I really wanted to like The Seventh Day because as someone who’s not a fan of the exorcism sub-genre I’ve been looking for a long time for a movie that managed to move beyond the typical tropes (people spinning on the ceiling, objects flying about, and so on).
And it should go without saying that William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) gets a pass because it was the movie that took exorcisms mainstream and at the time it’s terrors were somewhat novel though it’s worth mentioning that this is exactly the reason why I enjoy it’s sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) so much – beyond the Ennio Morricone soundtrack, which is too fucking cool for school – namely it tried to do something different.
And sure, one could argue that it for the most part was unsuccessful but we can’t advance without the occasional misfire, can we?
In any case, movies revolving around exorcism primarily work with shocking the viewer but what film makers don’t seem to understand is that if you see anything often enough – and I mean anything – you eventually become numb to it.
So the tropes relied upon quickly moved from being humdrum to silly though watching The Seventh Day I – for about a third of the runtime – I held out the hope that the exorcism sub-genre was being resuscitated as the movie seemed to posit that the ‘demons’ that haunted a little boy are perhaps similar to those that appeared to haunt Father Daniel (Vadhir Derbez) a exorcist-in-training investigating a particularly heinous murder that the Church believed was due to demonic possession.
No such luck though because when Father Daniel entered the house where the murders took place and saw the scene play out before him like some sort of superpower that enabled him to turn back time (I assume what actually played out was a display of the time he dedicated in researching the case though it would have helped if the movie had perhaps showed some of this research. You know, Father Daniel pouring over the history of the case, becoming so focused that he could barely eat or sleep. THAT would have made the scene made sense).
From that point on the movie fell into typical tropes of exorcism movies though there’s a pretty audacious – and ludicrous, because the movie doesn’t quite make clear why it’s happening – plot twist.
As a result I have to give the film maker (The Seventh Day was written and directed by Justin Lange) credit though at some point all the plot twists in the world aren’t going to revive the dead.