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My Soul to Take (2010)

  Tags: 25/8, 258, 3d, Denzel Whitaker, Emily Meade, John Magaro, Max Thierot, My Soul to Take, Nick Lashaway, Paulina Olszynski, Raul Esparza, Rogue Pictures, Shareeka Epps, Wes Craven

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Wes Craven
107 minutes
Max Thierot, Denzel Whitaker, Shareeka Epps, Emily Meade, Nick Lashaway, John Magaro, Paulina Olszynski, Raul Esparza

Truly one of the most infuriating movie going experiences for me last year was when I first went to watch Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take.  So infuriating, in fact, that I didn’t even bother to write a review of it at the time as I felt I needed to let it settle in.  Well, low and behold, it’s already out on video so now seems like as good a time as any.  There are people who will tell you that Wes’ first original film from his own script in over a decade is the epitome of puke re-eaten, shat out, and pissed on.  And, to be honest, I really wish that was the case.

When it comes down to it, My Soul to Take is a muddled mess of a film that has bright spots which give you glimpses into what could have been something special.  The plot, filled with potential, follows seven teens who were all born on the same night that the town’s infamous murderer, The Riverton Ripper, was finally killed.  The Riverton Seven are now being stalked and taken out one by one with someone using the Ripper’s old M.O.  Did the Ripper actually survive or did his soul get passed onto one of the Seven?

For the first act, despite some questionable choices in the opening, I was completely on this film’s side.  The premise was interesting and the teen actors (played by kids who actually look like teens) were more than tolerable and, in some scenes, truly impressive.  The problems really began when the killings started.  Originally, you never saw the Ripper murdering the kids.  Then Rogue decided they wanted a movie more in vein of Scream and ordered reshoots that basically turned the film into a paint by numbers ‘who-done-it’ slasher.  I’ve read the shooting script for the movie and, while still far from a masterpiece, it was at least comprehensible.

In its current form, the movie is an incoherent casserole of ideas.  As it progresses, the once promising plot grows to an astronomical size and makes little to no sense.  And, my God, THAT ENDING!!!!!  Who the eff over at Rogue and Relativity watched that reshot ending and thought it was suitable for public consumption?  Instead of letting the mystery naturally unravel throughout the grand finale, we’re treated to endless explanation dialogue that attempts to make sense of the mess that has accumulated.  SPOILER ALERT: When the blind kid is found in the closet and regaling the main character of every specific detail of how he climbed the house into the bedroom window and fought the Ripper, one really must ask themselves; How in the holy hell is he able to describe all that’s happening if he’s blind!

The blind kid is one of few of the seven who are entirely too underdeveloped.  The main character, Bug, his sister, Fang, and a few of the others had interesting, well thought out personalities, which just made the stock characters seem even more out of place.  The scenes that do work are the reasons why Craven has made a name for himself as a director.  Bug and Fang’s confrontation about their father’s past is intensely directed and acted, becoming the most memorable moment.  Max Theiriot delivered in his performance of Bug, which is evident in the scenes in which he starts to take on the personality traits of the other kids (another plot point that clumsily trips over itself by the time the credits role).

My Soul to Take is without a doubt one of the most frustrating movies I’ve ever sat through.  Starting off with a lot of interesting and original ideas, it becomes bogged down by an always escalating plot that crashes and burns into one of the most asinine, maddening finales this side of  War of the Worlds.   I wanted to like this, and at a few moments I truly did, however the strong acting from the young cast and glimpses of classic Craven direction are just not enough to save the film as a whole.

Posted on February 11, 2011 - 2:55pm | Johnny D