My Soul to Take (2010)

With its cheap title and Razzie-worthy buzz I had no doubt My Soul to Take would be just one more in a long line of Wes Craven disappointments. Yet despite myself I was excited. Just being in a theater for a scary movie makes me happy, and this one happened to be in 3D (though at times it was hard to tell). I had my snacks in hand and my silly glasses on face. The crowd was decent-sized but not oppressive. Then a pair of parent-of-the-year contenders rolls into the aisle across from me with a gang of noisy friends and, I shit you not, their five-year-old son and his Nintendo DS. Are you fucking kidding me? What kind of monster brings a little kid to a movie like this? During the course of the 90-minute movie, and despite multiple shushings from various neighbors, Mrs. Considerate proceeded to take no less than three phone calls while Junior lit up the row with his non-stop video games. I’m going to do my best to to be fair to the movie (which showed flashes of novelty but for the most part was pretty dull), but it’s hard to be fair when you’ve just spent two hours in the dark listening to New York’s classiest ruin your nineteen dollar movie experience. To all those that think it’s okay to talk during a movie, may you burn forever in the special hell.

Even a hardened snack pirate is no match for Cell Phone Chica and Kid Nintendo.

The story: It all begins with me planning to kill the lady across from me. Then the movie starts.

Pregnant wife and loving husband Abel are tooling around their house, but pregnant wife is scared by news reports about a local serial killer, unimaginatively dubbed the Riverton Ripper. Abel comes to comfort her but discovers he’s the owner of the very same knife mentioned in the reports. In the span of 30 seconds we figure out that hubby has multiple personalities and one of them has been up to no good. He wastes his wife but luckily the police burst in and put two in his chest just as he’s going for his young daughter, Leia. (IMDB spells it ‘Leah’ but the characters definitely pronounce it like the princess of Alderaan so that’s what I’m sticking with.) The carnage prompts a Haitian-born crime scene investigator to remark that in her native country they don’t believe in multiple personalities, just multiple souls. See where we’re going with this?

At the same time a bunch of babies, seven to be exact, are born prematurely and the general idea is they may have each inherited one of the personalities/souls. Abel the Ripper gets away somehow and the next thing we know it’s sixteen years later and “the Riverton Seven” are marking their birthday by the lake where the murderer disappeared. They have an annual ritual/party game sort of thing they’ve been performing “every year, since we’ve been able,” where one of them pretends to drive the ghost away for another year, but the cops break it up early. So really when the kiddies start dropping like flies, it’s totally the Man’s fault. But has the original Ripper returned, somehow still alive, or did one of the seven indeed take on his evil soul?

IDK y we r so skurred.

Biggest letdown: The biggest problem by far is that the denouement is so drawn out and talky, it totally deflates any excitement that might have been building. But I have a bigger gripe. Follow me here: a nurse in the hospital at the beginning comments that it’s strange to have seven premature births on the same night. Then she gets a call saying pregnant wife’s baby survived its mother’s murder and is on its way in. So once it’s revealed that one of the teenage Seven is that baby, I’m waiting for baby number eight to show up. BUT IT NEVER DOES. It’s a plot hole big enough to drop a kid and his gameboy through.

Why you should watch: In its defense, this movie features a cast of virtually unknown late teen/early twenties actors who are surprisingly not excruciating to watch. Not that they’re anything to write home about, but Craven manages to keep them bland and aloof enough to avoid ridicule. There are even a very few times when you feel a twang of sympathy for some of them. But more important than any of that, My Soul to Take boasts a number of good scares that on occasion even silenced cellphone chica for a precious second or two.

I never should have talked during the movie. I deserve this.

Memorable Moment: There’s a whole motif about souls equating to mirrors (and birds for some reason, WTF) and after suffering a migraine, one of the kids starts doing the human mirror thing to his buddy. This had disaster written all over it but they pull it off rather well. It’s accomplished with several cuts but still i’m sure it took a lot of rehearsal to nail the bit. Too bad it’s not put to any substantial plot advancing use, but I digress.

Choice quote: “No! What I did is not okay. It’s not okay for everybody to be killing each other all the time!”

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5 Responses to “My Soul to Take (2010)”

  1. Jason Schroeder Says:

    Adam, I’m sorry to hear of your negative theatergoing experience. Is it just me or have NYC movie audiences grown demonstratively worse in recent years? Tiny tots at R-rated movies, parents who take crying babies as far as the aisle but not out of the theater (and why is the baby there in the first place?), and don’t get me started on people who actually take cell phone calls in the theater. I am almost willing to forgive somebody for somehow missing all the “turn it off” PSAs, but if your phone rings, do the right thing: look embarassed and TURN IT THE HELL OFF. And if you are brave enough to confront one of these social nitwits over their despicable behavior, you are somehow treated like the asshole in the room. I have a coworker who had a friend put in the hospital by a gang of kids who waited for him in the theater parking lot after he tried to shut them up during a movie. It’s a damn shame that theater owners don’t take more responsibility for who they admit at $13 a pop.

    All of that said, you should publish a schedule of when you’ll be going to local movie theaters for this project. I’d love to join you. My wife doesn’t like going out to the movies anymore thanks to the Cell Phone Chicas of the world, but she doesn’t do horror movies under any circumstances. I had to watch the “Crazies” remake by myself! (worth watching, by the way.)

    • couldn’t agree more, man. ushers should be issued FIREARMS. anyway i’ll be venturing back to the theater (taser in hand) next friday night, although the selection is still TBD. it seems there aren’t any new releases so i may be headed to film forum for a classic – i’ll drop a line here or on FB about it, would love to have company.

      and speaking of the crazies – keep a lookout on monday. i’ve never seen the original so i’m trying something a little different: watching the remake first, followed by the original the next day. I’M INSANE.

      thanks for reading!

  2. […] My Soul to Take – Take my soul, please! […]

  3. […] is that a Culkin? – get brutally murdered. Having suffered through last year’s abominable My Soul to Take, I’ve come to the conclusion Wes Craven is targeting progressively younger actors in an […]

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