In 1995, Seven - sometimes stylised Se7en, but try relying on that as a Google keyword and see how far you get - was unleashed on an unsuspecting public and changed the face of serial killer thrillers practically overnight.
Seven was a commercial hit movie, but the people that saw it… well, perhaps ‘loved it’ is the wrong phrase. The film blew their minds. It changed people’s ideas about cinematic aesthetics, nihilistic narratives and downbeat endings in mainstream thrillers. That astonishing, industrialised scream of a title sequence has been imitated slavishly ever since.
And as for popularising the genre - Wikipedia lists 38 serial killer movies in the seventies and 31 in the nineties (the eighties is a blip, because the list includes every film in the slasher fad). In the two decades since Seven, the number goes up to 77 and 81. That’s not a coincidence.
Nearly twenty-five years after the release of this seminal movie, here are twenty-five things you may or may not know about Seven. And listen, if you haven’t seen it: i) here be spoilers and ii) what in the sopping wet cake are you doing with your life? Go and watch it right now and come back when you’re done.
25. The Idea For The Movie Came From Living In New York
Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker was working in a Tower Records in New York when he wrote the Se7en screenplay as a spec job. He’d moved from a very middle-class Pennsylvania suburb in the mid-eighties when crack cocaine became an epidemic and the Big Apple felt like it was crawling with maggots.
At the time, being able to elevator-pitch your movie in a glutted marketplace was essential, and Walker’s ‘seven deadly sins murders’ high concept was based on what it felt like for the sheltered Walker, living in crackhead central. What if someone else was even more sensitive to these deadly sinners - psychotically so?
That was the genesis of the Se7en screenplay.