Director: Justin P. Lange
Script: Justin P. Lange
Cast: Gut Pierce, Vadher Derbez, Stephen Lang, Brady Jenness, Chris Galust, Robin Bartlett, Heath Freeman, Keith David
Running time: 84 minutes
Renowned exorcist, Father Peter (Guy Pierce), is given a new apprentice, Father Daniel (Vadhir Derbez), to train up. At first the two don’t really see eye-to-eye and Father Peter drops Daniel in at the ‘deep end’ and forces him to exorcise a homeless woman. The next case involves a young boy who killed his whole family while allegedly being possessed. Having seen a young kid literally burn up in front of him during an earlier case (the opening prologue to the film, no less), Farther Peter is understandably somewhat reluctant to take the lead in this case, so once again pushes Peter to the front to deal with the juvenile delinquent and his gnarly visitor. At first Peter manages to build a relationship, of sorts, with the boy, but it soon turns out that the demon that possessed him is still resident and has a helper, and Peter soon finds himself dealing with not one but two demonic entities.
The Seventh Day starts off a bit like Training Day, but for priests, and, like that film, the novice soon realises that the lines between good and evil are often blurred, and not everyone you think is your friend is actually your friend.
In more recent years there’s been a trend for exorcism films to be more subtle, slow-burn affairs, leaving more to the imagination, and down-playing the supernatural elements. However, director/writer Justin P. Lange clearly didn’t get that memo and keeps things buzzing along at a fair old clip and obviously wants to show us possessed people doing weird things – including spontaneously combusting – and being very much on the offensive against figures of authority, like priests.
The performances from the leads are decent – Guy Pierce is always good value and Derbez holds his own again him, at least for the most part, although in some of the earlier scenes Vadhir seemed to be semi-vacant, having just two facial expressions – bewildered and even more bewildered! There’s also a bit of an information dump as a senior priest explains to young Daniel about his mentor to be, which is always a sign of a less experienced scriptwriter. The possessed child (Brady Jenness) is good and has very expressive eyes, and frequently reminds the viewer that children can be very creepy on screen indeed.
In fact, there are some quite scary sequences in The Seventh Day, particularly one in a prison corridor, and at least one effective jump-scare, although there’s seldom anything subtle about Lange’s film. However, that’s not such a bad thing and it reminded me a little of some of the high concept action/horrors that came out in the 90s such as Stigmata and End of Days.
The film’s score is effective and the movie ends with a cool track playing over an ending that is clearly leaving it open to a sequel, which I’m guessing is unlikely to happen, but you never know.
The Seventh Day is a reasonable time-waster and will be enjoyed by fans of leave-your-brain-at-the-door horror-thrillers. There’s nothing particularly original here, but it’s certainly entertaining hokum.
The Seventh Day is being distributed by Dazzler on both DVD and digital. There were no extras on the disc, which is a shame as I’d have liked to have seen some behind-the-scenes material for this one.