The Seventh Sign

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 2:
About Last Night... - 2.35:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:57)
Mortal Thoughts - 1.85:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:51) 
Rating m.gif (1166 bytes) Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1988 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 93:04 Minutes  Other Extras Cast & Crew Biographies
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Carl Schultz
Tristar.gif (3165 bytes)
Columbia Tristar
Starring Demi Moore
Michael Biehn
Peter Friedman
Jürgen Prochnow
Manny Jacobs
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Jack Nitzsche
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement
16x9Yes.jpg (4536 bytes)
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    When I opened up the parcel I received today and gazed upon the cover artwork for The Seventh Sign, I had no idea what to expect, because the imagery of Demi Moore on the cover, combined with the vague plot synopsis on the back made me wonder what I had let myself in for. Anyway, as the film begins, we see David Bannon (Jürgen Prochnow) wandering on what appears to be a beach in the South Pacific where one of the native children attempts to retrieve a dead fish and burns his hand in the process. This, apparently, is one of the first signs that the world is about to end. From there, we cut to Abby Quinn (Demi Moore), who is informed by some undetailed member of the medical profession that her baby is so far developing in a manner that could be called healthy, which is at some variance to her previous pregnancies. Meanwhile, her husband, Russell (Michael Biehn) is busy trying to save an intellectually disabled man by the name of Jimmy Szaragosa (John Taylor), who killed his parents for marrying when they were brother and sister, from the gas chamber. After David spends a few scenes in various Pacific-like environments, he comes to enquire about the apartment on the Quinn residence that they are leasing out. Meanwhile, Father Lucci (Peter Friedman) is gathering press reports of the mysterious goings-on that David seems to be accompanied by.

    As Abby's suspicions against David continue to grow, she turns to a young Jewish student by the name of Avi (Manny Jacobs) for helping in translating a note she finds in the apartment. From there, all hell begins to break loose, the signs point to Abby's baby having a significant part to play in the end of the world, and David's mysterious nature is revealed to the groans of the audience.

    In a nutshell, the film's premise can be summed up as follows: the seven seals have been broken, and the prophecies in the book of Revelation have begun. I have only seen one example of this sort of film done right, and this is not it. Perhaps I am being too harsh on this film, but this is at best a midday telemovie, and I doubt that Bill Collins would have very many complimentary things to say about this film, either. I think the most complimentary thing I have to say is that Michael Biehn, Demi Moore, and Jürgen Prochnow act out their characters well, and this is qualified by the fact that if you have seen one plot of this variety, you really have seen them all. For the asking price of forty dollars, I am of no other mind but to say "rental only".

Transfer Quality


    Regardless of what I think of the film itself, Columbia Tristar once again demonstrate their mastery of the DVD format by giving this film an amazing presentation. The film is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The packaging erroneously states this to be a 1.85:1 transfer, but it is most definitely a 2.35:1 transfer. The transfer is very sharp for a twelve-year-old film, and I certainly have seen films of half this age look a lot worse. The shadow detail in darker scenes such as Abby's perusal of religious texts in a local library is somewhat lacking, but I doubt that this is any specific fault of the transfer. The black patches in the transfer may not contain much in the way of detail, but they also don't contain any low-level noise.

    The colour saturation in this transfer is muted and drab, reflecting both the vintage of the film and the seemingly independent, television-oriented production. The occasional splash of bright colour occurs in several frames every so often, but simple earth tones predominate the picture for the most part.

    MPEG artefacts seemed to be absent from the picture, but there were times when some small amounts of pixelization could be seen in the background of an image, most notably at 58:49, during a quick zoom of the stained glass window behind Manny Jacobs. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some extremely mild aliasing on such things as car chrome, but this is not a particularly noticeable problem. Film artefacts were not noticed at any point in the transfer, although I am sure there must be at least one small speck of dirt somewhere on the source material.


    Accompanying a video transfer that defies its age is an audio transfer that surprised me with its relative quality. The audio transfer is presented in a choice of five languages, all of them in Dolby Digital 2.0, with surround-encoding: the original English dialogue, which happens to be the default with dubs in French, German, Italian, and Spanish provided for good measure. The dubbed soundtracks are not flagged to the player as being surround-encoded, but my amplifier states that they are definitely surround-encoded. I listened to the English soundtrack, while sampling some of Jürgen Prochnow's dialogue in German, and Demi Moore's dialogue in Spanish for good measure. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout the film, in spite of Michael Biehn's well-known tendency to cause some distortion by raising his voice just a tad too far. Audio sync was not an issue at any point in the film, although some of the dialogue had clearly been re-recorded in post production.

    The score music by Jack Nitzsche combines some orchestral themes with the sounds of men chanting, but is wholly unremarkable. In the last third of the film, it does pick up a little and provide a haunting atmosphere to such scenes as the execution, but this improvement is only kept up for a few minutes. The music at the film's climax just seems too sickly sweet, given the events that take place. I've heard worse pieces of film scoring in my lifetime, but I have also definitely heard many better ones.

    The surround channels were used intermittently to support the music and special effects, but the only time they became noticeable was during the scenes in which natural disasters hit. During the dialogue scenes, the sound field pretty much collapses into mono, with little being heard from the surrounds at all except during the scene in which Abby and David converse in front of the television set, with some mild usage of the rears filling out the newscasters. The subwoofer was occasionally called into use to take the burden off the stereo speakers that the lower end of the earthquake scenes presented, but was not used specifically at any point in the transfer. Fundamentally, this is a mono soundtrack with some mixed-in stereo elements, which lends further credence to the idea that this film was produced with television in mind.


    The packaging, as well as misspelling Carl Schultz's name by omitting the C from the surname, also mentions "Original Widescreen Presentation" and "Picture Disc" as special features. Hmmm.


    The menu is a static design that is loosely themed around the film, but is wholly unremarkable apart from being 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer - "About Last Night..." (1:57)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this two-minute trailer does little to convince me to see this film.

Theatrical Trailer - Mortal Thoughts (1:51)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this two-minute trailer also does little to convince me to see the film in question.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Biographies for director Carl Schultz, and main stars Demi Moore and Michael Biehn are presented. They are reasonably comprehensive and interesting to read the first time, but nothing too remarkable except for the manner in which they reveal such tidbits as the film Biehn made his debut in, namely Grease.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Additional Pan & Scan version against two theatrical trailers for other films I might consider buying and some interesting facts about the stars and director? I know a good place where Region 1 can put its flipper with the Pan & Scan version, let me tell you.


    The Seventh Sign is a good rental and a general time-waster, presented on a very good DVD.

    The video quality is very good for a twelve-year-old B-movie.

    The audio quality is very good for a twelve-year-old B-movie.

    The extras are very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
June 23, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer