For some reason traffic in the DC Area on Friday afternoons are always extra horrible, it’s not uncommon for it to take me three hours to get home. Recently, instead of attending screenings during the week, I’ve started avoiding the Beltway parking lot by checking out movies on opening day. Lately it’s been a real struggle to find a movie worth going to. Desperate to avoid this week’s jam up, I decided to see My Soul To Take. I mean it’s Wes Craven’s return to horror it should be fun, man was I wrong. This is truly, the worst film I’ve seen all year and to add insult to injury I had to pay the 3D premium price for one of the worst 3D translations of the year.
While watching this movie the idea that Wes Craven was ripping himself off and doing a poor job came to mind. One of the problems with the film is that in its zeal to keep the audience “guessing,” it never commits to its premise. The movie comes across as a softer, unsure take on Craven’s ground breaking Nightmare on Elm Street. Where that move focused on the idea of a serial killer who comes back to attack kids in a dream, this one drops hints that a killer’s soul comes back from the dead to attack kids. Where Freddy had a clear purpose, connection and reason to take out kids on Elm Street for eternity, the killer’s motivations in this film are never explained beyond the fact that he was a crazy schizophrenic.
The movie doesn’t even commit to whether this guy is dead or not, everyone says that since his body was never found maybe he never died. The main “hero” of the piece is the nerd boy, Bug (Max Thieriot) who never displays much personality and then when he does, it’s someone else’s. The problem here is the kids he ends up mimicking doesn’t display much dimension either. We have all the stereotypes – the jock, the Japanese kid, the hipster mean girl club, the slacker best friend, etc. No one is allowed to break out of their archetypes.
The movie’s “hook” is that 7 kids in this town were born on the same day this killer died and for some unknown reason the killer wants to take revenge on these kids. Why? Craven does not care enough about the story to let the audience know. He seems to only care about the kill and the body count, but even on that score he phones it in. There’s a long stretch where absolutely nothing happens, other than more lame talking and red herrings. This is a horror movie, I expect a kill every ten minutes not a 40 minute stretch of boredom and blank stares. This film is frustrating to watch because we know Wes Craven is much better than this, he’s a LEGEND for a reason.
This movie is yet another reason why 3D absolutely SUCKS! There is absolutely no reason for this movie to be in 3D. It clearly wasn’t shot for it, there’s no sense of depth to the conversion, most of the time you didn’t even need the glasses to watch it, and for this privilege I had to pay $13. There were times when the only thing that was in 3D was the background posters on the walls while everything else in the shot was 2D. The worst part is movies like this aren’t big enough to take up multiple screens at the theater so by default you are “forced” to pay the 3D premium if you want to see it.
Movie fails on almost every level and all they needed to do to fix it was to actually commit to something – either have the unstoppable killer ala Mike Myer’s or Jason, or go with the spooky body/soul jumping angle. But don’t go for the mushy middle ground and try and have it both ways. This is one time when sitting in traffic for three hours may have been a better alternative.
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Originally posted 10.10.2010