Have you ever seen a movie that someone claimed is “so bad it’s good?” Well, this is not one of those movies, choosing to just opt for bad, even painful at times. Following a trend of butchering books to churn out a horrible mess, “Seventh Son” is the newest addition to their ranks. It’s a disappointment to say the least.
The movie starts off in an odd place, right in the middle of a young hunter of the supernatural named Gregory (Jeff Bridges) nailing shut the prison of the evil witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore). It’s so jarring you feel like you’ve jumped ahead a couple of scenes. But after a fast time lapse, she breaks out of prison and we see Gregory in his later years, and within his first line of dialogue you see how badly the acting is going to be for the rest of the movie: Gregory can only really be described as a drunk, discount Gandalf who can barely be understood through his thick tongue. Sounds like an interesting character, right? Wrong, so very wrong.
At that moment, his apprentice (Kit Harington) walks in and things look brighter for a second because maybe a talented actor has a chance of saving this movie. But he’s offed in the next two scenes. From then on Gregory seeks the seventh son of the seventh son, who is the only one capable of hunting down the supernatural “spooks,” and he finds that in Tom (Ben Barnes), a dull farm boy who seems to possess great powers.
From then on, we get the typical “chosen one” dialogue for the rest of the movie. The plot is so boring and cliched: boy discovers he’s special in some way, gets trained to defeat a villain, falls in love with a one-dimensional woman and overcomes struggles and betrayal to defeat said villain. Even the action scenes, with some slightly impressive CGI, aren’t enough to entertain.
One of the main problems with the movie is that all the major plot points are just told through exposition. It would’ve been nice to see why Gregory hates witches and the supernatural, but instead we get a deadpan stare and monotone, with no inflection in his voice as he talks about the loved ones killed by Mother Malkin. We get more establishing shots of scenery and locations that look like scrapped designs from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy than we do of any substantial plot. Even though flashbacks are a cop-out of the “show, don’t tell” rule of screenwriting, it would be way better than just being told through monologues.
Along with the movie’s horrible acting, writing and plot, another big issue is the movie’s flow in both editing and tone. The director is quick to jumpcut randomly, switching from Gregory and Ben to Mother Malkin at the oddest times. It’s very distracting and makes the movie feel like a jumbled mess, as if it doesn’t know how to keep the audience entranced with action or character development so it simply just chooses to cut somewhere else.
The sad part is that the movie does have some interesting concepts that, if executed right and in the hands of other people, would’ve worked out. The movie is based on a book called “The Spook’s Apprentice,” which seems like a mix of “Harry Potter” and “The Sixth Sense” and would’ve been way more interesting than the typical bland fantasy Hollywood is churning out nowadays.
“Seventh Son” feels like the very poorly made video game that’s supposed to be based on the movie, rather than the real film itself. It comes complete with side quests and disappointing boss fights, and a few hastily written cutscenes that are supposed to make you feel emotion but fail. If you want to watch a movie about a hero slaying supernatural creatures, just save yourself money and rent “Van Helsing” or a couple of episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” At least then you’ll get a more entertaining and interesting experience than you would watching “Seventh Son.”
Rating: 1 star