10.24.2010

My Soul To Take (2010): Better than you think



Firstly, this movie is actually pretty unique. Despite the baseless claims that Wes Craven was borrowing from his previous works, My Soul To Take has a completely different style than his other films and a storyline that resembles no other teen slasher. There was something almost refreshing about My Soul To Take, almost similar to a feeling of nostalgia as if I were returning to a long-lost form of cinema. Dramatic reminiscing aside, it's a good film with a few matters of contention here and there.  


The premise is this: the soul of a serial killer, the Riverton Ripper, enters the body of a child born on the same night of his death. Seven local kids share a birthday with the famed killer of their hometown, but which one will take the Ripper's place? Sixteen years later, the film introduces us to the Riverton Seven struggling through the cruel politics of high school, while participating in annual rituals to keep the Ripper's ghost away. The intricacies of the social environment at this high school is rather ridiculous, but it all strangely works for the movie. Building strong myth in a modern era, it was nice to see a town shrouded in some old school superstition. It's fun not to have a million conversations about how ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural elements don't exist. I appreciated a group of kids that lived in the shadow of the past and feared the unknown powers of evil. 
First sign of evil: high school hipsters surround you.

Though Wes Craven calls this his most personal film, it's all still executed in a fun, but grounded way. Hyperbolic examples of high school hierarchy and elaborate Ripper ceremonies show a lighthearted aspect of the horror genre that is seriously lacking. As stated, the film is still grounded in a dark reality. Much of the film's heavy thematics revolve around Bug, the film's lead. Suffering from some clear psychological issues and an inability to realize his masculinity, Bug has a strange aura of innocence and dangerous anger. This works so well for the film and is really what drives the suspense forward. It was a pretty bold move to make the title character so strange. And indeed, his actions become so bizarre, you'll definitely start questioning whether or not he may be taking the place of the Riverton Ripper. 

Max Thieriot's performance as Bug is exceptional. In fact, all of the teens are surprisingly good. Ironically, when the movie first began, I thought the actors would be the downside of the film. The adult performers are stiff and awkward, especially in the opening scenes. However, once the Riverton Seven are introduced, performance becomes one of the film's greatest assets. 


Bug says, "No more post-conversion."


It's not all songs of praise for My Soul To Take. The film is not scary at all. I know I'm rarely actually scared by a horror film, but I still feel a rush of anxiety during intense scenes and I still feel scared for the characters every now and then. But in My Soul To Take, I didn't ever feel those things. I did like the lead character and connected with him, but I never feared for his life. Perhaps that's because in the back of my mind I was wondering if he really was the murderer. There's still plenty of mystery and suspense to keep the film moving, but don't expect anything along the lines of Scream or Nightmare on Elm Street. Think more like Shocker...but not as silly.


My Soul To Take may not be great, but it is good and it is original. If a movie fails to scare me, then it can at least entertain me with new ideas. Craven achieves that here. Unfortunately, creative horror films like this are too often at the shallow end of the box office, while we all know what brings in bank. Give it a shot if you can still find it playing. 


P.S. I didn't bother with 3D on this one.

5 comments:

  1. Yeah, good choice - I'd probably skip the 3D on this one, too.Doesn't seem to warrant it. Will check it out when hits DVD.

    And "like SHOCKER, but not as silly"??? Shame on you, Becky. I'm telling Horace Pinker you said that. ;) hehehe

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  2. A horror movie with interesting ideas and good performances by a young cast, wow, that sounds like a horror movie I'd like to see! Im intrigued, I prefer horror movies with a brain. And I liked what you said about Craven saying this is his most personal film, I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the review!

    J.Astro: I agree that Shocker does get kind of silly at times (specially during those chanell surfing scenes) but its a fun movie anyways.

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  3. I thought MY SOUL TO TAKE was pretty shitty... but I liked it! It was enjoyable, there was always something going on, and it was almost like a throwback to 90s slashers. And, like you, I also thought the guy who played Bug did a good job. In terms of mainstream horror, to me, this is comparable to JENNIFER'S BODY - it's not a movie I would ever praise as being an exceptional horror film, but it has its fun moments and it's totally watchable. The 3D is worthless, however.

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  4. I almost spit out my cornflakes reading the title to this thread. Never would have expected that. Break = non-worky!! I keep getting freezes chica! Going to try the laptop later

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  5. Was on the fence about this one but the wife really wants to see it. Maybe I will check it out this weekend if it is still in our nearby cinema. The trailer looked cool enough but reading some recent reviews really has me wanting to see it soon. I would like to opt for the 3D. Wish I wagered on this opposed to PA 2.

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