Most helpful critical review
Great premise but...
on March 6, 2004
When I first heard about this movie and its premise, back in '95, I nodded my head and figured it was a great idea. Then, some years later my father-in-law sent the vhs to my wife and me. SEVEN started out promising enough: the heavy atmosphere of a generic urban blight region, the deliberately paced filming, etc. You're set up for a terribly complex, suspenseful thriller. But it never fulfilled that promise. The movie strives for the psychological depth of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or IN COLD BLOOD but never reaches it. I mean, the killer is using the Seven Deadly Sins as his model for the murders, so you think maybe he or she is a misguided religious nut? Duh. I dunno. Has it ever been done before?
And once you see who portrays the killer (although other reviewers have "given it away"), I think you'll kind of grimace and say, "Jeez, he was always playing the weird bad guy back in those days." And, to me, his performance is kind of a throw-away job. He almost seems to not want to be in the picture.
Freeman and Pitt give good performances, however, Although the chemistry between them seemed strained (unlike the wonderful Glover and Gibson pairing in the LETHAL WEAPON films), the combination is effective, overall. I enjoyed watching them. The cinematography was engaging enough, and the direction elicited a few good scares. I guess I was expecting a really good thriller mystery--at least I was supposed to, given all the hooplah, Instead, I got a fairly-decent though brutal film. See it before you decide to buy it, or before your father-in-law sends you a copy.