A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film contains graphic depictions of the aftermath of grisly murders involving the seven deadly sins. While none of this takes place on-screen, the vivid descriptions prove to be nearly as chilling. For example, an obese man is forced to eat until his stomach bursts. A man is forced to kill a prostitute by stabbing her reproductive organs with an 8-inch knife. A beauty queen's face is cut off. A lawyer must cut out his own stomach. A police officer's pregnant wife is beheaded. In the end, the line between good and evil is blurred, with evil more or less coming out on top.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
SEVEN combines horror and film noir genres, with overconfident rookie David Mills (Brad Pitt) as the doomed detective of the noir tradition, and book veteran William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) as the desexualized, pedantic survivor familiar to slasher movie fans. The story follows the archetypal pair as they wind their way through a dark world of urban violence in search of a serial killer (Kevin Spacey). Mills and Somerset conclude that each murder corresponds to one of the seven deadly sins from the Bible, and that the killer is trying to preach his message of religious morality through his murders and the press they receive. Even after being willfully apprehended, the killer has one final trick up his sleeve -- a horrific gesture designed to goad Mills into crossing the line between lawful justice and sinful vengeance.
Is it any good?
Dark, disturbing and occasionally gory, Seven is a psychological thriller that, along with Chinatown, is among the bleakest films in mainstream cinema history.
The murders are not shown on screen, but the film has a morbid fascination with the pain inflicted on the victims. And it depicts a dark universe, where the lines between good and evil are blurred. There's no question that it aims to be more philosophical than other detective/horror films (namely The Silence of the Lambs). Attempts at deeper meaning might be pretentious or profound, depending on how serious you can take Brad Pitt as an actor.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: January 1, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: June 7, 2001
- Cast: Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman
- Director: David Fincher
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 127 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings, and for strong language.
- Last updated: October 11, 2021
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