It’s a shame, for Lange makes it a refreshing dive into familiar waters, structuring his saga of right and wrong in a setting that looks a lot like “Training Day”. Instead of a good cop-bad cop routine, we take up a shtick between two priests opposed to the poles – one, a seasoned exorcism enthusiast, and the other, a fresh out of seminary, high-end recruit. who learns the profession from the best in the field.
Adding “The Seventh Day” to his recent string of mediocre effort like “Bloodshot” and “The Last Vermeer”, Guy Pearce plays the former with a generically sinister side. We first meet his father Peter in Baltimore in 1995, while helping an experienced priest in an extreme case of exorcism that is about to go horribly wrong. (Up-and-coming “Give Me Liberty” actor Chris Galust leaves a lasting impression as young Peter in this brief opening scene.) After the screaming boy’s body deteriorates with bruises and ignites, we went to perpetually haunted New Orleans these days. , where the elder Peter is to meet the refined young priest, Father Daniel (Vadhir Derbez, gently and memorably seizing a calm and poised facade). There is a nationwide rise in demonic possessions and despite the Vatican’s increasingly disapproving stance against exorcisms, someone has to deal with the mess. So the duo are paired up by senior church officials, in hopes that Father Daniel can deal with the wreckage of a high-profile case involving a child who had recently murdered his entire family.
The first acquaintance between the two is rather amusing, one that pits Pearce’s disheveled priest-turned-rogue appearance against Derbez’s downright appearance. The moments that follow build on that difference as the two shoot around town, literally looking for the devil in human form. Sloppy and clad in a dress-like overcoat, Peter swears regularly and wants to make sure he doesn’t waste his time with someone who is not very serious or without talent. Cleanly shaved and neatly covered in office clothes, Daniel respectfully tries to keep up. He fails his first mission to a homeless shelter, targeting an innocent man while Peter correctly identifies a lovable volunteer (Robin Bartlett, memorable ruffling in his only scene) as the possessed mortal. “Evil is intelligent and demons are unpredictable,” Peter preaches like a teacher, reminding Daniel that evil spirits hide in unexpected places to grow and multiply.
With this streak and various other clues that follow, Lange is really trying to tap into the perpetual institutional corruption within the Catholic Church, and even other organizational bodies with unparalleled power. As Daniel begins to break the ice with the aforementioned murderous child Charlie Giroux (a formidable Brady Jenness) at the facility he’s kept in, we get a glimpse of his visions of the child’s previous life with a unconscious family, as well as sexual intercourse. predator of a priest posing to help the young boy, to abuse his trust and lack of defense.