Se7en [1995]

The most viscerally frightening and disturbing homicidal maniac picture since The Silence of the Lambs, Seven is based on an idea that's both gruesome and ingenious. A serial killer forces each of his victims to die by acting out one of the seven deadly sins. The murder scene is then artfully arranged into a grotesque tableau, a graphic illustration of each mortal vice. From the jittery opening credits to the horrifying (and seemingly inescapable) concluding twist, director David Fincher immerses us in a murky urban twilight where everything seems to be rotting, rusting, or molding; the air is cold and heavy with dread. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are the detectives who skillfully track down the killer--all the while unaware that he has been closing in on them, as well. Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey are also featured, but it is director Fincher and the ominous, overwhelmingly oppressive atmosphere of doom that he creates that are the real stars of the film. It's a terrific date movie--for vampires. --Jim Emerson

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