Originality in movies today is a rarity, with many central themes having been plundered to the point of audience exhaustion. What the viewer can occasionally hope for is a fresh new slant or re-interpretation. "Se7en" is such an example of classic horror thrills, up-ended and twisted into a bewildering and claustrophobic web of tension.
Morgan Freeman plays a world-weary homicide detective who's brilliant at his job and six days away from retirement. He's handed a case involving a desperately sick and teasing serial killer, and a cocky young sidekick in the form of Brad Pitt, who's keen to prove himself in his new surroundings. Just don't yawn with a knowing derision born of such familiar plot devices. It'll only allow director David Fincher to stuff and gag you with his fiendishly unsettling take on the predictable.
Despite the references to the 'seven deadly sins' and other machinations of literary origin, this is a 'chase' movie. Fincher previously murdered this sub-genre with the brutally dull "Alien 3". His techniques in "Se7en" are confidently different. In the place of the obvious is subtlety. Rather than lingering gore shots, we get a diffused layering of the visual and verbal, to nauseating effect.
The pace is fast and the shocks build beautifully. The actors within it all reel with convincing horror, as the chase veers towards a growing realisation that the answer to this mystery will not soothe the frazzled viewer.
Read a review of the DVD.