Part psychological thriller, part gorefest, Jason Koch’s 7th Day (2012) allows the viewer a peek inside the deteriorating mind of murdering psychopath Allen Dean (played by Mark S. Sanders, V/H/S/2) “who has to determine what he loves most, a waitress named Denise (Daisy Gibb) or murder.” Although interesting to watch (particularly since I majored in psychology in college), the film seemed to be just as trapped in Allen Dean’s mind as he is. It never got away from being a fountain of information for anyone looking to build Allen’s psychological profile. At the end, I was left with the distinct impression that 7th Day did not turn out as it was intended to by the director and writer (Mark Leake, Paradise of the Damned). The trailer is below, check it out before you read on:
From the plot description I read, I expected different things from 7th Day than what I actually got. Rather than watching Allen determine if he’ll choose being a killer or being with Denise, I followed a plotline that focused not on a choice, but on Allen himself. All narration, conversation, and events in the movie pertain solely to the psychopathic part of Allen that makes him a monster. The “decision” the press piece plot description says that Allen is making seems to me to have had a clear winner from the start and he doesn’t really ever have a choice, although whether or not this was intentional on the part of the director and writer is unclear. I’m not sure why the focus was so far from where it needed to be, but for whatever reason the film did not succeed in portraying the plotline it promised.
Allen narrates the film in the first-person, periodically giving “interviews” to a figment of his imagination. Listening to a mass murderer talk about himself and his psychopathy was extremely interesting: the writer, director, and Sanders did a fantastic job creating a believable, nuanced portrait of the inner workings of a man who cannot control his urges to kill others. Allen has a specific way of talking about things (for example, he refers to the people he kills to satisfy himself as his “selections”) and delusional beliefs about himself and his actions, which become more pronounced as he becomes further wrapped in a mental fog. He is a great character, which is fortunate since the viewer spends the entire movie with him.
The film focuses on Allen to such an extent that the other characters are largely ignored and thus appear to be unimportant to the story. And for most of the characters, the viewer doesn’t need to know any more about them than the information already provided by the movie. The character of Denise is an exception to that statement. It is disappointing to know so little about her when she sounded like she was very important in the plot description. Denise has little substance and hardly appears in the movie. The viewer learns nothing about her, which makes it difficult to understand why Allen thinks she’s someone with whom he could “complete his life,” as he puts it. Denise appears revolted by Allen during all of their interactions, which only occur at work and do not change. She also appears as a hallucination inside of Allen’s television, giving him messages that encourage him to succumb to his urges to kill. The basis for Denise’s importance in Allen’s life and for the reasons why she would be his alternative option to embracing his murderous urges is practically nonexistent in the movie. Is this flimsiness purposeful, designed to show that Allen is crazy and created a relationship in his mind, or did that part of the story get lost in poor writing, uninspired acting, or a loss of focus in directing?
There’s not much more to this film than what I already touched on. Gore features heavily in 7th Day, and the low-budget makeup, props, and lighting add an uncomfortable sense of realism to the murders. I’m not big on the super realistic, extra-gory stuff, so I found the scenes to be a bit cringe-inducing, but horror fans who love that kind of stuff will enjoy this movie’s well-done kills.
I thought this movie was okay. It wasn’t at all what I expected; honestly, I was expecting something much better and way more exciting. What I got wasn’t completely terrible, but I wouldn’t have watched it if I’d known what it was actually about. So I’ll do you that favor and tell you that if you want to watch an up-close-and-personal look at the inner workings of a human killing machine and see some truly disgusting things that can be done to the human body, 7th Day is the movie for you.