The Seventh Day (2021) Is Every Exorcism Film You’ve Seen Before
Title: The Seventh Day
First Non-Festival Release: March 18, 2021 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Justin P. Lange
Writer: Justin P. Lange
Runtime: 87 Minutes
Starring: Guy Pearce, Vadhir Derbez, Stephen Lang
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Years after the failed exorcism of a 12-year-old boy, Father Peter (Guy Pearce) is tasked with training up rookie exorcist Father Daniel (Vadhir Derbez) to fight the recent surge of demonic possessions in the nation. His unconventional training methods leave the bookish and meek novice perplexed but still he persists. As they lock down on the case of a young boy who murdered his family, Father Daniel will have to take his training to heart much sooner than anticipated. He must fight not only for the sake of this boy’s soul but to prepare for the incoming invasion.
Nothing but generic possession horror, The Seventh Day struggles to justify its existence with empty twists and faulty logic.
It’s hard to review a film so forgettable that it leaves no discernable impact on you despite watching it only a few days ago. That’s the case with The Seventh Day. A film as flat and drab as its cinematography and set design, The Seventh Day comes and goes as a by-the-numbers exorcism drama that fails to push the sub-genre in new directions, build on existing lore or conventions, or even simply delivering on the shocks and scares one would hope to populate a film of this nature. In the end, it does nothing.
There isn’t much of anything special about this movie aside from the idea of an exorcist training program. It has potential but there needed to be way more investment in the buildup. It ends up failing miserably at establishing how or why this should happen. There are moments where it ventures into interesting territory, particularly when it ties ideas of exorcisms to abuse and violence, but it never fully commits. Furthermore, the twist came out of nowhere and is incredibly unbelievable. Overall, its plodding and purposeless story gives viewers nothing to invest in rendering it a tepid and unengaging watch.
Everyone in the cast is rough here. No one stands out as inspiring even capable talent like Guy Pearce. It doesn’t help that Vadhir Derbez is given the thankless task of playing one of the most dreadfully boring protagonists of the year. Father Daniel is essentially the main character yet has almost nothing to him. His personality is flat, and we learn very little about him throughout the entire film, other than he is studious and committed to his craft. Pearce’s Father Peter, on the other hand, gets little development outside of sweeping in to save the day each time Father Daniel fails. Its formula is worn rather quickly.
Outside of story and talent, there isn’t much to distinguish The Seventh Day from other horror fare. The production values are generally fine, and you can tell some money was dumped on this movie. The problem lies in the fact that everything is broadcast before the audience. It has that same generic score used in every middling horror film, which gets grating quickly. The scares and shock sequences come as no surprise, which kills any momentum the film gets going. It’s just a mess. A serious and slow-paced snooze-fest, The Seventh Day skirts by on mediocrity on the technicality that it looks fine.
By the time the credits roll, you’ll likely be more confused than scared. Guy Pearce’s involvement measures up to nothing more than wasted potential in an exorcism flick that amounts to very little in the end. A paper-thin script, wooden acting, and laugh-inducing action sequences make The Seventh Day one of the most disappointing major releases of the year. It’s mind-boggling to this reviewer that no one thought playing it straight would end well for a film that cannot muster a single original thought or scare. No surprise here that neither the box office nor the critics were favorable upon release. Spare yourself the disappointment and condemn this movie to hell.
Overall Score? 4/10