Forgive me if you've heard this before, but over the last decade, far too many world cinema titles have been remade or rebooted by Hollywood. Most are inferior, and exhibit nothing but a lack of ideas. That's not to say Hollywood doesn't have any. More likely, it hasn't the balls to take the financial risk. But it's not just world cinema; books and video games have been pilfered time and time again. This is why we've decided to start a new series, in which we turn the tables and envisage some of Hollywood's classic scenes remade by the best foreign filmmakers out there. And some by the worst.
We continue with Se7en (1995), originally directed by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey and Kevin Spacey in supporting roles. This time, however, Alexandre Aja, official member of the splat pack thanks to his second feature Switchblade Romance (2003), has decided to put Mirrors (2008) behind him and reinvent yet another movie (The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha clearly weren't enough) for an audience that probably thinks '90s movies were made in black and white.
We reach the final moments of the film. Thus far, Aja has altered very little, other than a title card that reads: Between 1945 and 1962 the United States conducted 331 atmospheric nuclear tests. Today, the government still denies the genetic effects caused by the radioactive fallout. He’s also decided to show every gory last detail of Doe's master plan…
In an unidentified city of near-constant rain and urban decay, the soon to be retiring Detective William R. Somerset (Freeman) is partnered with short-tempered Detective David Mills (Pitt) who recently transferred to the department. They become deeply involved in the case of a sadistic serial killer whose meticulously-planned murders correspond to the seven deadly sins: gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and envy.
After discovering the victim of ‘pride’ Somerset and Mills return to the police station to be confronted by Doe offering himself for arrest, with the blood of a model and an unidentified victim on his hands. Doe claims he will lead the two detectives to the last two bodies and confess to the crimes.
He directs the two detectives to a remote desert area far from the city; along the way, he claims that his family was a bunch of inbred mutants that never allowed him to socialize with normal children. After arriving at the location, a delivery van approaches; Somerset intercepts the driver, leaving Mills and Doe alone. The driver hands over a package he was instructed to deliver at precisely this time and location. The driver departs. Somerset opens the box…
EXT. MARSHLANDS, INDUSTRIAL ROAD -- EARLY EVENING
Somerset takes a deep breath, looks to see Mills dragging Doe. He tries to pull himself together, drawing his gun.
(Into hidden mic)
Whatever you do… don't come in here. Stay away. No matter what you hear, stay away.
(Starts towards Mills)
John Doe has the upper hand.
Somerset enters the marsh.
EXT. MARSHLANDS -- EARLY EVENING
Mills sees Somerset coming and pulls Doe so that Doe stands.
Here he comes.
What the f**k you talking about?
I want you to know, I wish I could have lived like you do.
Somerset starts running towards Mills, mud splattering. Mills leaves Doe behind, walks towards Somerset, gun down.
Throw your gun down now!
Are you listening to me, Detective Mills? I'm trying to tell you how much I admire you... and your pretty wife… Tracy.
Mills freezes, turns to Doe. Doe smiles. Somerset is close.
(To John Doe)
What you f**kin’ say?
It's disturbing how easily a member of the press can purchase information from the men in your precinct. I visited your home this morning, after you left.
EXT. MILLS HOME, GARDEN - UNNECESSARY FLASHBACK
CAMERA ZOOMS DOWN from a railway bridge into the back garden, where Tracy Mills’ big-breasted girlfriends - greased up, wearing bikinis, drinking martinis - catch some rays and mess about in the pool.
I tried to play husband. I tried to taste the life of a simple man, but it didn't work out. So, I took a souvenir.
From behind the fence, in a split second, comes a masked figure. The blonde closest barely turns as a long steely blade rises high in the air. It strikes down with force. Blood sprays the air.
Panic. Girls scramble out of the pool, off inflatables, as the blonde’s body is dumped into the once blue waters, now a deep shade of crimson. The masked figure goes to work; slicing, dicing, stomachs ripped open, heads rolling.
Tracy Mills, oblivious to the carnage, enters the kitchen to pour a glass of juice. Someone out of shot approaches from behind. She spins and the situation suddenly dawns on her. Eyes wide, terrified, she screams, dropping the juice.
EXT. MARSHLANDS - PRESENT
Mills is filled with an aching terror. He turns to look at Somerset with pleading eyes.
Because I envy your normal life it seems envy is my sin.
I saw you with the box, what was in the box?
Somerset can't hold back tears. Fury rises in Mills and he turns to level his gun at John Doe. Somerset aims his gun at Mills.
What’s in the f**kin’ box?
He just told you.
Mills steps forward, enraged.
You lie. You’re a f**kin’ liar. Shut up!
Don't do this... please...
A pause. Somerset's gun hand is trembling. The wind whips across them. The HELICOPTER can be HEARD distantly. Somerset throws his gun down.
David, listen to me... this is what the mutant freak wants. He wants you to shoot him.
Mills goes to grab John Doe by the throat and puts the gun to Doe's forehead, blind with rage. Doe is staring into Mills' eyes with wild expectation.
Become vengeance, David. Become wrath.
Doe lowers his head, waiting for execution. Mills holds the gun at Doe's head, undecided, furious. Somerset edges towards them.
She begged for her life, detective, and for the life of your baby inside her.
Mills' face fills with confusion -- then a wave of horror. Doe's eyes register shock.
Oh, he didn't know.
Give me the gun, David. If you kill him, he will win.
Mills can’t take it anymore. The situation is all too much for any man to deal with. He blinks, decision made.
Chew on this, motherfucker!
Mills takes the gun and pummels John Doe repeatedly over the head, completely obliterating the skull in gruesome close-up.
Stepping back, he fires the gun at John Doe, time and time again, until he’s out of ammo and John Doe’s head looks like Swiss cheese.
Catching his breath, Mills turns to see Somerset walking away to retrieve the box, eventually bringing it back. They stand over the lifeless and massacred John Doe. Mills conjures up enough courage to peer inside the box. He turns back at John Doe.
There’s a fish in the box.
MILLS glances back inside the box, then back at John Doe.
That’s one ugly fish. Why is there a fish in the box?
The guy was mental.
I thought it was Tracy’s head, or something.
I know. I should’ve said.
Mills turns to Somerset.
You think? Is Tracy okay?
INT. MILLS HOME, KITCHEN - UNNECESSARY FLASHBACK
The glass of juice shatters as it hits the kitchen floor. John Doe stands feet away. Tracy’s eyes are on him, unmoving.
Tracy bolts into the living room.
INT. MILLS HOME, LIVING ROOM
John Doe follows, but she has disappeared. He stands there, trying to keep a calm resolve, when…
The sound of an engine fires and Tracy appears, a sparkling glint in her eye, clutching the chainsaw. She releases the chain brake, raises the chainsaw in the air and heads straight for a surprised John Doe.
EXT. MARSHLANDS - PRESENT
Mills and Somerset are still looking at the butchered remains of John Doe.
Phew. For a moment I thought this would have an implausible conclusion.
Just then, THE PIRANHA LEAPS FROM THE BOX!
IT'S BREAKFAST TIME!!!
CUT TO END CREDITS