The ’90s are often abused by horror fans. After many successful films about editing and the creative effects of the 80’s, the 90’s offered a variety of opportunities for horror travel. Although there have been many successes, hidden gems and little-known classics, the 1990s have generally been less marked by the love of horror than other decades. It’s time to change that.
Se7en is a kind of magical cartoon. At first you think you know what’s in the store, but eventually you shut up.
The story of two cops chasing a big criminal is more than worn out. It is a setting that seduces you with a sense of familiarity as it sows the seeds of something much more amazing and twisted. Inspectors Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt) are on the trail of a sophisticated serial killer, but their investigation ends with challenging the notions of morality and justice. It is this descent that makes Se7en an extremely complex and shocking horror movie.
And yes, Se7en is a horror movie. It’s one of those films that will be like a thriller, but only in an attempt to move away from an idea that is considered less important. In addition to the obvious violence and the desire to intimidate the public, Se7en is building a very special world of terror. The nameless city in which the film takes place seems like a kind of comic strip; a rotting and sparkling hellish landscape, a moral atrophy, which the film explores. It could easily be a story as dark and horrible as this, set in a terrible version of Gotham City.
It seems that director David Fincher is no stranger to this horror. On the contrary, he is a director who sticks his neck out at Alien³ and explores the horrors of real monsters in projects like Zodiac and Mindhunter. His approach to the film is sufficiently lyrical and reflects the thematic inspiration behind the complicated murder of the murderer. Se7en is a film imbued with a certain vision, and this vision has been masterfully produced by filmmaker Darius Honji.
Of course, the prestige of the actors in the film industry often leads to a film being described as a horror film, because horror, in turn, is often perceived as less. It’s a pity, because Se7en’s entire cast does a first-rate job and the characters she plays have to join the pantheon of their favorite horror icons. Somerset himself is a fascinating character, and Freeman imbues him with wisdom, tenacity, intelligence and the ongoing internal war between cynicism and hope. No wonder a detective like Somerset connects the mind to a sadistic master like Saw.
Now, we really should call the elephant in the room: The villain in the movie John Doe is played by Kevin Spacey. I know people who hesitate or cannot return to the Se7en because of the accusations and recriminations surrounding it. It’s a perfectly understandable reaction, and I’m not here to dismiss other people’s feelings about Spacey’s alleged behavior. And especially at Se7en, I sincerely sympathise with all those who are struggling with the story in which Spacey plays a monstrous man.
And when Spacey is involved in the unbearable behavior of which he is accused – I mean it – it adds a new level of anger and horror to the character of the unknown John. He’s a killer who’s a judge of humanity, and it’s clear that Andrew Kevin Walker’s scenario wants us to agree to some extent with some of John Doe’s comments. Like all great villains, it must make sense at some point to investigate the darkest elements within ourselves. Spacey’s performance takes a cold and logical distance from her atrocities and is doubly frightening when one thinks of her true transgression.
To be honest, I’m the one who can separate some real information from my brain by watching a movie, so I can still see the efficiency in the image of the unknown John Spacey. However, if someone is looking at the unknown or any other role of Kevin Spacey and can not get past the person himself, then that is the correct answer, which I do not want to devalue.
What I want to emphasize is how Se7en managed to turn something as mundane as a police process into an existential meditation on the nature of evil and justice. By turning the entire novel into a showcase of a gruesome murder, the film became a real horror zone. The picturesque image of the victims seems to come from Clive Barker’s imagination. It is a cavalcade of ghosts that is always a milestone in the history of horror.
I’m also thinking of the Se7en as a whole: That’s a high water level for that sort of thing. It’s an unbelievable pity that one of the actors ruined such a masterful film. This is as important to the genre and the decade as the silence of the lambs, and in some ways the highly stylized treatment of the material makes it even more exciting and captivating. Maybe some people can’t look today, but if you can, it’s still as powerful and morally complicated as it was twenty-five years ago.
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