Some of my filmic guilty pleasures are rubbish fantasy films like Krull, and Hawk The Slayer. They, as well as Sunday afternoon television such as Xena: Warrior Princess, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, enthralled me growing up, despite their undeniable naff factor. My fondness for such garbage meant I had higher hopes than most when it came to Seventh Son, an adaptation of the YA novel, The Spook’s Apprentice; hopes that were shattered into tiny little pieces, only ten minutes into the film.
Jeff Bridges plays Master Gregory, a hunter of witches and other creatures of darkness. When his scorned ex-lover – who just so happens to be the most powerful witch of all – escapes her prison with the coming of a blood moon, Gregory has to train a new apprentice; the seventh son of the seventh son, named Tom (?!). Gregory, Tom and Tusk – an ugly and irritating Chewbacca-type sidekick – have a week to go up a mountain and stop the evil witch, who has amassed an army of various racist stereotypes, or ‘assassins’ to help rule the world.
Just like Julianne Moore’s make up by the end of the film, Seventh Son is a right mess. Somewhere within it there’s an idea that works; set in a world where witches, ghouls and shape-shifting monsters plague cities and villages. What baffles me is how, with an idea like that, Seventh Son is so boring. Flashes of cool, like giant bears and dragons, are quickly followed up with scenes of drab dialogue, usually involving some kind of ancient prophecy. It gets so dull, that I just wanted them to hurry up and get to the mountain; not because I was excited for a big final battle, but because I really wanted to go home.
You have to wonder if it was always this way, with such a stellar cast attached. Jeff Bridges inaudibly mumbles throughout, as if he’s so embarrassed by the dialogue, that he can’t even bear to articulate it. Julianne Moore, to be fair, does the best she can with such a poorly written character, who claims to be a powerful woman, yet succumbs to the stereotypical portrayal of women in Hollywood. Not even Moore can save the film from its own tedium though. Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander and Kit Harrington round out the cast, offering nothing other than their envious youthful good looks.
Despite ending with a wink towards a sequel, I can’t see that happening anytime soon. Seventh Son has poor special effects, even worse performances, and a sub-par script which seems made up of go-to phrases like “it’s your destiny”, as well as my personal favourite, “fucking witches”. I’d hoped that Seventh Son would have been a good-shit-film, but it’s unfortunately just a shit-shit-film.
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