Seven Essay

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David Fincher's Se7en successfully creates a horrific world in which a realistic monster challenges the audience's view of monstrosity. In this film, Fincher presents John Doe, a serial killer who kills his victims in accordance to their sinful lives by incorporating his own ironic twists on the seven deadly sins. However, Se7en does not fall into the category of a typical "realist horror" movie, in which we are presented with a disturbed, murderous individual with an unnerving past that has no sense of morals and religion (Freeland). Instead, Fincher has created a nameless, unidentifiable monster: one with no background and no fingerprints, which remains absent or faceless throughout the majority of the film. John Doe has no identity, and from this fact I presume that the horror in Se7en doesn't come from him but from something else that might be even more powerful and terrifying: the realization that we, the audience, are somehow monstrous and evil. I believe that the horror we experience does not merely result from the crimes of one unstable man, but rather from film's suggestion that sin and evil resides in all human beings. John Doe does not horrify us (for most of the film we cannot distinguish him from the other characters), the human capacity for evil and sin within other people and, more appallingly, within ourselves is what is truly horrifying. I'm able to demonstrate this idea in two distinct ways: through Doe's relationship with the other characters, and in the audience's relationship with these characters. John Doe's particular relationship with Detective Somerset's character shows an undeniable link that causes us to question who John Doe really is and his role in this movie. Doe and Somerset are mirrored images of the same embodied views and traits. Both men, for example, are scholarly, and have an appreciation for libraries and great literature. More

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