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English 101 - one Hundred and Twenty Seven Minutes of Horror

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Brittany Revel

David Willis

English 101

7 October 2011

One Hundred and Twenty Se7en Minutes of Horror

According to Webster's dictionary horror can be defined as the quality of inspiring

intense dread or dismay, but the serial killer in the 1995 film Se7en takes horror to new

heights. Detective Mills and Somerset, with the usual sound of dread in their voices, discuss

what few facts they know about the crime scene they are about to investigate. As they walk

through the door of an old apartment building, suddenly a multitude of roaches scatter across

the room. Detective Mills follows with a sarcastic comment "Better Homes and Gardens..."

As they walk further into the room they see an oversized man face down in a plate of

spaghetti, who has been the victim of a heinous crime. Unsure of who is responsible or why,

the detectives conclude that the victim was force fed to death. This is only the beginning of

the suspense, mind games, and horror that unfolds throughout this movie.

This scene is a good example of why Se7en fits into the horror genre. The gruesome

crime scene leaves the viewer horrified. The detectives go from scene to scene uncovering

"John Doe's" victims, not knowing who will be next or why. This horror film leaves the

gruesome killings to the viewer's imagination, not seeing the actual murder, but only the

aftermath. One would think this would take away from the thrill, but it keeps you on the edge

of your seat, wanting to know what happens next.

Detective Lt. William Somerset is one week away from retirement, as weary as he is he

stays on to train his replacement the ambitious young detective, David Mills.

Uncharacteristically these two are not at odds playing good cop bad cop. They are drawn

together and form an unusual bond as they are on the hunt for a serial killer. Tracy Mills is

the young innocent wife of Mills. She was reluctant about moving to the city, but did so for

her husband's advancement in his career. She brings life to the movie and hope for the

future. This is a staunch contrast to the dark visual elements surrounding the setting of the

unknown metropolitan city where the crimes unfold. The city appears to be dark and dirty

throughout the movie until the end scene.

John Doe is a stereotypical serial killer in a psychological thriller, who uses mind games

not only on the victims but the detectives as well. As the horror of this crime drama evolves,

the detectives realize they are dealing with an intelligent, complex serial killer, who is

choosing his victims based on the seven deadly sins; pride, greed, wrath, sloth, lust, envy and

gluttony. Who will be chosen next? The clues left behind by John Doe gave a hint to what

murder would follow. The murders continue and the detectives stay one step behind John

Doe. "If we catch John Doe and he turns out to be the devil, I mean if he's Satan himself, that

might live up to our expectations, but he's not the devil. He's just a man, "Detective Mills

adds as he grows more disheartened.

Worried by her husband's obsession of the case, Tracey Mills sets up a meeting with her

new confidant Somerset. They meet at a restaurant near her apartment. At the meeting she

reveals she is pregnant and has yet to tell her husband. Somerset

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