My Soul to Take = ½ out of 5 Stars
Bug: If something dead was evil enough, do you think it could come back to life?
Wes Craven deserves some kind of recognition this year. Despite having to suffer through such duds as The Last Airbender, Jonah Hex, and even a remake of Craven’s own horror classic A Nightmare On Elm Street, somehow, Craven has managed to write and direct the worst film of the year, which is the best thing I can say about My Soul to Take. I am not one to be caught up in the star ratings I assign to movies, but while I may give only so many movies five stars, it is definitely rarer for me to give a movie half of a star. It is not something I take joy in; really, it just makes me sad.
Attempting to summarize this ridiculously convoluted plot may be difficult, but I will attempt to try. Sixteen years ago, a serial killer, known as the Ripper, was on the loose in the town of
. The Ripper turned out to be a schizophrenic psychopath who was caught (right after he killed his pregnant wife) and presumably killed on the same day that seven children were born. Jumping ahead to the present, on the day of those seven teen’s birthdays, there is a legend that The Ripper’s soul, or maybe even the Ripper himself, will kill those born on the day of his death, unless they all do some kind of random ritual to stop this. Unfortunately, our lead character, Bug (Max Thierot), who suffers from migraines and has horrible nightmares (guess why), was too scared to go through with the made up ritual. Seemingly, as a result, the next day consists of a series of mysterious murders, one by one, of those who were born on that day. The question is who is behind these murders? Has the Ripper come back? Has his soul? Or has Bug lost it completely? Riverton
I had to chop out so many other elements involving this story. These include the many ways the Ripper can apparently be deflected, the many subplots involving the teen characters, including a bully who takes orders from Bug’s sister (???), an abusive stepfather, a super Christian girl and her meetings with the Principal’s pregnant daughter, a blind kid who can sneak into houses, and Bug’s apparent supernatural abilities. The story is horrendously bad and is a very poor attempt to make something more out of what could be a simple “creepy killer living under the bridge” story.
And then things got worse…
Apparently, without Scream’s screenwriter, Kevin Williamson, Craven has no finger anywhere near the pulse of teen culture. The script is lousy. Characters speak in ways that only deliver either exposition (which as you can tell by these plot points, there is way to much of) or in ways that I could only think is some even grander form of irony that reflects on the ways clever scripts reflect on older scripts, which puts this one full circle and back in the land out terrible screenwriting. Here is one of the gems of dialogue presented:
Fang: Wake up and smell the Starbucks.
Helping deliver this dialogue are the many bland teenagers cast in these parts. Unlike, say Heather Langencamp and Johnny Depp from the original Nightmare on Elm Street, none of these actors standout a bit, with the exception of Bug, since he is the one person we have to follow throughout this movie. If the story was less of a mess, I might have been able to give credit to some of the work Thierot did, but as it stands, the kid just seems weirdly inconsistent. I would try to point out the comic relief character in this film, except the dialogue said made me think every character was comic relief.
Oh, and this is a horror movie by the way. Not sure if that was communicated, but this film does not really make that apparent either. Somehow, the work by Craven in the past to create films that rely on tension and suspense (including the Scream films, despite being satires on the genre) is absent here. Sadly relying on jump scares, including several uses of the ol’ mirror trick, this movie could have been called My Soul to BOO! Of course, if the film wasn’t so incredibly boring, these might have at least had an effect.
Finally, adding more insult to injury, Wes decided to jump on the 3D…scratch that, fake 3D band wagon, by converting this film to feature that format. It goes without saying that wearing sunglasses to a movie was once again not something that enhanced the picture for me.
This film was terrible in every way. While I can give some films more of a pass because less experienced filmmakers were behind them, people like Shyamalan and here – Wes Craven, should know better. I am not sure what will be in store for audiences when Scream 4 comes out, but if it makes fun of this movie and movies like it, that would be a good joke, a good of a joke as this film is.
Bug: Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray to the Lord, my soul to…Me: Oh my god, again with this!?!