Who would’ve ever thought that Wes Craven, the man behind the original “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream” (one of my personal favorite slasher films of all time), could have made the single worst horror movie of 2010? “My Soul To Take,” one of the most depressingly bad experiences I have sat through is even worse than that god-awful Michael Bay-funded remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” . Worse than the personality crisis called ”Legion” . What we have here is a sure-fire failure in every sense.
I wish this was not true, but that is just the way it turned out. Craven really screwed up with this one. Not only is he credited as director; he also co-produced and wrote the thing. Admittedly, the concept itself could have probably added up to something interesting. But the whole film unravels like every other mainstream horror movie of the current age. It is all showy and decorative with its blood and violence, yet lacks any microcosm resembling substance.
In a small town called Riverton sixteen years ago, a schizophrenic serial killer (known as the Riverton Ripper by the media) was exposed just after he unexpectedly killed his pregnant wife and supposedly dies in a car accident/explosion as the authorities take him away. The film flashes forward to the present where the town youth now celebrates this day, aptly calling it “Ripper Day.” On this day sixteen years ago, seven people were born. As the folklore goes, the Ripper is destined to come back from the dead on Ripper Day to murder these seven kids.
The kid we follow during most of the movie is Bug Hellerman (Max Thieriot), a weakling in comparison to the jocks of his school. Coincidentally, Bug is suffering from nightmares and psychological troubles as well.
And that is about everything the movie gets into. The rest is simply padded out as a vehicle for aspiring teenage actors to get murdered in the most shocking ways possible. Craven used somewhat of the same formula for “Scream” several years back. But “Scream” had a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek approach to this variety of horror, while this film takes itself rather seriously. “Scream” also had some likeable and photogenic aspiring teenage actors on its bill, which “My Soul To Take” conversely replaces with the typical toolbag throwaway characters found in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” remakes.
The film is being presented in 3D. If you are not already heeding my advice about not seeing this, DEFINITELY DO NOT PAY ANY MONEY EXTRA FOR 3D. The medium is already flawed enough as it is, what with the shades making the screen darker. But whoever formatted the 3D must be fired from their job, because this film doesn’t even offer any sort of tricks or special effects throughout its run. Say what you will about “My Bloody Valentine 3D” and “Piranha 3D", but they certainly knew how to milk 3D for what it was worth. Here, it is simply a very shameful ploy to make more money in ticket sales.
The final third of this movie even tries to replicate “Scream,” in that it tries to tack on an element of ambiguity as to what is going on. The story takes numerous twists and turns only to circuitously end up right back where it was. It is a continuous tease leading up to a reveal that is underwhelming, predictable and anticlimactic no matter which way you look at it. Whereas “Scream” succeeded at keeping you on edge until the very end, by this late in the movie, you hardly still care about what is even happening.
“My Soul To Take” is a despicable, reprehensible, lazy, threadbare, formulaic, grueling and sloppy mess of a film that has little to no redeeming quality to it. I have no idea what Wes was thinking when making the movie, but for some reason, my expectations for “Scream 4” have suddenly plummeted. I still have hope, but now I also have an incurable sense of fear and uncertainty. And not in a good way.
Note: I cannot even find a good picture to represent the movie.