Director: Jake Szymanski

Genre: Mockumentary

Release: 2015

There’s not a lot to say about 7 DAYS IN HELL apart from the fact that HBO has managed to capitalize on what might become one of the most entertaining new television-movie concepts in recent memory: the sport mockumentary.

7 DAYS IN HELL isn’t comedy gold from start to finish, but its 50-minute runtime keeps it short enough to make any complaints about the film’s comedy negligible. Not every joke lands with a brilliant comedic punch, but what has to be appreciated is how 7 DAYS IN HELL never stops trying, throwing joke after joke at its viewers, well aware that even if half of them don’t land, it’s probably thrown more comedy at you than your average bloated Apatow film.

7 days in hell this is 40

You rang?

Borrowing heavily from the likes of Tim & Eric, 7 DAYS IN HELL lets its stars Andy Samberg and Kit Harington shine through self-aware, low-brow humor. However, the film is actually at its strongest when it plays its jokes visually, without any comedy provided directly from its leads. The finest comedic moments occur on the court, because unlike its fake interview segments, the film is bringing something completely new to the comedy landscape.

7 days in hell

As viewers, we are well accustomed to the expectations of watching televised sports. Consequently, breaking these expectations can lead to comedy gold. This idea of going against the grain is old-hat, but its clever to think of it from the perspective of a sports match, because it’s something that’s so universally understood.

Watching something as innocuous as tennis is hilarious in 7 DAYS IN HELL because the viewer has no choice but to follow the ball. The viewer’s eyeline is only interested in what’s actually moving on screen, and consequently, when the ball ends up in ridiculous places, it comes across as a brilliant example of reinventing visual comedy.

While 7 DAYS IN HELL might not be a comedic masterpiece of any sort, it represents a step in the right direction for comedic filmmaking. If HBO continues with this trend, they might eventually hit the jackpot, especially if they tackle a sport like soccer or golf.

You’ll need HBOGo to gainfully watch 7 DAYS IN HELL, but check out the trailer below:


This review originally appeared here.

Verdict: Do Not Recommend

"When I make love, I realize eating steak was the preferable alternative." Sergio is the Crossfader Film Editor and a film connoisseur from Romania. He pretends to understand culinary culture enough to call himself an LA foodie, but he just can't manage to like scallops.

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