The Seventh Victim ★★★★½

Hoop-tober! 2.0 screening - No. 04
also Night Movies noir screening - No. 32

A strange, sinister and ultimately melancholy descent into urban loneliness and despair, The Seventh Victim is really unlike any other movie from this era, even the other films in the Val Lewton cycle. Where movies like I Walked with a Zombie or Cat People were unsettling by the realization of the supernatural world invading the physical world, The Seventh Victim actually slowly removes the supernatural altogether and finds a bunch of lonely, confused people wandering around grasping for answers. Some have found safety at a religious boarding school, some in science and psychology, some in romance, still others in a Satanic cult. Answers are hard to come by and, in many ways, reality is too depressing to take.

As unsatisfying as it is, everything I have tried to write about this comes up feeling utterly flat, as nothing seems to express the heart of what is going on in this very strange movie. I immediately feel like there are depths to this that I have only scratched the surface of and mysteries worth exploring in detail. It is utterly beguiling and intriguing, offering rich rewards to many viewers (take Jez Winship, Brynn White, and Cailloux de Cinema as a start). I hope to sit down with this again before too long (as well as several other Lewtons) and see what I can make of it.

[Side note: I have to imagine this is a movie beloved by David Lynch, as there seems to be some pretty clear seeds of Mulholland Drive buried in here too, down even to the doubling of the two female leads.]