like that, even if it’s probably just a matter of going to a business area at 4:30am on a Sunday and not recording live sound (as London is never quiet, even if you can find a few empty streets). Sadly, it’s the only impressive thing. I’m not familiar with any of the cast, but they all seem to be regularly in work – judging by “The Last Seven”, I have no idea why. With the slight exception of Daisy Head, playing moody teenager Chloe, everyone is absolutely terrible, doing a decent impression of a group of people who’ve never acted before. Special dishonour to John Mawson, as the oldest of the group, who’d be laughed out of the crappiest amateur dramatics group in the land.
WHY AM I STILL TRYING TO SERIOUSLY ANALYSE THIS Sorry all. The film’s a lie, from top to bottom. They’re not the last seven people alive, it’s not remotely post-apocalyptic, and the guy on the front of the DVD case is not only barely in it, he doesn’t deliver any actual dialogue! (Except in a crappy, bored-sounding voiceover). One of the characters correctly guesses their predicament early on, but the film clearly wants you to think “there’s no way we’d do anything that cheesy and stupid, don’t worry” until, yes, it does something that cheesy and stupid. There’s an annoying series of flash-back/forwards just in case you gave a damn about why they’re all where they are, or had suffered a severe head injury recently and couldn’t guess the ludicrously obvious twist.
Given the incredible acting and filmmaking talent we have in this country, there’s no excuse for garbage like this. Avoid at all costs.
Rating: thumbs down