For our first title of suspense, I thought I'd take a look back to one of my first little toe-dips in the macabre. I rented this one with a friend when I was around the age of 13, once it was released on video. At this point in my life, a lot disturbed me, but for some reason I really wanted to see this movie. I did NOT do horror back then, but for me, this just kinda teetered on what I considered horrific.
'Seven' actually marks a pretty big jump in personal growth for me, as the first film I wanted to see, knowing that I might get freaked out by it. I did watch 'Freddy's Dead' a few years prior, but the choice to watch that was based on peer pressure. This had the premise of using the Seven Deadly Sins in its plot, which morbidly interested me. It made me finally want to take a peek behind the veil of morbid curiosity.
This one features two homicide detectives; Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is on the edge of retirement, and Mills (Brad Pitt) who strangely transfers to the film's setting - a dark, bleak, unnamed city that is a perfect reflection of the dark subject matter of the film. Together, they work on tracking down a serial killer who only goes by John Doe (Kevin Spacey) whose M.O. is to use the Seven Deadly Sins against his victims.
One by one, Doe's victims are tortured and killed in some truly gruesome and memorable ways. The kills are done off-screen, and all we really see is a variety of silhouettes and shadows, pretty much always faceless. Yet the memory of what you don't see, and how horrible it must actually look, really sticks with you. It's something I'd use as a prime example of less being more. The Sloth victim was a touch of nightmare fuel at the time, and we get to see a lot of him... but he's still kinda faceless. Maybe I'm reading too deeply into it, but I find keeping the victims faceless lends itself to allowing the audience to take a look at themselves. Could they have been one of John Doe's victims in this situation?
It's very impressive film making from director David Fincher, who we now probably know best for 'The Social Network' and 'Fight Club'. Fincher excels in the gritty, and this film is absolutely no exception. It's the kind of film I'd say you might feel like you need a shower after watching. In some ways, this is a lot like the 'Saw' movies, but without the torture porn aspect. Instead of seeing the torture, we imagine the torture - again, so much more potent. A lot of themes are similar as well, having to do with self-reflection. If you're watching this, knowing nothing about it, it'll probably make you think. Fair warning though, the ending is not a happy one!