Dr. Bruno Hamel and his wife, Jasmine, have just suffered the biggest tragedy parents can go through- burying their child before themselves. Not only is their eight-year-old daughter dead, but she was brutally raped and murdered. You can imagine how heavy and disturbing this opening sequence is.
Based on the novel adaptation by Patrick Senecal (who also wrote another one of my favorite French Canadian thrillers, 5150 Rue des Ormes), 7 Days follows the devastating and disastrous aftermath of their daughter’s death. If you have seen Daddy’s Little Girl, Big Bad Wolves, or The Tortured, this plot may sound familiar. If you haven’t, let me expand on the story.
DNA evidence shows there is no doubt who the killer is, a laborer named Anthony Lemaire who has a history of sexual violence. Seeing his sick smile for the first time splashed across the headlines builds rage in Dr. Hamel that he didn’t know that he possessed. Prison would be too good for a pedophile like Anthony, so Hamel carefully calculates a plan of revenge.
Completely nude and strapped to a gurney, Anthony wakes up delirious and panicked in his soon to be torture chamber. The violence inflicted on Anthony seems strangely therapeutic for Hamel. Anthony insisted that he didn’t commit the crime and calls Hamel a “sick fuck”, which Hamel just as well may be. Hamel revels in Anthony’s tortured moans and cries, prolonging Anthony’s pain and shame. Hamel doesn’t want to kill him… just yet. He needs 7 days, culminating on his dead daughter’s birthday.
The difference between this film and the others mentioned above is the heart and emotion. It is less of a horror film than others of this genre, though the torture scenes are cringe-worthy and significant. Whipped with chains and smashed with a mallet, Anthony’s beaten and battered body becomes nearly unrecognizable by day four. The actor who plays the pedophile, Remy Girard, is exceptional in such a brave role, being completely nude and vulnerable during the entire film. But the real inner turmoil is the situation that Hamel has created for himself. Finding peace and serenity at the beginning of his revenge, Hamel begins to have second thoughts. Are all men capable of such horror in the midst of despair and pure hatred in their heart or will moral consciousness prevail? As the credits role at the end of film, no music plays, letting the emotion sink in unfettered.
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