Blumhouse’s latest straight-to-Netflix film, Chris Eigeman’s Seven In Heaven puts a peculiar twist on the classic party game.
It follows Jude (Travis Tope), a somewhat nerdy and pompous high school student, as he attends a going away party for one of his friends. At the party, two bullies force the group to play a game: whoever gets the two matching redhead cards from their pinup model deck either has to make out for 3 minutes in front of the group or go into the closet together for 7 minutes. Naturally, Jude and one of the bullies, June (Haley Ramm), end up with the matching cards and opt for the closet. While in there, they are somehow transported to an alternate reality. In this new world, they find that the people they know are hyper-violent versions of themselves, and that Jude is wanted for murder. The two team up with their guidance counselor (Gary Cole) to find a way back to the real world before they are caught and killed.
Seven In Heaven plays like an elongated episode of “Goosebumps” for teenagers. It’s far-fetched and nonsensical, but still entertaining. One of the biggest logical leaps to overcome is that Jude’s friend Kent (Dylan Everett) is so quick to believe that the closet has anything to do with his disappearance. In reality, he would most likely draw the conclusion that his friend is playing a trick on him (in fairness, he does wonder this at first but very quickly jumps to inter-dimensionally traveling closet), get bored with the whole game, and go back to partying. However, the entire movie is outlandish enough that dwelling on this detail, or any details at all, seems silly. The film isn’t much interested in being logical, and understanding that fact makes for an easy viewing experience.
There are other, more significant issues, too. The film does a lot of telling but not very much showing. It asks the audience to fill in the blanks without giving them much reason to want to try. Rather than hammer home its ideas, Seven In Heaven assumes you’ll just go with it and ask your questions later. This is a bold move, especially for a film that doesn’t give viewers very much to hang their hats on. The acting is so-so, there really aren’t any effects to speak of, and many of the scenes seem to be the same thing over and over: Jude and June run into a group of angry people, their guidance counselor finds them and tells them to try getting back to the real world through the closet, it doesn’t work. Yet somehow, with the right viewers, connecting the dots won’t be much to ask at all.
With that in mind, it’s clear to see that Seven In Heaven is perfect for the early teenage crowd or for younger kids with an interest in getting into horror. It’s harmless, and has just enough suspense to deem it scary to younger viewers. Adults watching alongside them will likely find plenty to be frustrated about, but going in without expectations might make the experience more enjoyable.
Despite all its issues, Seven In Heaven is a solid film with a beginning, middle and ending – no more, no less. It’s certainly no masterpiece, but it holds the audience’s attention and tells a unique story, light on both horror and sci-fi. Seven In Heaven is fine, and sometimes that’s all a movie needs to be.