Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: My Soul to Take

Plot: Sixteen years ago, the town of Riverton was haunted by a sadistic killer with multiple personalities known as the “Riverton Ripper.” Eventually, the cops tracked him down and sort of killed him maybe? See, when they found him, he’d already stabbed himself a bunch of times, then they shot him a lot, then they put him in an ambulance but the ambulance crashed and then it exploded. But despite all that, the mystery remains: Is the Riverton Ripper dead?? I’d frigging hope so, otherwise the guy’s real name must be Clarke Kent. Anyway, on the night he may or may not have died, seven kids were born. Legend has it each kid got one of the Ripper’s personalities. Flash to the present day, the kids are all obnoxious and in several cases, really disgusting, borderline evil teens. Shockingly, someone starts offing the kids one by one. Is the Ripper back? Or is one of the kids doing the killing? Or is it someone … else? Spoooooky!

Thoughts: I’ve watched a lot of movies for this blog, and I’m not lying when I say almost all of them have been pretty poorly written. I mean, for god sakes Tommy Wiseau wrote one of them and I’m almost positive he’s insane.
                And yet, I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that made less sense than “My Soul to Take.”
                The biggest problem is Wes Craven. I mean, he wrote, directed and produced it so yeah, this is clearly his fault. I feel confident saying that this is the worst piece of crap he’s ever attached his name to and this man has attached his name to lots of junk over the years. 

Everything sucks. I'm not sure about the acting, I think it mostly might be Craven's horrible writing, but it's still not a great cast.

                Craven can’t figure out what kind of movie he wants “My Soul to Take” to be. Is it a slasher? Or a psychological thriller? Supernatural something or other? It’s got elements of all three sort of jumbled together into one big nasty stew.
                In the plot summary I mentioned each of the seven kids got one of the Ripper’s many personalities. Of course, one of those personalities is a psychotic killer, so we can assume one of the kids is a killer (or is the Ripper still alive???). That’s one. The Ripper also had a personality that was very artistic, and we learn one of the kids is awesome at designing costumes. That’s two.
                Other than those two examples, Craven completely ignores this plot thread. And the artistic one I had to piece together for myself while I was brushing my teeth this morning so for all I know that wasn’t even intentional.
                There’s also a lot of spiritual hooey about condors and how they eat the dead and supposedly absorb the souls of their meals. Turns out, one of the kids must be part condor because he has this power also. I mean, he doesn’t eat people, but I guess when people die nearby, he can absorb their essence. I uh… guess. I’m flying without a net here because none of this gets explained very clearly. It’s all in the movie, but Craven doesn’t seem that interested.
                Look, let’s forget about all that and just focus on the only thing Wes cares at all about: teenagers and their stupid f’n problems and relationships. This is his wheelhouse.
                We spend ample time finding out which girls our main character Bug (Max Theriot) wants to date, and we get to see him in class and presenting a project for Biology class, and him hanging out with his best friend, dealing with bullies. All this time wasted on trivial issues may have been better served trying to make sense of the rest of the plot maybe? No of course not! Kid problems!!
                Also, “My Soul to Take” does something unforgivable in my book. In the movie, the kids are constantly shown wandering around their high school, sitting in courtyards and things but are almost never in class. This is not how any high school works. If you don’t want to show kids sitting bored in class, make it the weekend or after 3:30. No public high school on the planet in the year 2005 just lets students roam freely for hours at a time.
                Somewhere around the third act the movie decides it’s a slasher again and so Craven grabs his other security blanket: talky endings. He actually does the “Scream” ending again. You know, the one where the previously ruthlessly efficient killer can’t stop talking about his/her grand plans and suddenly forgets how to kill things? Wes you lazy basterd. You (and Kevin Williamson) used the same frigging ending in four “Scream” movies and a werewolf movie, then you used it by yourself in “Red Eye,” and now this? Are you serious?
                I can’t even. I don’t know. The story is such a disaster, the directing is a mess. The opening sequence is an absolute joke well before the ambulance randomly explodes. I’m not even sure how bad the acting is because the material the actors are given is such a cluster f, it’s not super fair to judge the kids.               
                Still, I’ll assume it wasn’t great. Either way, the characters are all horrible clichés. The psycho with the abusive dad, the other psycho with the killer dad, the cute blonde, the rapey jock, the religious freak. Don’t care about any of you. 

Worst of the Worst

                At one point the killer says: “F you and f your unborn baby.” True story.
                I guess the real worst scene though is the opening. It’s full of so many quick cuts and fakeouts that it’s impossible to follow. Cops make insane decisions like embracing seemingly dead serial killers. And the frigging ambulance blows up. Perfect storm of craziness.

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