Thrillers are certainly not known as the most highbrow genre of movies, but there have always been a select few flicks that are just so good that they completely transcend the genre's stereotypes. And David Fincher's legendary serial killer film Se7en is clearly one of those movies.
Se7en is the tale of two detectives who are investigating a serial murderer who is drawing inspiration for his killings from the seven deadly sins. And boy, do his ideas for murder get creative and ugly. In a very interesting and shocking turn of events, it appears that his most creative and inspired plan for murder is the one that results in his own death. Se7en is a creative and bold film with an ending so shocking that it still hasn't lost its luster. But like any movie that is this thought out and detailed, there are dozens of little Easter eggs and tidbits that the average audience member would never notice. Here are 10
10 Brad Pitt's Real Life Injury
In the back half of Se7en, Detective Mills injures his arm pretty badly after taking a brutal fall in his pursuit of John Doe, and he's seen sporting a pretty gnarly cast on his arm for the rest of the film.
But actor Brad Pitt actually did injure himself during filming, his arm wound up going through the windshield of a car while they were filming a scene, and the damage done to his arm was bad enough that the wound had to be written into the rest of the film. However Mills getting hurt during the chase scene was actually a part of the script already, so it sort of worked out.
9 Real-Life Murder References
During their pursuit of John Doe, it's natural that Detective Mills and Detective Somerset brainstormed what exactly the motives behind these crimes could be. And when Mills is throwing out suggestions as to what reasons serial killers often give to excuse their crimes he suggests both "Jodie Foster told me to do it" and "my dog told me to do it."
But in real life, John Hinckley Jr. shot (but didn't kill) President Ronald Reagan and said that he did it because of his obsession with Jodie Foster. And David Berkowitz, better known as the Son of Sam, said that a possessed dog told him to commit his crimes.
8 Some Hilarious Bylines
At one point in the film, there is a close-up shot of a newspaper that is detailing the horrific crimes that John Doe has been committing. And the intention behind the particular shot is clear, however, there are some pretty hilarious Easter eggs that many viewers probably didn't notice on the first watch. Namely, the other headlines on the paper.
Some of the colorful headlines that grace the page include "Housekeeper Held Hostage By Child's Possessed Gerbil Three Days of Terror" as well as "Neighbors Beagle scares teen cures 8-year bout with hiccups." So I guess it was a really wild time for the city.
7 Seven Minute Countdown
In case the title of the film and the entire plot didn't get the point across, the number seven has a lot of significance within the movie. And in honor of the number seven, David Fincher buried a little tidbit in the movie exactly seven minutes before the movie is about to end.
At that particular moment, the film is reaching its climatic and horrific end, and there is a single frame of Gwyneth Paltrow's face that appears on screen at the very second that begins the seven-minute countdown to the end in a little homage to the brutal realization of what exactly is in the box.
6 The Film's Mysterious Locale
Just based on the appearance and overall vibe of the movie, most of the audience members have typically assumed that the film is set in New York City. However, the movie actually never directly states where it's taking place, and it would seem that the filmmakers went out of their way to keep that ambiguity alive since none of the props give any concrete evidence either.
The closest that the film gets to any location specificity is a visible ad for New York pizza, which still isn't very solid information since New York pizza can be found literally anywhere. The writer of the film did live in New York at the time that he was writing it, though.
5 The Kevin Spacey Surprise
Although Kevin Spacey is obviously the biggest name actor to appear in the film behind Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, his presence in the film was a total surprise. Initially, he was set to receive near to top billing at the start of the film, but the cast and crew decided that the revelation of John Doe would have a much bigger impact if the audience had no idea that it was coming, and if Spacey's name appeared in the beginning credits, then the audience would have been waiting for him to show up.
And apparently Spacey was pleased with the decision since it meant he didn't have to do any press for the film.
4 The Real Horror Movie Moment
Directors have been using their abilities to shock and scare their actors in real life in order to get a more convincing performance out of them pretty much since the beginning of horror films. And while Se7en is actually relatively low on the typical scale of horror movie jump scares, there is one particular moment where he decided to employ this filmmaking technique to make the shocking moment even more effective.
When they were filming the scene where the police discover the "sloth" victim, the members of the SWAT team weren't told that the victim was supposed to still be alive, so their reaction when he starts moving is real.
3 The Death That Almost Wasn't
Se7en is a legendary horror film for a whole lot of reasons, but the most memorable aspect of the film in most people's minds is obviously the whole "what's in the box" moment. However, the film studio was initially very strongly against this plot twist, as they thought it was far too dark for mainstream audiences to enjoy.
Everyone working on the film felt equally as strongly about keeping the ending the way it was though, so much so that Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and David Fincher all said that they wouldn't do the film if the script was changed.
2 John Doe's Surprise Visit
The big reveal of Kevin Spacey being John Doe and the actual serial killer is saved up until very near to the end of the film, however, it's not the first time that Spacey/John Doe makes his appearance in the film. After Mills and Somerset discover the "sloth" victim they're accosted in a stairwell by a photographer.
Mills gets into a brief altercation with the man, who is actually John Doe in disguise. It's pretty much impossible to see his face unless you pause the movie at just the right moment, but it is John Doe wearing what looks like a wig and a pair of glasses.
1 The Serial Killer Without Killings
Se7en may be one of the most gruesome horror movies ever made, and John Doe may be one of the most creative and disturbing serial killers in film history, but the on-screen deaths in the movie are actually shockingly few. The main killer in the movie is actually never shown killing any of his victims, and the only on-screen death in the whole film is when Detective Mills kills John Doe in the very end.
All of the other deaths are just shown after the murders have already occurred, but even the aftermath is more than grisly enough to satisfy even the most seasoned horror fan.