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My Soul To Take
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The supernatural/serial killer thriller My Soul to Take marks Wes Craven's first feature as writer and director since 1994's inventive New Nightmare, and at first blush, it finds him in familiar territory. Here again, as in his iconic Nightmare on Elm Street series, his focus is a vicious murderer who appears to continue his crime spree from beyond the grave, and who concentrates his attention on a group of teens connected to his original crimes (seven of them were born on the night he died). As the seven meet a gruesome end, one boy (Max Thieriot) becomes a likely suspect for the killings--is he possessed by the spirit of the long-dead maniac, or has he picked up where "The Riverton Ripper" left off? The answer, unfortunately, is not worth the time required to piece together the clues; Craven's script is dreadfully leaden, especially in regard to dialogue, and cobbles together disparate elements from his previous works and a crazy quilt of religious tenets to produce a final product rendered suspense-free by its incoherence. The youthful cast is unremarkable, and the 3-D effects are entirely superfluous; in short, My Soul to Take is a place marker for Craven fans until the release of Scream 4. --Paul Gaita
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Nothing is as it seems and nothing is predictable until the movie itself decides to let you know who's who and what's what. This was done in a very clever and brilliant way that's rarely seen anymore.
The premise of the movie itself surrounds the Riverton seven. The Riverton 7 are 7 kids born on the same date that a killer known as the Ripper is finally caught and killed.. or was he? The kids are now teens and it's their 16th b-day. Every year the kids have this creepy, but all in good fun ceremony at the site of where the Ripper supposedly died. They also have this ceremony out of the connection between the Ripper and their births.. as they refer to theselves as the Riverton Seven.
Every one of the seven kids has their own personalities, while also each being very stereotypical. You have the jock, the popular girl, the geeks, the bible thumper, etc.. but as different as they all are, they seem to be very much connected due to having the same birthday. The relationship between 2 of the Riverton Seven who are also best friends is perfect. They're so different, but just enough alike to make you really understand why they're so close.
As killings begin, so does the puzzle. Did the Ripper ever really die? Is this a prank gone horribly wrong in an attempt to scare everyone? Is one or all of the Riverton seven responsible? Or is it none of the above? You will think you know all these answers many times throughout the movie. But everytime you think you have it pinpointed, you'll be wrong again and again.
You will literally be kept guessing until it's finally revealed FOR you. I highly recommend this movie for ppl of all movie genres.. not just horror, or paranormal, or a thrasher film. It's very well done with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat until the final scene.
Set in the fictional town of Riverton, Massachusetts, "My Soul to Take" is the story of seven teenagers, who were all born the night a serial killer known as the Riverton Ripper supposedly died. It's now sixteen years later, and members of the community are once again disappearing, just as local legend foretold. Did the Ripper survive his car accident, or does his soul now reside within one of the seven kids? In either case, who has the power to stop him? Is there any way that he can be stopped?
Craven develops his characters to the point of oddness, and yet there's something irresistibly fascinating about them. The main character, Adam Hellerman, a.k.a. Bug (Max Thieroit), freely shifts back and forth between timidity and instability, apparently as the result of his lifelong battle with mental disorders and migraine headaches. At times, he's plagued by dark premonitions and/or revelations. At other times, he can alter his voice and repeat verbatim brief passages of dialogue spoken by his peers, almost as if they were temporarily in possession of his body. Or perhaps he's temporarily in possession of them - the details are more than a little sketchy. I distinctly remember an early scene in which Bug stands in front of his best friend and mimics every single movement he makes, like a reflection in a mirror.
His best friend, named Alex (John Magaro), has strange ideas about acting like a man, most likely as a result of being raised by an abusive stepfather. Whenever he gets hit, he'll calmly say, "Thank you. That felt good." He'll then beef up his statements with a swear word or two. He and Bug collaborate on a class presentation on the California condor; as Bug snaps into a trance and rambles in a voice not quite like his own, Alex parades around in an elaborate bird costume equipped with two fluid-filled bottles, one green like vomit, the other brown like feces. This incurs the wrath of the school bully, Brandon (Nick Lashaway), known for chauvinism and other indiscretions. He wants to have sex with Brittany (Paulina Olszynski), who's involved with Bug's sister, nicknamed Fang (Emily Meade), who knows something about Bug's past and hates him for his innocence and for ruining her life. He isn't sure how innocent he actually is.
Is this making any sense at all? It seems that the more I try to describe Craven's twisted logic, the less I understand. What message is he trying to send? That new generations are deeply affected by old generations? That not having a father in your life prevents you from understanding what it is to be a man? "My Soul to Take" is a cerebral horror film, the kind that continuously hints at meaning but never gets around to providing us with any. Or maybe it's provided in such a way that an audience wouldn't recognize it. In spite of this, I found the experience oddly absorbing. It may in part have to do with Craven's dialogue, a strange mesh of potty-mouthed teenage talk and deep metaphor, especially in relation to the condor. It may also have to do with the blurring of reality and fantasy; let's just say that Bug's mental state leaves the reliability of the plot in question.
