Se7en: The Surprising Reason There Is So, So Much Rain In The Beloved Horror Movie

 Brad Pitt in the rain with a gun in Se7en.
Brad Pitt in the rain with a gun in Se7en.

It's a cliche, but Se7en is a movie where the setting is its own character. The unnamed city is a dark and dreary place that provides a perfect background to the macabre investigation conducted by Detectives Sommerset and Mills in the story, and the intense volume of rain featured in key sequences is a big part of the film's mood. Given the effectiveness that all the precipitation has on the tone of the beloved horror film, you'd think that it was the result of a purposeful choice by director David Fincher – but the reality is that it the terrible weather was the result of bad luck experienced by the production that also happened to be really expensive.

A new 8K IMAX version of Se7en is set to premiere this coming Friday at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles, and it was while recently speaking with the Los Angeles Times that David Fincher revealed the behind-the-scenes story about all of the rain in the film. The interviewer inquired about troubles that the movie faced during production, and the director explained that one key issue was unexpected weather. Said Fincher,

Some bad stuff happened. It was El Niño and there was an awful lot of rain. So we ended up having to make an executive decision. And I know that there are dorks out there with their YouTube channels going: Why does it have to rain? It’s because we had to put together five days of continuity shooting during El Niño.

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Apparently, the various downpour scenes in Se7en would have been shot on clear days had Mother Nature permitted it, but that didn't end up happening. As the production schedule and weather forecast clashed, the small movie opted to proceed with filming exterior sequences... but that required adding to the budget in the long run.

After it was established that it was raining in certain sequences, the movie had to keep the water coming down on days when they were shooting with clear skies.  This meant using water tanks and sprinkler systems, which was not cheap. Fincher added,

[I]t’s expensive to have giant tankers filled with water. It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. There was a lot of resistance. I was like, ‘This is New Line, isn’t it?’ But people got with the program.

As we all now know, things worked out. The rain added to the challenge of making Se7en, but it's ultimately a powerful mood enhancer – whether the protagonists are driving to a crime scene or stalking the killer John Doe through an alley.

If you now find yourself in the mood to watch Se7en and you can't make it to the TCM Classic Film Festival screening, the good news is that many options are available to you. While the 1990s classic isn't currently available on any subscription services,  you can rent or purchase it digitally from online outlets including Prime Video, Fandango At Home and Google Play. Physical media fans are still awaiting a 4K UHD release (perhaps it will come following the premiere of the new restoration?), but the film can be easily found for purchase on Blu-ray.