Seventh Son. Holy Hellfire and Flaming Fecal Matter! I thought I’d hit the nadir of filmic flop piles, when I walked out of A Good Day To Die Hard, back in the Winter of 2013, but Seventh Son just upped that ante, with a pair of boiling witch’s panties.
This piece of digital dreck makes A Good Day look like a Wellesian masterpiece…
Jeff Bridges plays Master Gregory: A “Spook” (who dispatches and destroys boggarts, ghasts, warlocks, and witches). Mastah Gee comes to bestow apprenticeship upon Ben Barnes’ Tom Ward, the eponymous one, who gives this craptastic cinematic concussion its title. As Ward is the seventh of seven, he is the prophetic son; destined to eventually wear the Spook’s cowl. Spooky trains Tom Ward to do battle with Mother Malkin; a dragon-tailed sorcerer played by Julianne Moore (who must’ve been under contract to drown in this toil of trouble).
Malkin has killed Gregory’s previous apprentice, Billy Bradley (played by Game Of Thrones‘ Kit Harrington), and Spooky Gee is looking to deliver his comeuppance. Malkin is making ready her eye of newt and toe of frog, in an effort to conjure forth an army of ghouls, demons, devils, and dragons; before the rise of the Blood Moon, which will empower her to watch the world burn. Or…something…to that effect.. I must’ve been mistakenly enchanted with a momentary curse of wicked forgetfulness, for alas, I really cannot recall the remainder of the plot, henceforth. Instead, my imagination drifted into the pleasurable realm of fantasizing about my own writing and comics…so, for that I give Seventh Son some unintended credit.
The overall story arc was heavily convoluted, to the point it was obscured in devil’s dust– that wanted to abracadabra the viewer to the ending credits, and avoid itself a multitude of embarrassing faux pas. And it’s a shame, because there are some brilliant ingredients in the cauldron here.
The cast is solid gold (although Bridges’ decision to give Gregory a constantly-shifting, grumbly-mumbling, mid-European accent seems odd, when his costars all speak in “American”). I will say the creature stylings were a vision to behold: Malkin can meld ordinary animals into monsters; the witches can displace into dragons; and there’s an aerial dragon fight between two witch sisters! There’s also a four-armed, blue-skinned demon who appears seemingly out of nowhere during a battle; and he disappears just as quickly, into the ether (Where’d HE come from?!), yet this all happens in a brief spectacle of visual ejaculation.
Director Sergey Bodrov (Oscar-nominated for Prisoner of the Mountains, 1996), made this his English-language debut, and he seemingly just moneyshot a fistful of clichéd visual tropes into what is ostensibly a DOA franchise nonstarter. I imagine Bodrov may have been hoping such a kamikaze-style of fantasy film formulations would result in a visual assault that would leave something sticking to his audience, but this film load doesn’t even leave egg on your face. It’s February though. So…I guess this is the time for some turgid films to be released. Hopefully Seventh Son has filled the yearly quota; but then again, we’re talking about Hollywood. And she could. And she can. And she will.
Legendary/Universal’s Seventh Son in theaters now.