US (dir. Wes Craven)
Cast: John Magaro, Denzel Whitaker, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Paulina Olszynski, Jeremy Chu, Emily Meade, Raul Esparza, Jessica Hecht, Frank Grillo, Danai Jekesai Gurira, Harris Yulin, Shareeka Epps, Elena Hurst, Dennis Boutsikaris, Felix Solis, Trevor St. John, Shannon Walsh, Alexandra Wilson, Eric Zuckerman, Alberto Vasquez, Lou Sumrall, Lyannanne Zager, Michael Bell, Courtney Stow, Kaitlyn Stow, Richard Rutkowski, Robert Clotworthy, Terri Douglas, Hannah Hodson, Nicole Brittany Patrick, Amber Efé, Christopher Place
Synopsis: In the sleepy town of Riverton, legend tells of a serial killer who swore he would return to murder the seven children born the night he died. Now, 16 years later, people are disappearing again. Has the psychopath been reincarnated as one of the seven teens, or did he survive the night he was left for dead? Only one of the kids knows the answer. Adam “Bug” Heller was supposed to die on the bloody night his father went insane. Unaware of his dad’s terrifying crimes, he has been plagued by nightmares since he was a baby. But if Bug hopes to save his friends from the monster that’s returned, he must face an evil that won’t rest…until it finishes the job it began the day he was born.
Review: This honestly has to be one of the worst movies I’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting through. If I had seen “My Soul to Take” prior to releasing my “Worst of 2010” list, it would have easily knocked “The Wolfman” out of the #1 spot for God-awful film of the year. I cannot even begin to describe how much of a train wreck this film is; it honestly should have been called “My Time to Take” because at a nearly two hour run time, you can bet I was feeling a little bit like my time had been robbed. This may actually be the first zero rating I give to a horror film here on Fresh Cuts, but at least I have finally found a film that is terrible in every way imaginable, allowing me to take a short break from finger-pointing every single problem inherent in a film ad nauseum.
The crappiness of “My Soul to Take” is absolutely staggering. This is the lowest among all the lows in Wes Craven’s canon of films, and that’s a shame to have to say considering Craven’s incredible achievements in horror films (“Scream”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, etc.). To say “My Soul to Take” is a piece of shit film is actually an understatement; it is a dumb mess of a movie rife with low quality acting and a completely incoherent, sloppily concocted plot. Couple that with a script completely laden with unnecessary exposition, and you have “My Soul to Take”, Wes Craven’s lowest low.
First off, let me just say that this is the first horror movie in a long time to leave me absolutely fucking confused. If someone were to ask me what this movie was about, hell, even if they were to ask me who the killer turns out to be in the end, they would most likely be met with a glazed-over look in my eyes and something along the lines of “uhhhhh… the…. durrr… hmmm…”, because I honestly have no idea what the fuck I just watched. There was something about a serial killer with multiple personalities, and then he dies and his soul splits up into some teenagers born the night he died… and then one of the kids thinks they have the killer’s soul… and then it turns out they actually don’t, but they kinda do anyways because they are the dead serial killer’s kid… and then there’s something about California condors eating souls… and.. yeah. Oh, and there’s also this:
Confusing and convoluted plot aside, the script fairs no better in the department of comprehension. Characters are apparently only capable of speaking in long expository segments or communicating through, what I’m assuming were intended to be, clever, snarky remarks like: “Wake up and smell the Starbucks”, “Turn on the prayer conditioning” or my personal favorite, “Were 3’s and 8’s properly administered?” What the fuck are 3’s and 8’s? What the hell are these kids talking about? I doubt even Diablo Cody would have a clue, and she’s the queen of bullshit, made-up teen languages. Christ, the dialogue in “Jennifer’s Body” made more sense than this. See this is what happens when a 70-year old Wes Craven writes dialogue for 16-year olds. Where’s Kevin Williamson when you need him? The sad thing is, it’s not just the teen language that starts to annoy, it’s the incomprehensible need for characters to spew expository dialogue throughout the ENTIRE movie in lieu of action. Yes, “Scream” had its fair share of expository dialogue, but not at the level seen in “My Soul to Take”. One character goes so far as to explain in fantastic detail how he arrived in a scene, how he was attacked, and who was involved, all before dying. And another character, a member of the “Riverton 7” (named so because he was one of the children born on the day the town’s legendary serial killer died) explains to another Riverton 7 member exactly who the Ripper is, providing not only a detailed back story, but a psychological profile and detailed historical accounts proving the Ripper is still alive. Like, you’d think a kid who is a member of the Riverton 7 would know the backstory of the town’s only notorious serial killer, especially considering he’s been participating in the town’s annual Ripper-fest for the past few years. Geez.
But sadly the script is not all that’s to blame. The lackluster performances delivered by the cast of unrecognizable young actors weren’t helping things either. And when the actors are reading their lines with about as much gusto as one would summon when reading the nutritional content off a box of cereal, one’s attention definitely falters to say the least. These “actors” gave about as much effort to this film as they would to a mediocre school play. On the plus side, this unrecognizable set of kids allows for the viewer to put everyone at equal risk of being killed off. Unfortunately for the cast of “My Soul to Take”, this film has also put all of them at an equal risk of never obtaining work in Hollywood again in the foreseeable future.
And in lieu of any sort of character development, Wes Craven simply has his teens beat the ever-loving shit out of one another when things get too heavy. These violent episodes not only detract from the story and waste time better spent developing the story, but they seem outrageously intense, particularly one scene in which Fang (the school bully/bitch) beats the shit out of her brother Bug for taking the attention away from her as a child, after which both teens take out their cumulative rage on some childhood toys (?) I’m sorry, but is this supposed to be an R-rated horror film director by genre master Wes Craven, or a goddamn after-school special about high school politics, bullying and child abuse? This really makes me think twice about “Scream 4”.
It’s beyond belief how downright terrible this film. I’ve even heard that the post-conversion 3D was a mess, and after seeing the movie I find it difficult to fathom why 3D was even necessary in such an action-less film.