"My Soul to Take" Movie Review

10/09/2010 Posted by Admin

"My Soul to Take"

Movie Review

Director Wes Craven, Writer Wes Craven, Rated R, 106 minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

There are two types of Wes Craven films that pop up every few years--the kind that defines the genre’s era ("A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Scream") and the kind where he takes whatever ridiculous idea he can think of and throws it onto celluloid ("Wishmaster," "Music of the Heart").  Unfortunately, his latest movie, "My Soul to Take," falls squarely in the latter.

The film is a joyless, confusing rehash that not only calls the legendary director’s talent into question, but its lack of 3D visuals* – of which there are none – and forced 3D admission price make the only soul taken Craven’s own.

Essentially, the plot of "My Soul to Take" is a convoluted retelling of Craven’s "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Sixteen years after the supposed death of a small town’s maniacal killer, the Riverton Ripper, the seven children born on the same night awaken the spirit of the murderer, who wants revenge on them for some reason.  As if that weren’t enough, Bug (Max Thieriot), the Riverton seven’s most nerdy member, begins having visions of the other six’s murderer, thus forcing him to question his sanity, innocence and reality.  Or something.

"Soul" is just another tale of a sprit returning for revenge on a group unsuspecting teenagers, so it’s shocking how out of touch Craven is with his audience. Each character is a poor imitation of an actual teenager, filling out cartoonish stereotypes before their unceremonious exits just as their character begins to develop.

Thanks to the script Craven threw together, the actors have an uphill battle, but they do very little to ease its problems. The film boasts inconsistent and terrible performances, including shifting characterization and the worst onscreen vomiting in cinematic history. Though the characters usually are killed off before an opportunity to establish their role arises,  it would be nice to, you know, care about one of these kids before they meet their maker.

Craven seems more interested in his kill count than creating a coherent plot. The whole thing feels half-baked and underwritten, creating constant and unnecessary plot shifts that offset the characters’ motivations and the mythos of the killer. By the time Craven unveils his third act twist, its delivery is so confusing and implausible that it’s hard to tell whether the movie is winding down or heading towards another change.

Why Craven hasn’t figured out that it takes good characters for a death to resonate is absurd, especially since he’s done it before.  Here, he refuses to create even an inkling of compassion for his victims, thus leaving the emotions surrounding their subsequent murders empty at best.  What he achieves here is a strange mix between "Scream"-like action scenes and "Nightmare"-style surrealism, yet since the film never marches to its own beat, its most desperate attempts at creating a few frights are entirely ineffective.  What’s more infuriating is the obviously last-minute decision to convert the movie to 3D, which the film obviously was not directed for.

Horror films are a great vehicle for 3D technology, elevating garbage like "My Bloody Valentine 3D" to passable levels thanks to its use of the technology. On the other hand, "My Soul to Take" isn’t even at that level.  In fact, it falls the the pointless yo-yo gags in "Friday the 13th: Part 3."  At least those films used 3D to make the movie come out at the audience; here, the image is as flat as the characters and twice as frustrating.

"My Soul to Take" is one of the worst films I’ve seen this year and easily the most irritating. It’s bad enough that Wes Craven would put his name on this direct-to-DVD drivel, but to charge someone 3D prices for a film that lacks that spectacle is pretty low. In fact, it's among the cheapest scams one will experience at the movies this year.

Grade: F

*Note:  There are no 3D moments in this film.  If you are considering seeing this train wreck because, in part, you want to see it in 3D, please think about this before paying the extra cost of the ticket.

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  1. Adrian Clyde said...

    I actually really enjoyed this.

    I do agree that the 3D price-tag was a bit of a rip off, but I thought the movie was fun regardless.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the info

  3. Anonymous said...

    the movie was awesome! screw you critic!!!