I liken the experience of watching this film to watching Richard Kelly's "The Box," a nonsensical and preposterous but somehow engaging psychological thriller that integrated science fiction with a number of impenetrable themes. "My Soul to Take" toys with the audience and toys with it well, but there will always be a part of me that wished I could have figured out was Craven was trying to say. I suspect the vast majority of horror fans will not respond to this movie, given the confusing nature of the plot, the strangeness of the characters, and its unconventional approach to the genre. That's certainly understandable. But for those who have long since grown tired of the average teen slasher film - and I definitely count myself as one of them - this movie may be a welcome change of pace, a chance to see what happens when the genre is turned on its head.
1.) Never ever harm one feather on the American Condor and 2.) we won't watch another Wes Craven film.
We enjoyed most of Wes Craven's work. We enjoyed The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left, Nightmare on Elm Street films (most of them anyhoo - a few were stinkers), Shocker (we got a giggle from the villian), People Under the Stairs, Cursed (we think it is suppose to be a comedy), the Scream movies (very funny) among others....so we are indeed fans of his work.
However, this was not up to par. It took a while to get started and quite frankly I don't understand the whole school rating system and life story subplot??? The witty banter amongst highschool students was rather lame and gave no substance to the movie. Characters: boy with abusive father, girl obsessed with religion, boy who may have multiple personality disorder who has a sister who hates him, blind boy who can climb on roofs and get around without any assistsnce, the main guy's love interest, the jock and the boring character who is there for cannon fodder. Why the father is abusive is not ever explained, the sister's dislike of her brother is a lame excuse, how does a blind boy climb trees and roofs with the stealth of a cat? Those are only a few questions unanswered...and those don't have any bearing why the killings happen???
A killer dies only to come back and possess one of the children born on the day he died...sounds like an interesting idea but being bogged down with the teenage life subplot took away from the serial killings. Also, the pacing was a bit slow and all the "visions" that point to "multiple personality disorder" are rather pointless since that angle is never pursued. Plus, what is the point of having a presentation of the American Condor? Other viewers have asked this but aside from the guy's voice being more pronounced nothing really changed. The costume was rather interesting and it was funny to have the jock spewed upon from both directions...but didn't add anything.
Also, the ending does a quick wrap up explaination and mentions an agreement made with Bug's father...however, the agreement is never explained so we never know what the agreement states.
On a side note, one viewer said the film lacked originality and I do agree. A group of kids are stalked by a masked killer carrying a knife who likes calling them and asking them questions....much like Scream but without the comedy.
The premise itself wouldn't be so bad except even for a horror film it has too many coincidences and implausible plot points. It's as if Craventook a mental vacation while directing this film forgetting everything he learned from ALL the films he's directed and many of the missteps here are what I would expect from a first time writer/director. Many of the shots are clumsy in both set up and execution and the exposition isn't handled very well either with most plot points telegraphed as if the audience had an I.Q. of 50.
The Blu-ray looks quite nice with a solid looking presentation. The problem for many people will be the fact that this is a flipper disc. Didn't Universal learn from their past mistake using dual layered, flipper discs? They weren't popular, prone to problems that occurred due to the pressing process, easier to damage and, in general, a bad format idea. I hope tha this horrible format bites the dust and soon.
I also have to wonder WHY this was shown in 3D? None of the shots take advantage of the format and it clearly was just a move to capitalize on the popularity of the format at the time.
Audio sounds fine throughout.
The special features are underwhelming as well with stars Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Emily Meade and director Wes Craven discussing the making of the film and oblivious to how bad it is. We also get about 20 minutes of deleted scenes, two alternate endings and an alternate opening for the film. None of these would have improved the film which has the premise for a solid TV episode (if not for the implausible elements which continue to build throughout the film)and a predictable whodunnit element.
"My Soul to Take" is an awful horror film lacking any thrills and, at times, it looks like it was written and directed by someone who doesn't understand the genre at all.
A serial killer suffering from dissocative personality disorder (misidentified as schizophrenia in the film which is a DIFFERENT condition)ends up killing his wife before being shot by police. He disappears after being rushed to the hospital after making a vow tha the would return to kill any children born on that night. His daughter survives.
It is suggested that, perhaps, his soul would inhabit one of the seven babies born the night he died.
16 years later someone is killing those teenagers born on that night using the MO of the Riverton Ripper (as he was called)and many of the clues suggest it could be Bug (Max Theiriot)who also appears to suffer from multiple personalities as well.