I'm sad to be giving Wes' new film a meagre 6/10. I mean, 6 out of 10
isn't even that bad for a horror film but for a Wes Craven horror film
it is a terrible grade. I like Wes' films because of the fact that he
can make a simple story (psychopath killing people, voodoos and
zombies, terrorists on planes) into something complex and interesting.
With Nightmare on Elm Street he managed to prey on the fears of adults
and children as well as offering ideas into dreams and reality. In
Scream he gave his victims and killers modern sensibilities and
repeatedly asked "are movies responsible for our actions?" He shot some
beautiful scenes in Haiti for Serpent and the Rainbow and looked at the
effects of religion governing politics.
So here he is with a movie about souls and fate. The plot sees a psychopath (Abel) with split personalities loose his grip on normality and go on a killing spree, ending with him dying (or did he?). On the night that he died, 7 children were born including his own son, Adam (do you notice the religious connotations there?) who had to be cut out of his dead mother's womb. Adam (Bug) and the 6 others enjoy a ritual every year to ward of the evil spirit that they think may still want to murder them for they might just be the souls of the victims of Abel's bad seed. Now at 16, Bug is suffering black outs, nausea and migraines and people are beginning to worry that he might have inherited his father's illness. It sure doesn't help that his older sister, Leah, spreads lies about him to the school out of spite for she feels her life was ruined the night that Bug was born. On the anniversary of the Ripper's death, one of the 7 is murdered and the 6 begin to worry that their souls may be tainted.
At 96 minutes, it is a longer than usual "horror" movie. Craven fills the daylight with musings of souls and inheritance and the night with murder and bloodshed. Craven side-steps the horror clichés to an extent, allowing his characters to fall prey to inevitability rather than silly choices. It's an interesting idea - imagine you had the soul of a murderer locked inside you and you weren't at all aware. As for the victims, knowing that you were meant to die in a repeat incident wouldn't be a comforting thought now, would it? Bug is different though. He seems to be a fractured soul, the good soul of his father who is gathering the pieces of souls from the victims, keeping them from truly dying. As I've said, interesting.
However, in amongst all the philosophy and social pariah fun, there are a heap of bad points. Firstly, there doesn't seem to be that much at stake. Bug's transformation from meek and innocent to strong and in charge isn't powerful enough to really get you behind him like you would Nancy or Sidney. The deaths of the students, although it's meant to be unfair that they were singled out from birth to die aren't shocking and you never really feel that they're fighting to live. Secondly, the set pieces aren't at all remarkable and apart from the discovery of one body beside a temple which results in the only real cat and mouse scene, there's nothing to really remember or go "wow" at. Horror needs location, it's integral to the feel. Fred Krueger's boiler room in dreamland; the town in Haiti; Stu's farmhouse with Hallowe'en playing on the telly; all were integral to the films. Finally, the movie is a bit confusing. The ideas are never fully explored, leaving audiences entirely at a loss to understand if it's a by the numbers slasher or something deeper. Bug's unique skill is barely hinted at(even if there are a lot of scenes involving him mimicking his friends) and it makes it hard to understand just what he's on about during his confrontation with the ripper. Oh, and the Asian dude gets it first.
But thankfully, Craven injects his film with his own unique ways. On scene involving a bird costume in a classroom is creepier than you'd expect thanks to Craven's expert directing skills. He's assembled a talented cast of young (YOUNG) actors. Brittany, Fang, Alex and Bug are well crafted characters who are played believably. The supporting cast of teens do well with their very limited dialogue and characters. He also delivers us a horrific bad guy who grunts more than Leatherface and murders just as violently. Some crackling dialogue between brother and sister and foster mother gives it the feeling of being more than just a horror movie (which is what you expect from Craven) and a lot of irreverent high school jinx give us some laughs before the carnage ensues.
Overall, not a bad movie but certainly a mediocre Craven one.
My Soul to Take
Action / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
My Soul to Take
Action / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
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 (Max Thieriot) was supposed to die on the last night the Riverton Ripper wrecked havoc on that terrifying night. Unaware of terrifying crimes being committed to the seven children, he has been plagued by nightmares of their murders while not aware if they hold true or if he is simply imagining the images that haunt him. 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.
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October 08, 2012 at 01:26 PM