Straight from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival comes not one, but TWO positive looks at Podz’s 7 Days. “Powerful performances and a challenging message make Daniel Grou’s (also known as “Podz”) 7 Days one of this year’s first surprise films to come from way out of left field. Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, this French-Canadian thriller tells a deeply immersive story that at no point strays from its intended path and delivers with such a punch that you’ll be talking about it for 7 days after.” Click the title above for Mr. Disgusting’s full review or read on to see what Ryan Daley had to say. Watch this spot for tons of from Ryan ion the coming week.
I hate to admit it, but of the 8 films I plan on seeing at the Sundance Film Festival this week, 7 Days has been the one movie I’ve had a hard time getting excited about. When I read the synopsis about a mourning father who tortures his daughter’s murderer over 7 agonizing days, I immediately imagined a grainy, screeching, mean-spirited foreign rip-off of every American torture porn movie to be released since Saw. Seems like foreign torture-porn rip-offs are legion these days. But before leaving for the movie theater, I happened to notice Mr. Disgusting’s 4-star rating, and my curiosity was piqued. I still haven’t read his review, which I’ve purposely avoided to prevent my own opinion from being tainted, but I look forward to reading it immediately after wrapping this up.
Once I arrived at the theater, I overheard Sundance volunteers whispering reverent rumors of theater walk-outs, so I prepared myself to be disturbed, at the same time knowing that Sundance audiences are usually jam-packed with pansies. But to my pleasant surprise, 7 Days turned out to be a mature, thoughtful film about the traumatic emotional pain that comes with the death of a child…that just happens to have some pretty fucked-up torture scenes.
When Dr. Bruno Hamel’s 8-year-old daughter goes missing one school day, he enlists the local police to help him search the neighborhood. It doesn’t take long before they find his daughter’s body in the nearby woods, bound, raped and murdered. The doctor and his wife are devastated, but the police soon state that they’ve located the killer. They’ve DNA-matched the semen of a known pervert. It’s an open-and-shut case.
Wracked with the loss of his only child, Dr. Hamel sets up a torture chamber in an abandoned cabin, and enlists a couple of thugs to help him get the murderer out of police custody. Over the next week, Hamel methodically tortures his daughter’s killer, even as the local police slowly close in on Hamel’s backwoods hiding place.
7 Days straddles the line between art film and horror film–I found myself haunted by the recurring image of a deer carcass that Dr. Hamel discovers in the woods outside his torture cabin. Uncomfortable with the sight, Hamel covers the deer with logs, only to find it uncovered by predators the next day. So he takes it out in a rowboat and drops it in the lake. Only to have it float and drift back to the shoreline. Like the raw hollowness he feels inside, the deer carcass refuses to be buried or sunk. It’s a memorable metaphor.
Stillness abounds in 7 Days. With limited dialogue and no background music, the ambient sounds dominate, making the character interactions more realistic. Employing slow, lulling tracking shots to tell his story, director Daniel Grou has crafted a graphic, sometimes sadistic horror film that still manages to come across as restrained. In the world of 7 Days, it’s the torturer, rather than the tortured, who is living true horror.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls