2012 – Not Rated – Dire Wit Films
I will always believe that the most frightening films are the ones that could actually happen. Movies that know how to prey on you when you are most vulnerable. Films like The Strangers,Rear Window or anything with Taylor Lautner (or just the mere fact that he is getting work is truly terrifying). Among these things, real monsters, are serial killers. They are very real and they could be anywhere. It’s a dark, horrific truth we have to live with daily, but we brush it aside, like most FOX sitcoms and ignore it. But every now and then a film that depicts these real life monsters comes along and reminds us that we are not always safe when we think we are. Such a film is 7th Day, as it takes us into a week, day by day, of the life of a sociopathic killer.
And right away the film gets its hands dirty. A young woman oddly dressed like Mork from Ork gets stabbed in the neck by a bearded man in a baseball cap, without even so much as a final “Nanoo Nanoo.” This is when our humble serial killer, Allen, introduces himself and narrates who he is, what he does and why he does it throughout the film. Sure Allen is just a regular guy, with a regular job. He believes like everyone else that he is well liked and unappreciated… but he has a very strange hobby, to say the least. This narration is a clever little insight as to what goes through Allen’s mind (and possibly other serial killers), but we’ll get into that a little later on in the review.
The life of a serial killer sure can be lonely, as Allen describes, but the solitude is necessary. It all ties in with his theories about survival of the fittest, as you now see he has been describing all his thoughts and processes to a tall man, who looks like melted wax, dressed in a suit and long coat with a microphone fused into his hand with wires jutting out, reminding me of Max Renn’s gunhand from Videodrome. Most of the time when we see Allen narrating to this man (or creature), his mouth isn’t moving and it’s not some sort of dubbing flaw. It’s obvious and intentional. Perhaps a look into his broken psyche?
Speaking of a broken psyche, Allen truly believes that a waitress where he works, Denise, understands him and thinks just like him. He’ll go into detail about how he wish he could have a normal life with her, but it just isn’t what he was meant for. When Allen isn’t at work arguing with his co-worker Dave and being smitten over Denise, he spends his free time stalking his prey, or hunting as he calls it. On occasion, even loneliness gets to Allen, as he demonstrates by having sex with a recently murdered victim, although it doesn’t romanticize the idea of necrophilia. He’ll remind you that it’s not something he typically does (so you know, don’t worry about it) and if it were an issue, he’d get a girlfriend. Simple as that.
And this is where we see Allen going against his own words, but not in a hypocritical sense. It’s as if Allen views himself differently and he’s outside looking in. While stalking some more prey in the park, a pretty lady jogger stops to talk to Allen and it seems like maybe she is hitting on him. Hey, Allen is a single guy and he has something to offer. You kind of want him to win this and go on a date with the girl, but he’s too damn awkward and reacts the way most shy males do… he pees in his pants like a five year old. And do you think this attractive young lady is understanding about this? No. She flat out makes fun of him and ridicules him like a jock in high school. Just because a dude wets the bed in his 30’s or 40’s doesn’t mean that he’s a loser! It’s a medical condition! Oh, excuse me… a little bit of nerd rage was released.
All of the things Allen claims not to take part in or need in his life are the very things you see him falling victim to constantly throughout the film, like drug use and having sex with corpses. As Allen explains it, you do believe him, but ultimately it’s Allen trying to convince himself and not us. But why do we believe him? Why do we watch this monster act out these atrocities? Because Alan is a believable person just as much as he is a believable monster. He’s not some unstoppable killing machine like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers or some sophisticated homicidal maniac like Patrick Bateman. Allen is that unassuming guy that would sit at the bar with his head down, hat covering his eyes that you pay no attention to. He blends in to the point where he is practically invisible and that’s what makes him more dangerous.
As the days go on, Allen narrates more to this creature, detailing his childhood and how his brother would have sexual relations with his mother, dress Allen up like a woman and beat him… and then have sex with him. If you’re anything like me, you had simultaneous feelings of disgust and sympathy. That’s a good thing. That means you’re still human, so hold on to that feeling. Fortunately, his brother choked to death in the kitchen, which happens to be the same room where his father killed himself. Allen’s mother hated the kitchen and given that and the history of deaths in this room, makes it Allen’s favorite. His other favorite room would be the basement, which he gleefully gives us the tour of with a female victim tied up on the floor. Displaying the gruesomely, jaw dropping practical effects in this movie, he uses a box cutter (a tool that always makes me wince in pain) and cuts a hole in her back, but he’s not done there. Poking his finger in it and rooting around like he’s trying to remove something stuck in a drain, he pulls out bloody strings of sinew and muscle. To be honest, this scene was making my muscles tense!
The week goes on and Allen goes more against his beliefs that he was verbalizing, focusing heavily on his drug use (to which he claimed he didn’t do), often smoking either heroin or crack (crystal meth maybe? I don’t know drugs). Usually, he partakes in this with his neighbor Bill, who clearly is an upstanding individual and in no way a creepy pervert. I’m sure you detected a high amount of sarcasm there and you would be right. It’s insinuated or hinted (or Bill flat out says it, but tries to play it off as a joke) that he is a pedophile. So if you think having one character that was despicable, here’s another. But that’s sort of the appealing part of 7th Day. Virtually every character in the film is in their own way very grotesque and we end up siding with one of them, particularly Allen. Of course we aren’t supposed to, but that what happens when you give a character some depth and go on a journey with them. Although I would recommend a shower and some church immediately afterwards.
Unlike Rob Zombie’s Halloween, writer Mark Leake and director Jason Koch show you in a visceral and darkly disturbing way, what goes into to making a serial killer with no remorse. It’s a path you don’t want to go down, but they make it interesting and entertaining in a very curious way, allowing us to live vicariously through Allen. The crew brings this morbid visual to life in a way that will make even the strongest of stomachs turn. Even though Jason Koch himself has done special effects on films like Troma’s Return to Nuke’m High and Science Team (which oddly enough, he made a mold of my friend’s head), the credit on this one goes to Kaleigh Brown, who does a marvelous job.
Given the trend with filmmakers confusing blood and violence for actual horror and the director’s association with Troma, the film could have easily been a gross out movie, but instead it took a far more sophisticated route and illustrated for us the mind of a truly tormented and lost mind. Let Allen be your Willy Wonka of murder and check this movie out.
Spend a week with The Lost Highway!