Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Soul to Take DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Wes Craven’s Latest Horror Flick Comes to DVD

No one can question Wes Craven’s credentials as a master of the horror genre, given his having crafted such classic spine-tinglers as Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream trilogy. But judging from the absolutely-dreadful My Soul to Take, it is only reasonable to wonder whether the legendary director might have lost his touch entirely.
For nowhere to be found are any of the distinguishing trademarks which have made Craven’s work riveting, from the slowly-ratcheted, edge-of-the-seat tension to the cleverly-concealed plot twists to his terminally-hip characters’ running social commentary to a brand of gallows humor almost mocking the grisly goings-on.
Instead, what’s served up here is straight slasher fare overindulging in gratuitous gore. Consequently, this high attrition-rate affair aspires to nothing more lofty than vivid displays of guts and gore as the villain stacks up a pile of disemboweled corpses.
The adventure opens in the quaint town of Riverton, Massachusetts with a flashback from 16 years ago when the police ostensibly ended the bloody reign of terror of a savage serial killer (Raul Esparza). Although this madman with multiple personalities stabbed his pregnant wife to death prior to perishing in a fiery ambulance crash, doctors were miraculously able to save the life of the couple’s unborn son, Adam, aka “Bug” (Max Thieriot).
According to local legend, just before expiring, the Riverton Ripper vowed to return from the grave to slay any baby born there that evening. Fast-forward to the present, where we are introduced to affable, if naïve Bug and his half-dozen classmates at Riverton High who happen to share that same fateful birthday.
Conveniently, each is a readily-recognizable stereotype, ranging from the beefy school bully (Nick Lashaway), to the perky cheerleader (Paulina Olszynski), to the proselytizing Jesus freak (Zena Grey), to the prescient blind kid (Denzel Whitaker), to the practical joker (John Magaro) to the nerdy Asian (Jeremy Chu). Soon, a body is found floating in the river, and everybody figures out that either the Ripper never died, or has been reincarnated as one of them.
The senseless slaughter escalates as people are picked off by one-by-one. Too bad none of the characters is developed and the dialogue borders on the laughable. Worse, Craven’s lame excuse for a plot doesn’t hang together, and the story’s flaws are compounded by a total technical meltdown.
Might not be Wes Craven’s best film, but it’s certainly his worst.

Poor (0 stars)
Rated R for sexual references, pervasive profanity and graphic, gory violence.
Running time: 108 Minutes
Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Alternate opening and two alternate endings, deleted and extended scenes, feature commentary with cast members and director Wes Craven.

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