Seventh Son (2014)

A review by Nalini Haynes.

Seventh Son is a movie about — you guessed it — the seventh son of a seventh son. Ironically, it’s not an Eastern movie, nor does it have any pretensions of being Eastern.

A youngish knight, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) imprisons someone who, years later, escapes during the blood moon. [Mild spoiler alert] The backstory here is a bit convoluted: I’m not quite sure if Gregory two-timed dangerous witchipoo or if he loved her but inexplicably ditched her to marry his wife then experienced Fatal Attraction attention for which he retaliated. The back story was better left unexplored in my opinion as it didn’t add anything to the story… except a few minutes to the length of the movie. [Spoiler ends.]

The evil escapee is Mother Malkin, played by Julianne Moore, the actor-du-jour. She’s completely over-the-top, intentionally so in this camp fantasy. And she has some fabulous costumes. Although why she’s called Mother Malkin remains a mystery: she’s an aunt, sure, but a mother? Did I blink and miss something?

Master Gregory is a kind of knight called a “spook” who goes around killing or trapping bad supernatural people. Kit Harrington is Mr Bradley, his apprentice. You know nothing, Jon Snow. And, apparently, he still knows nothing. His part in this movie is way too short. The dragon gets him in the end.

So Master Gregory finds a replacement apprentice, Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) who has epileptic seizures and visions of the future. Mummy (played by Olivia Williams) doesn’t want to let him go but always knew he’d leave. She gives him a medallion clearly meant to protect him but he’s oblivious.

Of they go dragon-hunting.

Queue cliche master-training sequences; not enough time to train the noobish newb. Also queue magical shenanigans. And romance.

Seventh Son has a budget of some proportions to feature this cast but the visuals are odd. These days you expect a lot of SFX and backgrounds to be green-screened; however, in Seventh Son the backgrounds and the people in front of the screen have obviously different lighting conditions. One shot shows several bodies lying around after an epic battle; although the fight raged through a building and its grounds, all the bodies are in two lines (where they apparently fell) in one little area of the stage.

The plot and dialogue does not distract one from the visuals either.

“Let me give you this medallion that you won’t know will protect you.” — Mam Ward (Tom’s mom).
“Boy, you have a habit of not getting killed.” — Master Gregory.
“My stone was stolen.”  — Mother Malkin

Oh, dear, what stone would that be? Lemme guess, the stone in the amulet. So Alice steals amulet to protect Tom from murderous Mother Malkin who can now kill him… Seriously.

The dialogue tends to take itself too seriously. A more comedic take could have made this cliche of a movie hilarious; as it is, the viewer finds the comedy within. Within him or herself, more than within the movie.

Seventh Son needs a bunch of friends, preferably imbibing and heckling the movie for true enjoyment. I watched with the minion not with the Geek Girl Day peanut gallery; the latter audience would have made Seventh Son so much more enjoyable. The minion wasn’t happy when I started heckling so I had to STFU. I’m a fan of cheesy camp fantasy but this movie took itself a bit too seriously. NEEDS PEANUT GALLERY.

Rating: full starfull starEmpty starEmpty starEmpty star 2 out of 5 stars
Director: Sergey Bodrov
Starring: Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges
Other notable appearances: Kit Harrington, Olivia Williams, lots of familiar faces
Running time: 102 minutes
Watch this if you liked: Dracula Untold, Into the Woods

Seventh Son