Let’s be too calm.
The Seventh Day is a new possession horror film that plopped onto streaming without any celebration. We follow rookie priest Father Daniel (Vadhir Derbez) who is assigned to work with unorthodox badass exorcist Father Peter (Guy Pearce) as cases of possessions are spiking around the country. Their efforts focus on Charlie (Brady Jenness), who murdered his family while possessed. Our priests must find a way to save Charlie while getting around police and church authorities.
If the premise of the film sounds interesting, it is. Sure, it isn’t a new approach (and the whole thing feels a bit like Training Day), but it has some promise. The setup promised that the exorcism wouldn’t be in the bedroom of the victim, and we might get some diversity in location and approach. Unfortunately, we don’t get anything new and end up making the same mistakes all other films in this specific horror subgenre do as well. The film seems to willingly squander all the potential it has.
The film has been bombed by reviewers and audiences alike. A lot of ire is directed at Derbez, who plays a character about as emotional as wallpaper. He simply does not react to anything with any sort of emotion. No matter how powerful the image is supposed to be, he simply stands there. I do think Derbez was miscast here, but I will place more of the blame on the director. Father Daniel isn’t an interesting character—the script doesn’t allow him any chance to grow. The character never showcases any emotion in anything on the screen because the audience (and probably the actor) don’t know anything about him. With such a robotic and stiff presence, we as the audience have nothing to latch onto.
Further, none of the characters are particularly interesting. Pearce’s droll curmudgeon of a priest is nonsensical when the entire narrative is considered. Brady Jenness gives it his all as Charlie, and it is unfortunate to see someone working so hard in a film that doesn’t deserve it.
The film fails (in my opinion) mainly due to the adherence to the twist. The obligatory (and obvious) horror twist here does not allow any sort of character development. Father Daniel can’t grow until the twist is revealed, but by then it is too late. They forgot to tell a good story in the lead up to the not-shocking twist ending.
There is a lazy competency present in the filmmaking here. We have a decently paced and decently framed story that meets the baseline requirements for what we would want to call a horror film. The jump scares are telegraphed in a way that neuters them but does remind you this is a horror movie. Everything is done with such a self-serious tone that it becomes hard to take seriously. A little humor or levity would help break the mold of these characters.
Despite some technical sophistication in the filming, we end up with odd and nonsensical transitions. We simply leap over plot holes for the purpose of keeping the story going. Once again, most of this is done in service of the twist ending. However, a good deal of it is done due to laziness in storytelling.
The stiffness in the storytelling removes any chance for fun. At best this one could have been a fun film to pick on while watching. It may have even reached the so-bad-it’s-good levels with a different tonal focus. Unfortunately, this is just a bad movie.
Skip this one.