Sundance 2010: 7 DAYS Review

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
Sign-In to Vote
Sundance 2010: 7 DAYS Review
[Our thanks to Ryland Aldrich for the following review.]

Daniel Grou has taken a cue from Michael Haneke in the very uncomfortable French Canadian torture film 7 Days.  Grou endeavors to explore the psyche of a man driven to the edge by grief. While it provides plenty of shriek-worthy visuals, the film's protagonist proves just too unsympathetic and the story ultimately disappoints.

Bruno (Claude Legault) is a doctor who works nights at the local hospital. Normally he would return home from work and take his young daughter to school, but one day she decides to walk on her own while mom and dad spend some quality time together. This results in tragedy and Bruno with the police when they discover his daughter's grotesquely brutalized body. A rift forms between Bruno and his wife Sylvie (Fanny Mallette) over the blame and Bruno sinks into a deep depression.  The police quickly catch the killer and things look set for a speedy trial and easy conviction. That is until Bruno enacts a complicated plan to kidnap the murderer Anthony (Martin Dubreuil) and lock him up in a remote cabin.

His plan executed flawlessly, Bruno finds himself face to face with unspeakable evil - both Anthony's and the evil which Bruno proves capable of.  A sledge hammer to the knee is just the beginning as Bruno makes use of his medical training to exact the most creative torture he can imagine.  In one particularly graphic scene, Bruno dissects Anthony's small intestine, leaving him to defecate through a bloody hole in his stomach. And there is plenty more.  On a call with police detective Mercure (Remy Girard), Bruno tells him and the media that he will torture Anthony for 7 days until his daughter's birthday when he will kill him. But neither the support of the public nor the blood curdling screams of his victim prove enough to ease Bruno's grief as he spirals deeper and deeper into an emotional abyss.

7 Days' biggest flaw lies in the development of Bruno as a protagonist. The audience doesn't get an opportunity to know Bruno before tragedy strikes and at that point, his transformation is like a light switch. This is not the study of a character as he slowly descends into evil - this is a character that overnight turns into a vicious and calculating psychopath.  This is evidenced by the sheer amount of planning that has to go into his kidnapping plot and torture contraption.  Unfortunately this does not lead to a very sympathetic lead. It is a bad sign anytime the audience is rooting for the protagonist to just kill himself and get it over with.

An opportunity is missed to create an interesting two handed story between Bruno and Detective Mercure.  While their similarities are pointed to in most of Mercure's scenes, the personal relationship is never developed.  This is too bad as Girard's performance as Mercure is a high point and it would have been nice to see him get more screen time.

Those of faint hearts should take note, 7 Days is extremely graphic. It isn't possible to just close your eyes either as Anthony's screams are almost as horrifying as the visuals. Filmgoers who appreciate atmospheric and intense filmmaking may find some things to like here, but ultimately the final product just doesn't prove worth the effort.

[Ryland Aldrich is a screenwriter and freelance writer based in Los Angeles.  He blogs at enderzero.net]
Sign-In to Vote
Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.

More about Seven Days

professorglumJanuary 25, 2010 8:48 AM

How is this like Haneke? I thought the whole point of Funny Games was to be a direct repudiation of movies like this -- that's why he rarely shows any violence onscreen.

That said, I'll watch just about any horror I can get my hands on, but this torture stuff is just too much. Is one expected to find watching someone defecate through a hole in their stomach entertaining in some way?

MetrogenicJanuary 25, 2010 6:15 PM

Not that I disagree, but I'd stay far away from The Human Centipede if I were you.

Major_RagerFebruary 8, 2010 12:19 PM

SO I saw this yesterday at the theatre despite this bad review. The review is pretty spot on BUT it is not all that disturbing or graphic in comparison to what's out there now. The sledgehammer to the knee and the surgical scene are really the only graphic scenes of torture I remember. I really don't understand the whole "And there's plenty more" because it really didn't go much further after those 2 scenes. Very disappointing movie. And the ending -- I wouldn't even call it an ending. More like a cop out.