My Soul to Take Reviews
Director: Wes Craven
Summary: Some 15 years after the presumed death of a vicious serial killer, children whose birthdays match his supposed "death day" start to disappear. But whether the killer -- or his tortured soul -- is responsible remains to be seen. One boy (Max Thieriot) knows for sure, but his own connection to the horrific crimes is far too terrible to imagine.
My Thoughts: "An OK little teen slasher. I am sure a younger audience will enjoy this much more then an older audience. No suspense and not at all scary, but definitely bloody enough. The story isn't bad, but there are seven characters that are kinda boring and really don't get much development which makes you care even less about them being killed off. The cast is full of young fresh face's. I think I've only seen one (bug) in a movie before (I think it was 'Jumper'). Not bad acting, but nothing that will be remembered, sadly much like this movie. I LOVE Wes Craven, he is a favorite of mine, but he has done much, much, much better work. Not really bad, but the furthest from great."
I'm actually being a little generous here. I did like that there was a decent amount of bloodshed. That helped, as did the casting of two performers I kind of like. (Epps and Grey) Aside from that, this is just a giant fail all over. Here's to hoping redemption comes (in a massive way) with Scream 4.
If there is anything worse than the film's acting or story idea, its definitely the writing. Wes Craven puts together such a messy, horribly dialoged script. This has got to be Craven's worst. I'd say by a land-slide. Not just was the writing horrible, but he got of at least have came up with some creative kill scenes. All of the deaths in this movie are so dull and none of them actually grab the viewer. This isn't the least bit scary. I think he just made this to make this. I hope Wes comes out and states that he only spent three days on this script and then never did re-takes. At least then I wouldn't wonder what made him do such a terrible job with this.
Max Theriot, you may remember him from "The Pacifier", I can't think of him being in anything else, although, I'm sure he has been around since then. Well, let me say this nicely, he sucked in this. He was so terrible putting this character to life. I mean, he did have to work with a crappy script, but still, he wasn't even a little good. The same goes for everyone else in this movie. Zena Gray was bad, Denzel Whitaker....the list goes on! I might as well just end the review here because I have nothing good to say about this movie, but, I'll continue with my usual review format.
I already mentioned how this was Craven's worst so that probably goes for his direction too. I mean, he isn't a bad director but why did he have to make this in 3D? This movie being in 3D was so pointless. This isn't one of those flicks that needs to be in the 3D format. If you are still going to see this movie even after my review, then please don't spend the extra four bucks on 3D. How about this, at least do me the favor of waiting for this to enter a 3 Dollar theatre.
Well, I'll end here. Please, oh, please skip this movie. Its horribly written, acted, and directed. It has one of the worst twists ever. The twist wasn't even "twist" material. The movie has some un-creative kills for a horror story and I felt like I was watching a comedy most of the time because this was so damn silly. This movie is a major skip.
Wes Craven deserves some kind of recognition this year. Despite having to suffer through such duds as The Last Airbender, Jonah Hex, and even a remake of Craven's own horror classic A Nightmare On Elm Street, somehow, Craven has managed to write and direct the worst film of the year, which is the best thing I can say about My Soul to Take. I am not one to be caught up in the star ratings I assign to movies, but while I may give only so many movies five stars, it is definitely rarer for me to give a movie half of a star. It is not something I take joy in; really, it just makes me sad.
Attempting to summarize this ridiculously convoluted plot may be difficult, but I will attempt to try. Sixteen years ago, a serial killer, known as the Ripper, was on the loose in the town of Riverton. The Ripper turned out to be a schizophrenic psychopath who was caught (right after he killed his pregnant wife) and presumably killed on the same day that seven children were born. Jumping ahead to the present, on the day of those seven teen's birthdays, there is a legend that The Ripper's soul, or maybe even the Ripper himself, will kill those born on the day of his death, unless they all do some kind of random ritual to stop this. Unfortunately, our lead character, Bug (Max Thierot), who suffers from migraines and has horrible nightmares (guess why), was too scared to go through with the made up ritual. Seemingly, as a result, the next day consists of a series of mysterious murders, one by one, of those who were born on that day. The question is who is behind these murders? Has the Ripper come back? Has his soul? Or has Bug lost it completely?
