Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Soul To Take (2010)(Minor Spoilers Review)

**This review contains MINOR spoilers, no character deaths, reveals, or major plot twists**

During the sixteenth anniversary of The Riverton Ripper’s demise, the seven children born on the night of his death celebrate their birthdays together in the small town of Riverton. Collectively, Bug (Max Thieriot), Alex (John Magaro), Brittany (Paulina Olszynski), Brandon (Nick Lashaway),  Jay (Jeremy Chu), Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), and Penelope (Zena Grey) are known as The Riverton Seven.

Bug (or “Adam”) is focused on capturing Brittany’s heart, but as the most popular girl in school, Fang (Emily Meade) is determined to derail Bug’s plans. But after the brutal murder of a Riverton Seven member, the remaining survivors ponder the realistic possibility of The Riverton Ripper’s return. According to an old urban legend, The Ripper’s soul is capable of possessing a Riverton Seven member for a return to the living world.

With The Ripper free to kill again, Bug’s erratic behavior draws some unwanted attention in his direction, causing some concern from his mother, May (Jessica Hecht). Detective Frank Paterson (Frank Grillo) leads the investigation, but time is running out, as a possessed member of The Riverton Seven embarks on a killing spree with guidance from The Ripper‘s cursed, evil soul.

Emily Meade delivers the best performance here, and Jessica Hecht deserves the spot for runner up. Hecht is a legit contender for the top spot, but her screen time is limited here. Thieriot isn’t bad in the leading role, but he’s overshadowed by Meade, and the separation of quality is more obvious during their scenes together. And Zena Grey is good for a few laughs as the obsessive religious nutcase. The rest of the cast ranges from  decent to mediocre.

You’ll see the typical bunch of high school characters in a horror film here. Bug is the shy nerd, and he’s going after the hottest girl in school (Brittany), who’s supposed to be out of his league. Alex is Bug’s best friend, and he’s regulated to the sidekick role. Brandon is the star quarterback/jock, and he’s a bully. And Brittany is the airheaded blonde.

Although, I’ll admit, the Penelope character is a refreshing change, and yeah, Fang is the dark and angry goth chick, but there’s a twist to her character. Fang isn’t an outcast, she’s the most popular girl in school. At nineteen years of age, Fang decides, who’s cool and who’s not. She sets the standards for popularity with her rankings, and Fang has her own little clubhouse in the girl’s bathroom titled “The Fang Zone.” On top of all that, Brittany answers to Fang, not the other way around. Without Fang, Brittany is lost and helpless, and she won’t make a big decision without Fang’s guidance.

The Riverton Ripper? He’s a complete joke. His costume is borderline cartoonish, and I can guarantee you, The “Ripper” would have a hard time scaring a five year old. And to make things worse, The Ripper’s croaky voice brought one too many laughs out of me. Sorry, but when your primary antagonist, who’s supposed to inspire fear and intimidation is nothing more than a laughing stock, the movie is doomed for failure.

I appreciate a few cool horror winks here. First, there's the one with Alex watching Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds on TV, and the second wink is for Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. Bug and Alex nickname a pet raven "Edgar." Well, technically it's not their pet. Bug and Alex see the raven on their daily walk to school in the woods every morning, so they befriended "The Raven" over time.

Still, My Soul To Take is a dull and boring horror film. No scares, a lack of tension, a series of underwhelming twists, and too many unintentionally funny moments kill any chances for a passable guilty pleasure film. Also, My Soul To Take squanders a unique supernatural premise. As the story progresses, My Soul To Take devolves into another generic slasher film, with a manic running around hacking teens to bits, and to put the icing on the cake, they had to throw in a predictable scene, where The Ripper chases two victims through the woods. Ugh.  It’s a frustrating disappointment, because My Soul To Take had the potential to be a solid horror flick. Instead, it’s a chore to sit through, and the one hour and forty-eight minutes runtime feels like an eternity.

Rating: 2/10

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