Normally when it comes to watching films, Barney Boom will pick one - I’ll have no clue what it’s about and so it’s a surprise every time. I’m lucky as Barney is quite the film fanatic so there are lots of great films I wouldn't have necessarily heard of that I've watched because of him.Saturday night was no different. I’m a big horror fan so Barney picked the French Torture film ‘7 Days’ and neither of us had watched it before. This time I didn't even look at the cover to see what I was letting myself in for...
There are certain films that are so powerful and disturbing that they will stay with you for days. The last films that stayed with me in this way were ‘Martyrs’, ‘The Woman’ and ‘Precious’ - I had no idea that 7 Days would do the same. After I had watched it, even 2 sleeping pills could not dislodge what I had watched out of my head.
The film starts off with a rich family – wife/mother, husband/father and daughter. I think the daughter is around 8 years old. The husband is a surgeon and the wife works too. The first few minutes show the happy family together and the daughter going off to school after lunch. In the evening, the couple realise that the daughter didn't go back to school that afternoon and so a missing person’s hunt begins. This part of the film felt like it lasted about 5 minutes, it gets started very quickly. The next thing you see is the father going to meet the police in some grassland. There are 2 scenes in the film that still upset me when I think about them and this was the first one. The 8 year old daughter has been bound, raped and murdered. In most films this is well and truly left to the viewer’s imagination – not in 7 Days. We are shown the daughter’s body, lying there – bloodied and bloated and the camera pans onto her body in pretty graphic detail. I have never seen anything like this before. I imagine that it is not far off from what the police must see in real life situations like this. The scene is brutal but heartbreaking as you watch the father fall apart, whilst cradling his dead daughter.
The paedophile responsible for the child’s rape and murder is quickly arrested and there is conclusive proof that he is responsible for this as well as 3 other murders of children. Both the mother and father are inconsolable with grief and it becomes apparent that the mother is blaming the father. The father sets off on his mission to seek revenge on the man who took his daughter away from them.
He arranges with some shady characters to gain access to the prison van that the paedophile will be transported from court to the prison in and cleverly kidnaps him. The plan is to hold this guy for 7 days... He is held in a chamber, tied to a hospital bed and now the father has free reign to so whatever he wants to the monster who took his daughter away from him. The father is a well respected surgeon who has access to drugs and surgical instruments. The torture scenes are quite graphic but there’s nothing I haven’t seen before and to be honest, the force of the film comes from the thought provoking situation – the man being tortured definitely raped and murdered his 8 year old daughter. What would you do in his situation if it was your daughter and you had her killer tied up? Does the father have the right to do what he’s doing? Do the actions of the father make him as bad as the paedophile? Instantly my reaction was – yes, the father should torture this guy and do whatever he needs to do. This guy deserves everything he gets. If that was to happen to my kid then I’d want to kill him, very slowly so that he could feel what my child went through but as the film goes on – you see the father is slowly falling apart and the revenge that he thought would bring him some kind of satisfaction is not enough. It’s not bringing his daughter back. This is an intelligent man who knows morally what he is doing is wrong.
**SPOILER ALERT. Do not read on if you do not want the plot or potential ending of the film to be revealed**
My only criticism of the story would be about a scene where the father kidnaps the mother of another victim, who was also killed. The kidnapping and torturing of the paedophile becomes national news and this mother speaks out and says the father should accept that his daughter has gone, he should deal with his grief and move on like she has and let the police deal with the criminal. After he kidnaps her, she makes him see that he’s becoming a monster himself by doing what he’s doing. I just felt that this part of the story – although necessary – was somewhat unbelievable. The whole story is portrayed so well that reality is suspended – the kidnapping and torturing don’t seem unrealistic at all cause the father’s pain is so real and it draws on the human emotions of anger and the need for revenge but this part of the film just didn't sit right with me. However, the next part of the film completely broke my heart. The father knows that this is it. The pain inflicted on the paedophile isn't bringing the father any peace - he is exhausted and completely broken. It’s Day 7 and it’s the day his daughter would have turned 9 years old. He imagines that she is there with him. She’s wearing the clothes she had on the day she was killed. They’re still blood soaked and dirty and she has marks all over her. He bathes her and wipes the dirt off and hugs her one last time and says goodbye. I don’t have kids but I could barely keep it together watching this scene and it got me thinking again – how does anyone deal with this situation? I’d been with my best friend’s daughter all day and the thought of her being taken away in such a horrific way was unbearable to think about, yet this film forced me to think about it...
If you haven’t seen 7 Days then I highly recommend it – Barney’s criticism was there was a complete lack of suspense throughout the film but to me, it didn't need suspense. The gore didn't matter, the ending didn't matter, whether the paedophile died didn't matter – it was the portrayal of the grief and pain that the father felt after losing his daughter in such a horrific way that had me hooked.