Your weekly streaming pick has arrived. I was scouring the new releases on Netflix when I came across Seven in Heaven. The Blumhouse production dropped without fanfare. While it’s not perfect, it has a lot to offer.
During a high school party Jude (Travis Tope) and June (Haley Ramm) get paired off for seven minutes in heaven. If you’ve never seen a teen movie that means seven minutes in a closet to do… whatever. The two don’t get along because of the prodding of the high school bully, Derek (Jake Manley). When their time is up they exit the closet. Instead of returning to their own party they find themselves in an alternate reality. This reality is close to their own but everything is a whole lot darker.
Jude and June must figure out how to get back to their world as things escalate. The only ally they have is their Guidance Counselor, Wallace (the always amazing Gary Cole).
Being October, seeking out new and classic horror movies is almost a rule. Being a Blumhouse production means relatively safe thrills that stretch a budget. Seven in Heaven has a lot of intrigue and keeps you watching even if not every thread leads somewhere.
The concept is intriguing. Parallel worlds and similar sci-fi tropes make for interesting stories. Writers and directors use these devices a lot but there is always a way to put their own spin on it. In the case of Seven in Heaven the alternate dimension is to bring out the worst in people. It provides a twisted test of ones character.
Seven in Heaven is currently streaming on Netflix
Trying to stay one step ahead of a town that’s looking for him Jude needs to get back to his own reality before it’s too late. He runs into a bad-ass version of Wallace who seems to know that this Jude isn’t the Jude of this world but it’s unclear why. Wallace also doesn’t know how Jude and June can get home, but know their window of opportunity is closing.
The race against time teamed with the fish out of water elements of the movie work great together. Jude doesn’t have a minute to catch his breath and learn what’s going on. This means the audience doesn’t have a chance to get bored. Even if a choice seems out of place or some of the story doesn’t quite gel; it’s never such a blight that it ruins the enjoyment of the movie in the moment.
The leads go through arcs but where did the arcs come from? Jude and June have no chemistry before ending up on this adventure. They get over their differences immediately and form a bond beyond that of the situation. There is no sign of why this was necessary. Not only does it not add to the plot, it sullies the characters. You’re left feeling sorry for the innocents who get spurned. Not only does this make the two lead characters less relatable, it puts a sour note on the whole ending. It also pushes the movie to a level of teen predictability. That part makes sense when you think about the age of the target audience.
Despite a few bumps along the way the young leads do a good job selling the story. Gary Cole’s strong presence grounds the story into movie believability. Writer/Director Chris Eigeman is better known as an actor, but shows some skill in storytelling.