Review Date: February 24, 1999
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker
Producers: Joel Schumacher, Judy Hoffland, Gavin Polone
A discreet private investigator gets hired by an aging widow of a rich guy, after she finds a snuff film in his wall-safe, and wants to know if the girl killed on the grainy movie, was killed for real. The private dick slowly delves into the sick, perverted world of underground porn, and slowly uncovers the secrets behind the disgusting film.
Dark, gritty thriller that starts off with a great premise, but loses you with its snails pace, awful soundtrack and somewhat predictable and weak conclusion. The film seems to have two endings, one which is quite see-through and anti-climactic, and another longer, drawn-out finish, which does score some points for daring, but not enough to make up for the film's overall laggard inclination. The actors are all very good in their roles, with Cage coming through as the man progressively being torn apart inside, and Joaquin Phoenix as the wise-cracking, porn-shop-clerking, side-kick from hell! Peter Stormare also turns in a fun role as Dino Velvet, one of the film's more seedier characters. And yes, there are quite a few seedy characters in this one, but not as many as I anticipated. In fact, for a film that deals with murder, porn and the Hollywood underground, I didn't find much to be shocked about. Some interesting scenes, but nothing overly appalling or horrific. But then again, maybe I watch too much porn myself :)
I guess that if you're the type of person that enjoys lazy-paced films, with a tinge of character development, then you might enjoy this one, despite its impotent conclusion. But if you check into this film looking for a fast-paced thrill-ride, you will be mightily disappointed, because the hop of this film is not as swift as the mighty rabbit. Having said that, the cinematography of the film is perfect, with the smell of the underground practically carrying you out of your seat and literal darkness choking us all around. But overall, the film doesn't generate enough real thrills, tension or a fulfilling conclusion, to be judged a recommendable thriller. Rent SEVEN again, or wait for this SEVEN-lite to come out on video, so that you could sit down with a beer in one hand, a remote in the other, and a pillow nestled plumply behind your fat head.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian