The Riveting Serial Killer Thriller On Streaming That Will Leave You Speechless

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Updated


Thriller fans and horror fanatics–saints and sinners alike–rejoice: Se7en is streaming on Hulu. Starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and Gwyneth Paltrow, this iconic David Fincher-directed gem is as haunting as it is masterful, delivering a spine-chilling narrative paired with unforgettable performance. Few films can rival its intensity, grittiness, originality, and profoundly unsettling atmosphere. In the vast expanse of crime thrillers available to binge, Fincher’s dark beauty is indeed a safe bet. 

The seminal serial killer thriller Se7en, starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, is now streaming on Hulu.

Released originally in 1995, Se7en’s intricate storytelling pushes you to the furthest reaches of your comfort zone. The story concerns two detectives: a veteran, Somerset (played perfectly by Freeman and named—fans might like to know—after screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker’s favorite author, Somerset Maugham), mere weeks from retirement.

Opposite Somerset is a young, green, over-eager new hire (Mills, charmingly and deftly portrayed by Pitt). Both find themselves mired in a grim–to put it mildly–investigation surrounding a serial killer. 

The killer’s modus operandi? 

High-concept murders, each inspired by the biblical Seven Deadly Sins–Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Pride, and Lust (macabre version of the Seven Dwarves, if you will). The detective-duo navigates Se7en’s increasingly disheartening labyrinth, culminating in terrifying despair, all while the killings escalate in brutality and complexity. 

The film’s nuanced and tasteful character development, merged with a backdrop of a suspenseful, bone-chilling plot, makes it a masterwork. Paltrow’s performance, for example, as Tracy Mills, Brad Pitt’s/Mills’s pregnant wife, is sympathetic, believable, and profoundly, achingly human. Especially so steeped in the oppressive atmosphere of doom pervading the entire film. All of which is emphasized by the heavily thematic, Biblical material. 

Before filming Se7en, Fincher was known for music videos and one somewhat unsuccessful film, Alien 3.

Unflinchingly, Se7en leads viewers to the intersection of moral quandaries and existential dread; it is hard to look away. The cast and their performances certainly deserve part of the credit. Pitt’s dynamic brashness starkly contrasts Freeman’s somber, reserved, world-weary demeanor, resulting in a compelling, father-son, mentor-mentee relationship enriching the narrative. 

And then there’s Kevin Spacey. 

Kevin Spacey in Se7en

Oh, Kevin Spacey. 

He might appear late in the movie, but his subtle, icy performance is a perfect study of precision malevolence. For better or worse, his acting clinic here is nigh impossible to forget.

Before filming Se7en, Fincher was known for music videos and one somewhat unsuccessful film, Alien 3. Although reluctant to make another feature, Walker’s script drew him in. “I found myself getting more and more trapped in this kind of evil,” Fincher remembered, “and even though I felt uncomfortable about being there, I had to keep going.”

Filmed almost entirely in downtown Los Angeles, the thriller’s shoot was plagued by near-constant rain. This, however, proved beneficial–the downpour contributed an aspect of inescapable claustrophobia to Se7en, the visual misery harkening to the internal grimness of the characters and their world. 

Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in Se7en

The film’s box office performance reflected its artistic prowess, as it grossed over $326 million globally despite its relatively modest budget of $33 million. Moreover, its slow burn effect meant it evolved into a veritable cultural phenomenon over the years, cemented by its psychological depth and layered, engaging storyline. With a plot so eerily gripping and performances so heartbreakingly riveting, it is a small wonder Se7en earned and enjoyed an enduring audience.

“I found myself getting more and more trapped in this kind of evil, and even though I felt uncomfortable about being there, I had to keep going.”

David Fincher on directing Se7en

The film’s critical acclaim unsurprisingly mirrored its commercial success. Today, it holds an 81 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where critics celebrate its writing, direction, performances, and cinematography.

Although Fincher’s thriller classic was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing, its outsized impact has stretched far beyond formal recognitions. Often lauded in discussions about films venturing into the darker aspects of humanity, Se7en remains squarely synonymous with “must-see” thrillers. 

So, head to Hulu after a streaming title offering more than a mere, run-of-the-mill thriller experience–a film wading boldly and bravely into the murky waters of the human psyche. Perhaps, full disclosure, it’s prudent to leave the lights on when logging into Hulu and cueing up Se7enRegardless, lights on or off, prepare yourself for a film exploring the complexities of morality, the eternal struggle between good and evil, and the limitations of justice–a thriller and chiller for the ages.