It was time for something different, so we dug through the trunk until we found “The Seventh Sign” (1988). What a fine movie: urgent, portent-heavy and a great ending. The plot has the occasional large hole, but if you watch it with the proper frame of mind you will not notice. What you will notice is Demi Moore. She was 25 when she made it — two years before “Ghost,” her other best movie. What makes “The Seventh Sign” work? Good actors, good acting and a compelling storyline that gains speed and tension as we move toward the apocalypse. The sea boils, rivers run red with blood, an Arab village in the Sinai freezes, birds drop from the sky and the earth commences to quake.
Moore, looking vulnerable yet stubborn (and beautiful), is worried about her soon-to-be-born baby. She lost her first one. And she’s worried about the strange man who just rented the apartment she and her husband had advertised.
There’s a lot of ancient Hebrew manuscript mumbo jumbo, secret code, the Book of Revelations, biblical prophecies come true and a clever overlay of supernatural events upon the everyday.
Michael Biehn is her attractive, committed husband. (Why is he in so many sci fi and supernatural movies? “Terminator,” “Aliens,” “The Abyss,” “Grind House, “Terminator 3” among others. He could have been a fine romantic lead.) Like Moore, he acts his heart out, striking the balance between macho and mushy.
Moore manages to be both fragile and fierce as she works with a young, Jewish scholar to follow the clues and uncover the mysteries that threaten not only the world … but her unborn child. Her strength also saves the movie, which gains both momentum and loose ends as it races to its poignant conclusion.
While “The Seventh Sign” is what we call a good bad movie, “The Stand” (1994) is a bad bad movie despite solid performances by Gary Sinise and Rob Lowe. But before swine flu panic abates altogether, you might want to frighten yourself with this overlong, made-for-TV movie of Stephen King’s 1970s epic in which a super flu wipes about 99 percent of the world. Full disclosure requires admitting the series won several awards, including Emmys, but we still found it slow and a tad boring.
How can you make a boring movie about the end of the world?