I know I seem to be all over the place with my choices of what I have been reviewing lately. I think it has just been a very event-filled year for me and it hasn’t left a lot of time to try to come up with a cohesive plan for what to review. Now that Fall is upon us – it certainly feels that way – I can start to put a bit more thought into what I am reviewing here. In that vein, I sat down the other evening to watch a film that is often categorized in Horror sections of video stores. While I don’t see “the Seventh Sign” as a Horror movie, I can understand why it is lumped into that category.
“The Seventh Sign” is a film from 1988 starring Demi Moore and Jurgen Prochnow. It is a strange film concerning Christ returning to Earth to judge humanity for its sins and unleash the apocalypse. The movie’s storyline stems from biblical legend and a combination of Christian and Jewish mythology. I always find these types of stories to be intriguing. Being a student of mythology in general, I think anyone willing to tell such a tale is really quite brave. There are a ton of great tales within mythology to tell, especially of the Judeo-Christian root. There are a couple of films dealing with religion that seem to wind up in the Horror section, and some are really quite good. Of those films, I would recommend “The Messenger”, “The Order”, and “Stigmata”.
The film may have an intriguing storyline, but the film lacks real acting. Michael Biehn is very stiff in the film, unlike his roles in “Terminator” and “the Abyss”. In comparison to those movies, you may not even recognize him in this film (and I don’t mean physical resemblance either)! Demi Moore is flat in this. There is nothing exciting or moving to her performance as the main character. If you want to see her really act, I would recommend her performance in “Ghost” or “St. Elmo’s Fire” instead. Jurgen Prochnow is the only one really carrying this movie. He plays Christ and he is such a striking figure with a very precise way of speaking that makes him (I think) rather perfect as a kind of creepy apocalyptic messenger. Not so much as Christ, but I can live with that. Another stand out performance is by Peter Friedman, who plays Father Lucci.
The film is engaging because you are waiting for real apocalyptic scenes, which never come. However, even without these scenes of destruction, there is this sinister air to the film. If Prochnow’s Christ is indicative of what Christ’s 2nd coming may be like, then I certainly don’t think he is the peaceful figure we all know. Prochnow portrays him as cold and uncaring really, which is unsettling once you realize who is supposed to be. The real good stuff to this film is the flashbacks. They are brief, but they retell the scene of Seraphia offering a drink of water to Christ before she is turned away by Cartaphilus – the porter of Pilate who struck Jesus and was damned to walk to Earth until Jesus’ return. This is the most appealing part of film to me. The rest of it is mediocre at best, and very strange in its ending.
Overall, “the Seventh Sign” is not a highly recommended movie for me. It has some interest for me in its flashback-storyline and in Pronchow’s performance as “David Bannon”. The rest of it is fairly weak. I cannot tell if Demi Moore’s pregnancy in the film was fake or real, but that may be the only memorable thing about this film to other people. So, while it isn’t Halloween just yet, I thought I would review this film in gearing up for that spooky holiday. Welcome to Fall!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.