Title: The Seventh Sign (1988)
Director: Carl Schultz
Cast: Demi Moore, Michael Biehn, Jurgen Prochnow
The Seventh Sign is one of these movies that takes elements from Christian mythology and brings them to cinematic life. In this way, The Seventh Sign is similar to films like The Exorcist (1973) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968) because they are films that play with people’s fears of the afterlife, of ghosts and demons and the supernatural. Also, these types of films deal with the biggest fear of all for God fearing Christians, the Antichrist and Satan himself! The interesting thing about religious horror films such as The Seventh Sign is that they bring to life things that Christians can only day dream about. For example a Christian might pass their whole lives waiting for the proverbial ‘Day of Judgment’ to come, but films like The Seventh Sign bring that biblical day of apocalypse to life. I’m sure that for a Christian, this kind of film will have a special edge to it, that an unbeliever (such as myself) simply won’t find. To me it’s just a regular old horror movie dealing with the supernatural, and as such, I have fun with it. But scare me it doesn’t. Still, I’m sure a lot of people would be spooked out by this one. This is the kind of film that sinks itself deep into biblical lore; it goes deep into prophecies and portents that foretell all about the end of the world. Those of you not familiar with bible prophecies might get a little lost within the Christian mumbo-jumbo, but in all honesty, the premise and plot aren’t that difficult to understand.
Basically, what we have here is the idea that God is ready to bring forth the end of the world. He has passed judgment on humanity, and the verdict says humanity has been very, very bad. So the sings of the end of the world are starting to show up all over the world. Every living thing in the sea is dying, it’s raining hail, earthquakes are happening left and right, and the stormy winds have begun! The apocalypse is at hand! But wait, one last sign has to happen before the end of the world comes, can that sign be stopped? Can the end of the world be prevented? Will god give humanity a second chance?
Jurgen Prochnow as Jesus Christ himself
A couple of films have already played out the biblical “end of the world” scenario, one of my favorites is Alex Proya’s Knowing (2009). I liked that one because it portrayed the end of the world as something that is scientific in nature, but that it can be perceived by Christians as something that’s fulfilling bible prophecy. With that film, the end of the world can be divine in nature; or the other way around, depends on what you believe. That one didn’t lean toward one side or the other. Films like The Seventh Seal adhere strictly to the Catholics interpretation of the bible, same as The Exorcist. Other films that deal with the fulfillment of bible prophecies include: The Reaping (2007), Legion (2010), The Omen Franchise, Prince of Darkness (1987), The Prophecy Franchise and Stigmata (1999), just to mention a few. The Seventh Sign is a pretty cool one among these because it brings us so close to the whole shit house going up in flames. I mean, Knowing is the most destructive of all these pictures, that one actually brings forth ‘the end of the world’ but The Seventh Sign comes pretty close to annihilating all of humanity as well. On this film we actually get seconds away from the end of it all.
"Would you die for him?"
Demi Moore plays the role of Abby Quinn, a pregnant woman who holds the fate of the world within her womb. The film goes for a Rosemary’s Baby type of vibe because at one point the film becomes all about Abby Quinn protecting her baby from a group of people who want it. And we get the idea that maybe they want the baby to sacrifice it or something? Or is their some other motive? So for a while the film goes on that vibe. Then things turn really apocalyptic when we learn that Jurgen Prochnow’s character is actually Jesus Christ himself! Though he goes by the alias of ‘David Bannon’, he is actually The King of Kings whose second coming, as it turns out in this film, was to take place in 1988. So we even get the second coming of Christ on this picture! I get the word play on his alias; ‘David Bannon’ as in ‘Banning’ humanity from this world for all eternity. He has come to judge humanity, and he doesn’t find anything he likes in it. But wait, is their a glimmer of hope with this young lady called Abby Quinn?
The best part about these types of films is seeing the prophecies coming true. According to the bible, the signs that the Day of Judgment is at hand are: the moon turning blood red, the fish in the sea dying, water turning into blood, earthquakes, hail…and strange things happening in general, all of which we see happen in this film. There is a constant build up through out the film because we know that all these signs build up to the titular “seventh sign”, and then the end of the world is supposed to happen once that seventh sign shows up. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to watch the world end on film, from the safety of your couch? Call me crazy, but I always look forward to it! One question was left unanswered and I’m sure it’s something to do with bible lore that I’m not getting, but Jesus goes around the film opening these letters and breaking these seals on them. These letters each speak of the prophecy that is being fulfilled, and I know that the bible says that when these seals are broken, the end of the world is at hand, but exactly what happens when these letters are opened that brings forth the end of the world? I don’t know.
The basic idea of this film goes a bit against what the bible says about the end of the world. Sure it plays with the idea and it uses the bible and catholic mysticism to back its story up, but at other times it goes clearly against what the bible says. I don’t blame the writers of the film for getting a couple of things mixed up; after all, the bible is filled with contradictions and it’s at times a jumbled mess of ideas. But for example, in The Seventh Sign a woman can determine if the end of the world is going to happen or not. The way I see it, if God wants to bring forth the end of the world, I doubt that a mere human would have the power to stop him. The guy is supposed to be all powerful, he can do whatever the hell he wants. Also, according to the bible when the Day of Judgment comes, it will come like “a thief in the night”, and no one will be expecting it because according to the bible no one knows when the day of reckoning will come. Not the angels, not us humans, and not even Jesus himself knows, only God. So the whole premise of this movie goes against what the bible teaches because on this film, quite a few people know when the end is coming. But whatever, as a religious horror film it works wonders, especially if you’re into the bible and its teachings.
Rating: 3 out of 5