It’s October, and anyone that knows me, knows how excited I can get in October. October is the time of year when I can indulge in apple cider, anything pumpkin, and loads of horror films. Studios often look to October to release horror films, with the biggest franchises coming out the week of Halloween and other offerings the remainder of the month. This October has already seen the release of Case 39, Let Me In and My Soul to Take with promises of Paranormal Activity 2, Hereafter, Saw 3-D and Monsters. Not a bad October for genre fans. I support horror in theaters because I wait for that pearl amongst a sea of rancid oyster flesh. Every once in a while, a horror film is released that is well made, and either bypasses clichés or better yet, tackles clichés head-on and then works to add new elements or completely breaks free from the cliché.
My Soul to Take does not break free from clichés. In fact, it seems bound by them and unable to elevate itself above a generic teen slasher. At the center of this film is a good idea; seven people born on the same day are connected to a brutal murderer who is one of the personalities of someone with Dissociative Personality Disorder.
A man realizes that he is the killer that is all over the news and his madness is played fairly well for the short time he is a part of the film. The first problem is begins when an African-American paramedic explains that her grandmother would have said that rather than multiple personalities, he has multiple souls. Coincidentally, or not, seven children are born on the night that the killer, known as The Riverton Ripper, is killed… or is he?
Sixteen years later, we meet the Riverton Seven, the kids that were born on Ripper Day. To celebrate the shared birthday, the most popular (read – Jock stereotype) of the seven calls the high schoolers to the site of the Ripper’s death where one of the Riverton Seven must wait for a puppet likeness of the Ripper to be brought out of the river. Then the puppet must be driven back into the river, symbolically killing him again.
This year, it is up to Bug, the strange one of the seven, who has never participated in the symbolic killing. Bug is set apart from the rest of seven, except Alex, who is his best friend. Unfortunately for the players and the audience, the police break up the midnight gathering before the Ripper puppet is driven back into the river. The police make a big deal out of the fact that the kids didn’t have a chance to kill the Ripper puppet before they arrived and we are left to wonder if there is a strong supernatural element to the remainder of the film. While there is a supernatural element, it is so played down that it seems natural. Nothing else is worth mentioning.
The Riverton Ripper did die at the beginning of the film and his soul jumped into one of the seven. Bug is the son of the Ripper and was adopted by his aunt who was also a nurse at the hospital on the day his mother was killed. Bug has some issues and it is really played up that he may be the killer. He is not. Alex is the killer. The reveal is about as interesting as reading this paragraph in a lazy monotone.
There is nothing new to this movie, other than the central idea and even that is not executed well. I’m a Wes Craven fan and it is horrible to write this, but he is smarter than this movie. Scream was great. Look back at A Nightmare on Elm Street or New Nightmare; those films are smart and fun. Shocker is even better than this one. Adding to the irritation at the lack of imagination was the additional money I had to pay to see this piece of garbage in 3-D. The 3-D didn’t even enhance this movie. It was barely noticeable, and unnecessary.
Out of $10, how much would I pay to see this one again? $1.50 if I was bored. Skip this one, please! I’m going to go watch Scream to clear my palate and remember why I like Craven.
Jay Fraick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast
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Image: Rogue Pictures