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Movie Review: ‘My Soul’ lacks traditional thrills

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Michael Phillips
LV Life Editor

Horror film legend Wes Craven returned to the big screen last week with his latest effort, the 3-D “My Soul to Take.”

This is the first film in five years from the creator of the legendary “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Scream” and “The Hills Have Eyes” franchises.

From the trailers, “My Soul to Take” looked similar to “Nightmare on Elm Street” but the two films are minimally similar.

The film opens up in the small town of Riverton, Mass., and quickly moves into the legend of the town’s serial killer, The Ripper.

As legend has it he vowed to come back and kill all the children born the night that he died.

Like most horror movies the film jumps ahead a significant number of years, to present the audience with main characters who in this case are the seven teenagers born on the day The Ripper died.

The main issue with the film lies with the characters.

Similar to most Craven directed films, there is heavy dialogue that is intended to give the audience a feel for the characters. However in “My Soul to Take” the dialogue does nothing more than vaguely outline the characters and the stall the murder scenes.

The actors themselves are not well known but are able to make their roles believable, and that is where the film gets some of its momentum.

Craven makes Riverton, its occupants and the legend feel real, yet he completely fails to make it scary.

Even with the use of 3-D technology the film lacks the normal fear factor most scary movies have.

Thirty minutes into the film I wondered why I even paid extra to see it in 3-D.

By the end of the movie I had jumped only two times, neither of which were associated with the murder of any of the characters.

The death scenes were dull, and happened so quickly leaving little to no room to be scared.

In other horror movies, for example Craven’s own “Scream,” victims are sometimes stalked by the killer, or chased, building up a fear in the character that exudes into the audience.

In this film the characters are killed in such boring ways that the most memorable thing about their deaths is the amount of fake blood.

The film tries to be a fresh new horror movie, since the most recent trend in the horror genre is the reboot of past horror franchises.

Though the film is a fresh concept, it borrows from “Scream” in a few of the quick death scenes and borrows from “Nightmare on Elm Street” with the atmosphere and feel of the small town of Riverton.

What has not been borrowed is personality. The serial killer in the film is not scary and the times when The Ripper actually speaks feels wasted.

The few occurrences when I actually saw his face I was reminded of the media’s image of a homeless person.

These things render The Ripper not scary unless you have hobophobia.

The film’s strength lies within its plot, which sucks the audience in very quickly.

Throughout the film I found myself trying to figure it out and whispering theories to those sitting beside me.

If the film was marketed as a suspense film rather than a horror it might have been more to my satisfaction.

Although the plot was the film’s biggest strength it also was its major flaw, because the ending had so many elements to tie up.

Walking out of the theater I left half satisfied and half disappointed.

The film was not amazing but a good step away from the ridiculous amounts of remakes and reboots.

The film may have lacked the scary Craven is known for bringing to the big screen, there was a solid plot, a few fun characters, and plenty of creepy scenes.

Michael Phillips can be reached at

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