WHERE THIS EVIL HAILS FROM: Se7en (1995)
WHY THIS EVIL MADE ME FILLE THE FEAR: The duo of Buffalo Bill and Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs were the most chilling serial killers I could imagine. Until I encountered John Doe.
Written by rookie Andrew Kevin Walker, Se7en is disturbing, in part due to the stellar direction of David Fincher. Interestingly enough, the audience never sees Doe commit a crime. And in fact, his perverse methods minimize his actual acts of violence; his victims are their own destructors. As veteran detective William Sommerset (Morgan Freeman) tells his hotheaded young partner David Mills (Brad Pitt), unless John Doe is the devil himself, they will be let down because he is just a man, no matter how horrific his crimes. Thus the unbilled appearance of sardonic Kevin Spacey is perfection. His harrowing delivery of his argument against the travesty that is humanity is both compelling and disturbing. John Doe is perhaps most disturbing because in many ways, at least ideologically, he is right.
HOW THIS EVIL STILL DOES: Se7en remains one of the most impactful films I have ever seen. From the foreshadowing in the Nine Inch Nails-themed opening credits to the gloom saturated visual landscape to the heartpounding finale, it is a thriller that is genuinely scary in an intellectual way. John Doe speaks about his work like an Old Testament god, noting, “People will barely be able to comprehend it, but they won’t be able to deny it.” This villain and this performance feels the same way.