×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Dead 7’

With:
Nick Carter, Lauren Kitt-Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, Jeff Timmons, Erik-Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood, Trevor Penick, Dan Miller; Carrie Keagan, Debra Wilson, Frenchie Davis, Gerardo Mejía, Art Alexakis, Jon Secada

Trying to be bad is harder than it looks. After stumbling into a hit with the social-media-driven “Sharknado,” Syfy and the Asylum have sought to conjure another dreadful mash-up with “Dead 7,” featuring Nick Carter and fellow boy-band alumni in a post-apocalyptic tale of gunslingers against zombies. While the whole disheveled exercise should benefit from the oddness of its log line, it’s better (which may be worse) on paper than it is in the actual viewing.

In addition to starring as one of the taciturn heroes, Carter receives producer and story credit on the movie, which was written by Sawyer Perry and directed (well, kind of) by Danny Roew. Said story actually amounts to an amalgamation of familiar tropes, as if someone chewed up synopses to “The Magnificent Seven” and “Beowulf” and then belched them out.

The basic conceit – other than the mere act of uniting members of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, 98 Degrees and O-Town – is that after a virus decimated humanity, the survivors have settled on a simpler, Western-ish lifestyle. But those little hamlets are terrorized by Apocalypta (“Mad TV’s” Debra Wilson), who controls a zombie army known as Copperheads. (With her shaved head, tattooed face and voodoo-tinged speech pattern, Apocalypta bears an odd resemblance to Geoffrey Holder in “Live and Let Die.”)

Somebody has the bright idea to gather a team to take on Apocalypta, and the group is haphazardly assembled, while being introduced with stylized bits of animation and music seemingly intended to look like outtakes from “Sin City.” The gang includes Carter as Jack, Jeff Timmons as his brother, Carrie Keagan as the woman who has dallied with them both, Joey Fatone as the boozing Whiskey Joe (best line: “They’re everywhere! And I’m running out of whiskey!”) and Erik-Michael Estrada as a sword-wielding samurai type. Carter’s wife, Lauren Kitt-Carter, also gets in on the mayhem as a mysterious warrior.

Being cheap, of course, is ostensibly part of the kick, but even by those standards “Dead 7” sounds like a description of how much was spent on production, with a climactic battle in a “town” that amounts to a couple of shacks. Most of the budget seemingly went into the endless gunning down of Apocalypta’s minions, and honestly, once you’ve seen a few dozen zombie heads blown up at close range, you’ve seen ‘em all.

The same goes for the comedic flourishes, like a bit with a zombie that just won’t die. That’s not to say “Dead 7” is without laughs, but thanks to the performances, they’re mostly of the unintentional variety. As an aside, that extends to the background actors, who somehow manage to make those intrepid souls playing zombies on “The Walking Dead” look like Meryl Streep.

Syfy doesn’t take these exploitation movies too seriously – they’re essentially pit stops en route to other release platforms – and neither should anyone else, including critics. Unlike “Sharknado,” though (at least, for about the first 10 minutes of that movie and its spinoffs), “Dead 7” is a little too earnest, and simply numbing, to be much fun.

Ultimately, the whole thing feels like little more than an excuse to queue up the song, “In the End,” which Carter and company croon over the closing credits. Frankly, it’s a payoff that can’t come soon enough.

Popular on Variety

TV Review: 'Dead 7'

(Movie; Syfy, Fri. April 1, 8 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Montana by the Asylum.

Crew: Executive producers, David L. Garber, Nick Carter, Paul Bales; producers, David Rimawi, David Michael Latt; director, Danny Roew; writer, Sawyer Perry; story by Carter; camera, E. Gustavo Peterson; production designer, Caitlin Laingen; editors, Jeremy M. Inman, Jose Montesinos; music, Bryan Shackle, Drew Lerdal; visual effects supervisor, Joseph J. Lawson. 120 MIN.

Cast: Nick Carter, Lauren Kitt-Carter, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, Jeff Timmons, Erik-Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood, Trevor Penick, Dan Miller; Carrie Keagan, Debra Wilson, Frenchie Davis, Gerardo Mejía, Art Alexakis, Jon Secada

More TV

  • Lower lakes with small waterfalls, Plitvice

    Beta Film Boards Refugee and Drug Trafficking Thriller Series 'Amnesia'

    Beta Film, whose Mipcom lineup includes “Agent Hamilton,” “Babylon Berlin” and “Medici: The Magnificent,” has partnered with Croatian production company Drugi Plan on “Amnesia,” a six-hour thriller series about refugee and drug trafficking in the Southeast of Europe. The move adds to Munich, Germany-based Beta Film’s portfolio of Central and East European series, a growing [...]

  • Reed Hastings seen on day one

    Reed Hastings on the Streamer Wars: 'It's a Whole New World Starting in November'

    After dominating the subscription streaming scene for so long, Netflix is girding for a new phase in the SVOD wars with the entry of more deep-pocketed players like Disney and Apple, CEO Reed Hastings said Friday. “While we’ve been competing with many people in the last decade, it’s a whole new world starting in November…between [...]

  • BBC ITV BritBox Streaming

    Viacom's Channel 5 and Comedy Central Join BritBox Ahead of Its U.K. Launch

    Viacom-owned Channel 5 and Comedy Central have joined BritBox, the “best-of-British” subscription streaming service created by the BBC and ITV. The platform, already available in North America, is due to launch on home turf in Britain by year’s end. Under the deal with Viacom, shows from the U.K.’s Channel 5 can appear on BritBox following [...]

  • The-Head

    Behind the Scenes With Mediapro’s Antarctic Thriller Series 'The Head'

    On Sept. 13, the cast and crew of Mediapro’s upcoming dramatic thriller “The Head” gathered at a swanky Santa Cruz de Tenerife hotel to kick off promotional duties for this English-language series, which will wrap shooting later this month. It was day 50 of production, and the cast had been working late, rushing to get [...]

  • The Plague Season 2 Spanish TV

    Telefonica, Atresmedia to Create Content Factory Behemoth

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — In a game-changing move for Spanish-language production Telefonica, Europe’s third biggest telco, and Atresmedia, the original co-creators of “La Casa de Papel,” are uniting to create a new joint contents production giant. Aimed at gaining more scale and uniting talent relations – writers, directors and producers – the 50/50 joint venture will [...]

  • KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has

    KKR-Backed German Media Conglomerate Finally Has a Name: Leonine

    The KKR-backed German media company formed through the merger of Tele München Group, Universum Film, i&u TV, and Wiedemann & Berg Film finally has a name: Leonine. The company revealed its moniker Friday, saying that “Leonine” met its criteria of being associated with its home region of Bavaria and Munich, in southern Germany, and of [...]

  • PERFECT LIFE

    San Sebastian: Leticia Dolera on Canneseries Winner ‘Perfect Life’

    SAN SEBASTIAN —  “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”) may be the most seen of Spanish series this year. Leticia Dolera’s still-to-bow “Perfect Life,” however, is the most laureled, sweeping at April’s 2nd Canneseries TV festival both best series and best special performance for its female leads, Dolera herself, Celia Freijeiro and Aixa Villagrán, from [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content