Director – Imran Naqvi, Screenplay – John Stanley, Producers – Toby Meredith, Simon Phillips & Patricia Rybarczyk, Photography – David Mackie, Music – Matthew Williams, Special Effects & Makeup Effects Design – Sally Alcott, Production Design – Stuart Kearns. Production Company – Press On Features/Goliath Productions/Vesuvius Film Partners/Fairgreen Entertainment/The Fyzz/Roaring Mouse Productions/Kalimasu Productions.
Simon Phillips (William Blake), Tamer Hassan (Sergeant Jack Mason), Daisy Head (Chloe Chambers), John Mawson (Henry Chambers), Sebastian Street (Captain Robert Kendrick), Ronan Vibert (Isaac Grainger), Rita Ramnani (Isabelle), Danny Dyer (Angel of Death)
A man wakes up to find himself in a deserted London with no memory of who he is. As he walks through the city, he encounters six others. They likewise have no memory of what happened or who they are other than the i.d. in their pockets. They allow the tough military-experienced Jack Mason to lead them. As they travel, each begins to experience flashes of memory of the events leading up their being there. At the same time, something is stalking them.
The Last Seven was a directorial debut for British filmmaker Imran Naqvi who had previously worked as a Steadicam operator. Naqvi has only directed short films since then.
The Last Seven falls into a spate of Last People on Earth dramas. (A full list of these can be found under the theme Last People on Earth Films). This is a genre that goes all the way back to the post-nuclear apocalypse films of the 1950s such as Five (1951), Day the World Ended (1955), The World, The Flesh and the Devil (1958) and Last Woman on Earth (1960). The classic work on the subject was The Quiet Earth (1985) and at the time The Last Seven was made there seemed a cluster of new variants on this theme with films such as The End of the Animal (2010), Vanishing on 7th Street (2010), The Midnight After (2014) and Bokeh (2017) and especially the French Alone (2017), which shares the same twist ending. The images of London deserted also draw association to 28 Days Later (2002).
Imran Naqvi does a passable variant on the Last People on Earth drama with Simon Phillips (also the film’s producer) waking to find a deserted London and wandering the streets before eventually finding other people. The actors and script do an okay job of creating the characters and their conflicts.
Not much is done with the deserted city theme – there are none of the scenes you usually get in these films with people viewing the detritus of civilisation and delighting in doing what they want without social restraint. There is not even much where they try to puzzle out what happened. Various of the group start to disappear but Naqvi never pushes this for any scenes of horror as say the similar Vanishing on 7th Street did.
Of course, you are constantly wanting to know what has happened and the cause of the mystery catastrophe. As is a feature of all of the abovelisted films from The Quiet Earth onwards, the cause is often something left unexplained or only hinted at. The great disappointment is when the film does eventually offer an explanation for what is going on [PLOT SPOILERS], it transpires to be yet another variant on the very tried and true theme of the deathdream where people discover through the course of mysterious happenings that they have been dead all along. This is a twist that played out in the likes of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1961), Carnival of Souls (1962), Haunts of the Very Rich (1972), Seizure/Queen of Evil (1974), The Survivor (1981), Sole Survivor (1983), Siesta (1987), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Final Approach (1991), A Pure Formality (1994), The Others (2001), Soul Survivors (2001), The Brown Bunny (2003), Dead End (2003), I Pass for Human (2004), Hidden (2005), Reeker (2005), Stay (2005), The Escapist (2008), Passengers (2008), The Haunting of Winchester House (2009), Someone’s Knocking at the Door (2009), Wound (2010), A Fish (2012), Leones (2012), 7500 (2014), The Abandoned/The Confines (2015), Shadow People (2016) and, of course, The Sixth Sense (1999) and the finale of tv’s Lost (2004-10).