Review: MY SOUL TO TAKE (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Review: MY SOUL TO TAKE (2010)


It's been five years since the undisputed master of horror, Wes Craven has directed a movie. His last feature was the 2005's RED EYE, a radical departure out of the norm but Craven does know how to spin a nail-biting suspenseful thriller. But die-hard fans will always appreciate his effort in tackling horror genre, which is why it's particularly a delight to see him make a much-awaited comeback in MY SOUL TO TAKE. Not only he returns to SCREAM-like teen slasher territory but this is also his first movie he has both written and directed since NEW NIGHTMARE (1994), which is quite frankly, that's really saying a lot. Unfortunately, it's an eye-popping surprise his long-awaited movie here is a confusing mess that is partly inspired but mostly dumbfounded.

The opening 9-minute prologue though, does manage to inject some lively sparks that sets the tone right: During one fateful night in a sleepy town of Riverton, a tragic killing spree by a schizophrenic man who was driven by the voices in his head ends up killing his wife, doctor, and a number of emergency workers. Although his body was never found, the townspeople were given a reminder of the violent slayings in the form of seven babies who were all born during that particular moment. If Craven have sustained that kind of sheer momentum, the movie would have been interesting. Instead once the movie flash-forward sixteen years later to the present day, everything goes downhill. The particular seven children, are now at their teenage years and they are about to celebrate their birthday in some sort of folklore tradition of the so-called "Riverton Ripper". According to the legend, the "Riverton Ripper" invades the soul of chosen victims and make the particular person turning into an evil killer. Among the seven people are the offbeat Bug (Max Thieriot), bullied Alex (John Magaro), insolent jock Brandon (Nick Lashaway), religious Penelope (Zena Grey), popular blonde Brittany (Paulina Olszynski), blind Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), and Asian Jay (Jeremy Chu). Nevertheless one by one end up dead in unexpected circumstances. In the meantime, Bug sets his sight over Brittany and subsequently discovering something about an underground high school crime ring as well as the ugly truth behind his own family history. Not only that, he has some kind of psychic connections that related with the rest of the seven. As bodies starts piling up, Bug begins to wonder whether he's the actual killer himself or there's someone else out there preying the victim.

On the surface, the movie actually has its potential, particularly on how Craven uses the psychological theme of schizophrenia and multiple split personality disorder as inspiration. Such approach is supposed to be fascinating but why Craven ends up making everything jumbled up into a series of confusing mess is anybody's guess. The biggest problem here is Craven's heavy-handed plot that spends too much leisure time on exposition-heavy and lots of cringe-worthy dialogues (one particular laughably silly moment involving Bug's show-and-tell session about California Condor in the classroom). Despite all the setup, the movie is surprisingly light on thrills while the blood-and-gore are significantly reduced into bare minimum. Not only that, Craven seems to forget how to stage effective suspenseful moments other than throwing the regular, cheap-looking jump scare.

But nothing comes worst than the movie's particularly long-winded finale. Shot in a single house interior at an unnecessary long duration of time, you'll be left dumbfounded to see how the killer is subsequently revealed via exposition-heavy scenarios that is so bloated, yet confusing it's almost a yawner. The climactic ending alone is no doubt one of the worst of its kind ever seen in recent memory, and definitely a test of patience for those who can sit through trying to figure out what really going on during the course of the scenario. In the meantime, the killer is nothing inspiring at all while the teen actors are basically average standard. But of all the actors, Max Thieriot is particularly laughable with his over-the-top performance as the schizophrenic Bug.

This movie is definitely an all-time low for a master of horror like Wes Craven himself.

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