Truth be told, I’ve never had the opportunity to write anything even remotely similar to Killer7 – the video game. Sure, I already wrote about Assassin’s Creed (which admittedly featured assassins). Sniper movies, dirty cops and dangerous narco bosses are also featured in my writing as well. But nothing similar to this.
Killer 7 is a fantastic challenge for me. Why? Because it has plenty of topics that are worth discussing. There’s the obvious assassin/killer side of the main character. There’s his mental illness as well. Terrorism is a huge aspect of Killer7. And so is the alternative version of the Earth as the main setting. So many great topics worth exploring and discussing indeed.
But for the sake of time and efficiency, I’m going to focus on the multiple personality aspect of Killer7. Moreover, that particular disorder in the video game is named „Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon”. It’s not real. However (real) and technical (albeit medical) term is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). But, more on that later.
Killer7 and depiction of Multiple Personality Disorder in films
As previously mentioned, the latest term for this mental disorder is Dissociative Identity Disorder. Or DID for a short, more efficient pronunciation. But, what Is Dissociative Identity Disorder you might ask? I might not be a specialist, but according to modern definitions, it’s a serious mental disorder. It’s characterized by the maintenance of at least two distinct and relatively enduring personality states.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DID the main symptom include “the presence of two or more distinct personality states”. There’s also the inability to recall personal information, beyond what is expected through normal forgetfulness. Around half of people with DID have fewer than 10 identities and most have fewer than 100. But, as many as 4,500 such cases have been reported so far.
However, Harman Smith, the main character in Killer7 has 7 of those. Harman has Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon. A rather bizarre supernatural psychological condition that allows him to absorb the consciousnesses and bodies of the dead. They become a part of his psyche, and he gains the ability to transform into them both mentally and physically. Which brings me to the game itself.
Killer7: What’s the game about?
Developed by Grasshopper Manufacture, Killer7 is an action-adventure video game. It’s also set in an alternate version of Earth in the early 21st century.
Killer 7 allows you to dive into a dark world of underground assassins through a tale of revenge. You get to play as Harman Smith, a man who manifests 7 deadly personalities into the real world. Also known as the Killer7. You can also control this distinct murderers’ row as they hunt down the sinister Kun Lan. Why? So they can stop his plan of world dominance, and end his organization of deadly suicide bombers known as “Heaven Smile.”
And just who are those 7 deadly personalities?
Garcian Smith, Dan Smith, Mask de Smith, Coyote Smith, Kevin Smith, Kaede Smith and Code Smith. These people were gifted killers in life. And Harman absorbed their souls through his condition after their deaths.
Dissociative Identity Disorder in movies
It’s no secret that Hollywood loves portraying this type of disorder. Whether it’s for comedic purposes like in Me Myself And Irene. Or in psychological thrillers like Psycho. Characters with split personalities, have been present in cinema for almost a century now. One of the first examples of this was the film adaptation of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Dr. Henry Jekyll and his alter ego Mr. Hyde have been poster boys for this type of disorder from the late 19th century onward. And Hollywood really has been in love with them them ever since. There are countless film adaptations of this famous book. Just a few years ago, Russel Crowe became Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Universal’s flop The Mummy. But why not name some of the great movies that have characters with Dissociative Identity Disorder? For the sake of staying true to the character(s) in Killer7, I’m going to stick to male characters in this post. Although there are plenty of great movies with female characters. Movies like Sybill and Three Faces of Eve for instance. which are really good. They’re are also worth exploring, but maybe in different posts.
I couldn’t pick just one of these M. Night Shyamalan movies. I’m sorry. Especially since both of them have more or less, the same case and the same crew. However, the 2019’s Glass is a crossover and sequel to Shyamalan’s previous films Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). And is the third and final installment in the Unbreakable trilogy. But I feel that the most important character here as Kevin Wendell Crumb. Brilliantly played by Jams McAvoy, The Horde is a fascinating character. He has 23 prominent personalities, each with something peculiar or dangerous for his captives. The peak of his disorder reaches a culmination with a 24th personality. He’s “The Beast”, he’s the most dangerous personality of them all.
Fight Club (spoilers ahead)
Fight Club bought us one of the best shocking moments in modern history. The narrator (played by Edward Norton) and Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) are, SPOILER,: the same people. A truly shocking twist, that really solidify David Fincher as a true auteur. Fight Club is known for the innovative style, shocking violence. And in the late 90’s made cult figures out of Pitt and Norton. The cultural impact of Fight Club is felt even today, and it’s one of the finest examples of split personality depiction in modern cinema. I don’t think there’s a person who’s never seen Fight Club, but if you still haven’t done that… Watch it. You will thank me later.
Fight Club made a star out of Edward Norton, but Primal Fear put him on the map. Seriously. How good is Norton in this movie? He’s incredible. Deceivingly so, Norton won an Oscar nomination for his performance in Primal Fear. But there’s no denying that this is a brilliant movie nonetheless. Who knew that one can fake Dissociative identity disorder this good? Well (spoilers, again) that’s what Norton’s character did in Primal Fear. However I’m still including this movie on the list. It’s fantastic, with great script, incredible acting and deserves a mention here. I highly recommend it.
This movie has it all. Agatha Christie’s novel as a loose inspiration for the plot. Isolated hotel as the main setting. Terrible storm and downpour to add to the nightmare-ish atmosphere. And a killer on the loose. Oh, most of the plot is told through reverse chronology structure. How cool is that? Identity is also an incredible movie with John Cusack in the lead. It’s also moody, nail-biting and thrilling from the beginning to the very end. It’s a shame that this movie isn’t better known to the general public. But true fans of John Cusack can really appreciate the clever and thrilling projects, like this one. And speaking of… Watch out for the shocking reveal at the end of Identity. It will blow your mind.
Killer7: Your picks
What are some of your favorite movies that have characters with Dissociative Identity Disorder? Is it perhaps Psycho? Or Brian De Palma’s Raising Cain? Or maybe Split is your favorite? Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know.