I am increasingly hoping beyond hope that 3D starts becoming nothing more than a bitter memory. To continue charging more and more for these sorry displays of post converted movies is cheating moviegoers not only out of their money, but it also has potential to ruin the experience by having to wear the dimming shades. MY SOUL TO TAKE is without a doubt a perpetrator of pointless post conversion intended only to hold viewers upside down like playground bullies and shake a few extra dimes out of our pockets. If that was its only crime it might be forgivable, but the film is merely a subpar slasher effort with nothing new to offer and presented lazily by a capable director trying hard to appear like he’s out of ideas.
The film opens with a man fighting desperately with his multiple personalities, and begging for help from his psychiatrist before his darker personality, who happens to be the Riverton Ripper, kills his pregnant wife and young daughter. He is thwarted in his efforts by the police and while on the way to the hospital the ambulance crashes and the Ripper’s body never found. Sixteen years later the seven children born the night the Ripper was supposedly killed recognize their birthday as the day of the Ripper, the one day of the year the Riverton Ripper can cross over and murder the seven of them. One of the seven, Bug, is a troubled kid that suffers from intense headaches and what appear to be multiple personalities as well. As the seven kids start dropping one by one, Bug struggles with his own identity while also trying to avoid the same fate at the hands of the Ripper.
Initially I really wanted to be a lot more judgmental of MY SOUL TO TAKE. I found myself laughing at moments that likely weren’t supposed to be funny, rolling my eyes at the ridiculous and overly complex plot and obvious similarities the film has to other films in Craven’s filmography. Those things are all still glaring faults in a severely mediocre film, but I can still appreciate small victories from within, and when I say small I mean minuscule.
The acting is pretty embarrassing across the board, with some small exceptions here and there, none of which redeem the laughable dialogue and terrible caricatures most of the characters just so happen to be. Craven has presented a script that is fit more for a direct to DVD teen sex comedy than for a theatrical slasher flick. You have a character literally begging a girl to perform oral sex for carrying out clichéd and lame jock bullying in a timely manner, a character that literally talks to God and responds after moments of silence to convey God talking back then saying lines like “turn on the prayer conditioning.” To accompany the bad dialogue there are plenty of extremely awkward and tacked on story elements that add nothing to the film, more specifically an act one of Bug’s friends admits to that doesn’t carry the shock or dramatic weight it feels like Craven was shooting for.
I tried desperately to find a theater playing this in 2D, to no avail. While I don’t think the film would have been any better in one less dimension, the 3D certainly did not help one iota. The night scenes become so dark due to the shaded lenses it made enjoying one of the only cooler aspects the film had, the look of the Riverton Ripper. After a while I could hardly distinguish between what was even supposed to be in 3D, so it was like watching a dark film with sunglasses on like it often ends up being with the post converted movies.
Everything out of the movie is literally borrowed from Craven’s most popular films, teens trying to avoid a killer, a vengeful spirit looking to slaughter the children that have a lingering connection to him. The mixture of the two leaves the themes and endearing qualities from them lost in translation. Even the distorted voice of the killer tries to evoke Freddy mixed with the mannerisms of Ghostface’s phone persona. While the killer is all too familiar his look was marginally intimidating and creepy, that being the only redeeming factors to the character.
The only other minor pass I can muster for the film is the opening sequence. It is ridiculously over the top, but the introduction to the schizophrenic serial killer is one of the only semi entertaining scenes the film has to offer. The film severely lacks in tension and genuine scares, just more of the same cheap jump scares, quick cuts and extremely lazy kill scenes.
With MY SOUL TO TAKE Wes Craven is either trying to lazily flaunt himself as a master of roasting the teen slasher genre or he’s just delivered the punchline of a cinematic in-joke that only he gets; I’m leaning heavily towards the latter. There are scattered moments of entertainment but it’s nearly impossible to look past the blatant rehashing of some of Craven’s more beloved work. MY SOUL TO TAKE is chock full of laughable dialogue and characters, stale jokes and poorly staged violence. With this entry I can’t help but worry greatly about the quality of the upcoming SCREAM 4, but I’m hoping for the best.