Seven came out in 1995 and was directed by David Fincher. Fincher had a great cast for this film as it stared Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and R. Lee Ermey. The film is often seen as a crime drama, but I believe it can fit into the Horror realm due to certain aspects of this film.
Seven deals with two detectives trying to unravel who is behind a gruesome set of murders. The killer has found his inspiration in the Seven Deadly Sins that have been written about throughout history. The killer shows extreme patience in how he goes about his murders. The individual who finds himself to be Sloth was left for over a year in an apartment strapped to a bed. Clues are left at each crime scene and it’s the detective’s jobs to find them and see where they may lead.
Detective Somerset (Freeman) is an old school type of man who is not afraid to spend hours within the library to research the crimes. He is at first truly against getting involved in the case but is pulled in. Detective Mills (Pitt) on the other hand is the type who will make a quip at a crime scene and will dive to the cliff notes to work on this case. The two men are pitted up against a suspect that makes them question not only who is committing the crimes but why.
As the film progresses viewers will may begin to see why I believe Seven belongs in the Horror Genre. The film has a dark setting that makes the unknown city appear to be forever shrouded in cloud cover and rain. The first crime scene experience is that of Gluttony and within this scene you get a shock of the gruesome way in which the killer works. The dark setting of the apartment and the obvious pain inflected on the victim in self is horrific. The remaining sins get an equal treatment and the devices used to cause the deaths are equally disturbing. The viewer may not ever get to see the actual act, but like many horror films leaves it to the mind of the viewer.
Another key aspect of the film that I find makes it fit in the Horror Genre is just the flow of the film. In most horror films we have a sinister killer who preys on his victims. They have the ability to either try and run from what is happening or take it head on. In this case we have the two detectives who are not going to run from the situation. They search out and try and stop the further acts of violence and death. The big difference is that in this film it’s not a disfigured man, a beast, a mythical creature but a simple man.
As Seven moves on we are introduced to Detective Mills wife who is played by Paltrow. She helps to allude to the darkness of the city by describing how the school system is so poor and that being a teacher she could not stand working there. She tries to find hope in their new home, and even takes a moment to laugh at her plight.
The one thing Seven does really well is keep the identity of the killer hidden to close to the end of the film. You have to follow along and watch and see if Mills and Somerset will find out who he is. As they unravel the mystery you are able to get into the mind of killer a bit. When the man is finally revealed as he closes in on finishing the seven sins you are a bit shocked. The actor who portrays this character does an amazing job and you are able to believe that this man is capable of everything he has done.
The one thing you have to wait to the very end of the film is to find out if the killer is able to finish his master plan. Will he be able to create a seventh murder to finish out the deadly sins? With him now seemingly unable to commit the crime himself who will do it? These are answers that we are left to wonder right up to the end of the film. It’s also what makes this film so enjoyable to watch and so eerie. There is a reason I have not named who played the killer. You will never see his name in the opening credits, but must wait till you see him in the film. So, if you wish to know yourself, I suggest watching the movie over finding it on the internet.