I had to chop out so many other elements involving this story. These include the many ways the Ripper can apparently be deflected, the many subplots involving the teen characters, including a bully who takes orders from Bug's sister (???), an abusive stepfather, a super Christian girl and her meetings with the Principal's pregnant daughter, a blind kid who can sneak into houses, and Bug's apparent supernatural abilities. The story is horrendously bad and is a very poor attempt to make something more out of what could be a simple "creepy killer living under the bridge" story.
And then things got worse...
Apparently, without Scream's screenwriter, Kevin Williamson, Craven has no finger anywhere near the pulse of teen culture. The script is lousy. Characters speak in ways that only deliver either exposition (which as you can tell by these plot points, there is way to much of) or in ways that I could only think is some even grander form of irony that reflects on the ways clever scripts reflect on older scripts, which puts this one full circle and back in the land out terrible screenwriting. Here is one of the gems of dialogue presented:
Fang: Wake up and smell the Starbucks.
Helping deliver this dialogue are the many bland teenagers cast in these parts. Unlike, say Heather Langencamp and Johnny Depp from the original Nightmare on Elm Street, none of these actors standout a bit, with the exception of Bug, since he is the one person we have to follow throughout this movie. If the story was less of a mess, I might have been able to give credit to some of the work Thierot did, but as it stands, the kid just seems weirdly inconsistent. I would try to point out the comic relief character in this film, except the dialogue said made me think every character was comic relief.
Oh, and this is a horror movie by the way. Not sure if that was communicated, but this film does not really make that apparent either. Somehow, the work by Craven in the past to create films that rely on tension and suspense (including the Scream films, despite being satires on the genre) is absent here. Sadly relying on jump scares, including several uses of the ol' mirror trick, this movie could have been called My Soul to BOO! Of course, if the film wasn't so incredibly boring, these might have at least had an effect.
Finally, adding more insult to injury, Wes decided to jump on the 3D...scratch that, fake 3D band wagon, by converting this film to feature that format. It goes without saying that wearing sunglasses to a movie was once again not something that enhanced the picture for me.
This film was terrible in every way. While I can give some films more of a pass because less experienced filmmakers were behind them, people like Shyamalan and here - Wes Craven, should know better. I am not sure what will be in store for audiences when Scream 4 comes out, but if it makes fun of this movie and movies like it, that would be a good joke, a good of a joke as this film is.
Bug: Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray to the Lord, my soul to...
Me: Oh my god, again with this!?!
'Case you didn't guess, I kinda didn't like My Soul to Take. Especially not when you stack it up against, like, every other film Wes Craven (behind The Last House on the Left, The Hills have Eyes, Deadly Blessing, Swamp Thing, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Serpent and the Raibow, Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, Scream, Wishmaster and Red Eye) has ever made ever. Even more sadly, the onus is completely on him. Though the actors of the piece were relatively unknown, no one of them was terrible enough to bring down the film. Wes both wrote and directed My Soul to Take, as well as standing in the Production line.
It's an interesting if a little bizarre idea, once upon a time there was a serial killer, at the precise moment this serial killer died, 7 children were born in a local hospital. 16 years on, the kids start winding up dead, and those remaining are trying to figure out if the Riverton Ripper survived, or if his soul was somehow transferred into one of the 7, and if so, which one. To be blunt, the actual plot is even weaker than that, but it's as accurate as I can put it without spoilers.
Craven executes this very poorly, right down to angst-y, unbelievable characters and convoluted, sporadic story-telling. People have been saying that it's time for the 71 year old director to give it up, but honestly I'd hate to see one of the masters of horror go out on such a thrill-less flop.
I can, in its defence, honestly say that this movie isn't boring, which of course is the worst thing that any form of entertainment can be, what with boredom being what you are suffering from when you're not entertained and all. Though from the word go the film is utterly ridiculous, at no point in time did I find myself wanting to turn My Soul to Take off.
Though I had the good fortune of being in a country which releases all its films to DVD in 2D, I can imagine that having to go through this dark shocker in its post-conversion 3D failure in cinemas must have been Hell. The trailer was nice Mr. Craven, but I'm sad to say, you failed to deliver.