There are bad movies, then there are extra bad movies that make you jump up, flail your arms about and yell at the screen, hoping to ask the filmmakers "What the hell were you thinking?" Unfortunately for Wes Craven, My Soul to Take is one of those kinds of extra bad movies.
While Wes Craven hasn't had to prove himself for decades, having built the house of Freddy and delivered three, and soon to be four, Screams, he's going to have to start from square one with me for this. He's a bit of a living legend, a king of the slasher genre, so why is My Soul to Take such an indiscernible mess? Some would argue that it mostly stems from Craven being both writer and director as well as producer on the film, a trifecta that hasn't happened before in his career, essentially freeing him from sensibility. In short, it's a project on which nobody could tell him "no."The concept presented in the film is rather cool, which makes the rest of the disaster all the more disappointing. Basically, 16 years ago, a psychotic killer with multiple personalities, known as The Riverton Ripper, is supposedly killed by police on the same night seven babies are born in the same town. Flash forward to today as we follow the seven 16-year olds who supposedly all have fragments of the Ripper's multiple personalities. Surprise, surprise, the Riverton 7 start to die one by one. Enter Bug (Max Thieriot), a troubled youngster with a similar personality disorder as The Ripper, who feels its his duty to sniff out which of the seven kids is the killer.
The truth is, the first half of My Soul to Take isn't all that bad. It sets up an interesting quagmire that's basically impossible to figure out in the end, due to all of Craven's red herrings, but the prospects it promises are rather intriguing. It saddens me to say that the only real shock that's delivered is the fact that such a seasoned slasher filmmaker like Craven can't navigate these waters for shit, squandering pretty much every possibility to make the film creepy, chilling and downright scary. Instead, what we're given is a de-boned hump of a Scooby-Doo mystery on crack that ends up evoking unintentional laughter far more effectively than tingling your spine.
There are some moments where Craven's mastery of film technique and artistry glimmer through the murk, but it's largely a botched job, with an equally botched 3-D conversion that's more like wearing sunglasses at night than having bloody knives slash out at your face. There's really no reason for this film to even be in 3-D, save for the fact that it's the latest craze and if you're not on the bandwagon, the rubes in the audience will think the film is somehow deficient... except it is deficient. So, it's more like the studio realized what a stinker this piece was going to be and said, "Let's rape them at the theater" and unnecessarily converted the film in order to reap higher ticket prices. It also explains the lack of advance press screenings.
Save yourself the torture and avoid this one. It's barely worth the rental. Craven better be firing on all thrusters for Scream 4, because if My Soul to Take was a meat thermometer gauging the life expectancy of his career, he's almost done. All I'm saying is Scream 4 better not be the fork. That analogy is only a fraction as cryptic and nonsensical as the third act of My Soul to Take. Take that.