Se7en Textual Analysis

Se7en opening title sequence: 

In the opening title sequence of the movie ‘Se7en’, the genre is instantly established as the dark lighting and slow, creepy music gives away that the movie is a thriller. The purpose of this opening is to introduce the villain of the movie and to reveal his motif of murders that will be shown throughout the movie.

The director of the movie, David Fincher turned to title designer Kyle Cooper, a movie credit designer, to create sequence that set the pitch, plot and characterisation for the noir thriller. Cooper conjured up was one of the great title sequences. It was shot over two days, and took a further five weeks to cut together. It was deemed by the New York Times to be “One of the most important design innovations of the 1990s,” and has proved almost as influential as the film itself.

Personally, I really like this opening title sequence as it really creates the tense, on-edge atmosphere. A lot of insight is given on what the movie involves, such as the crime that will be later seen. I like the fast pace of the whole sequence and the music and sound effects that have been used.

Textual Analysis

All the shots in this opening title sequence are from the villain’s POV and high angles have been used to present the power and control the villain has within the movie. This makes the audience feel curious and suspenseful, especially as the villain isn’t actually shown until 40 minutes into the movie.

The editing is very fast paced and flashy which makes the viewer feel confused and disorientated. The quick flashes imitate death as if life is flashing before one’s yes.The camera is also constantly juddering to reflect the mind of a psychopath. In addition, there are a lot of close ups and extreme close ups to create an unclear view for the audience. There isn’t a lot of focus on the narrative and the typography is quite glitchy adding more disorientation and confusion.

Non diegetic sound is used throughout the whole sequence as there is slow, scratchy music with fast beats which creates a sense of thrill and tension. The speed of the music is constantly changing and the tempo is fast paced which helps create the eerie mood. There is also other uses of non diegetic sound throughout, for example, there is the repeated sound of a door creaking as well as screams. The audio used is a remix of Nine Inch Nails ‘Closer’. Towards the end of the sequence, the lyrics ‘You bring me closer to God’ can be heard, however the tone of it is quite creepy and eerie as well.

If seen closely, certain words in the sequence stand out such as: ‘God’, ‘envy’, ‘intercourse’, ‘heterosexual’, ‘transsexual’, ‘female’, ‘feminine’ and many more. However, these words only stand out if closely analysed and if they are closely analysed, the theme of the seven deadly sins can be guessed as well as the villain’s motif. This all also adds to the tense, creepy atmosphere. The low lighting and use of shadows help set a dark, eerie atmosphere as well; the setting of this opening sequence seems to be a basement or library as dirty, abused books can be seen which helps set the mood, as well as represent the characters in movie. The whole sequence has a raw, textured kind of feel to it as the viewer can clearly see a film being hand scratched with a needle to degrade the footage as well as the fact that the typography used has been hand drawn to make it seem more real and raw.


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