Wes Craven: The Scream Years Part 7 – My Soul To Take (2010)
Wes Craven’s penultimate movie before his untimely passing would be the first time directing, producing, and writing a feature since A New Nightmare.
Where A New Nightmare would be leagues ahead of its time, setting up a metaverse (no, not the Zuckerberg kind) that still stands up today, My Soul To Take struggled with what was essentially a weighty vision from the horror auteur.
The title taken from the prayer, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, once spoken with eerie effect by Nancy Loomis in the Nightmare franchise.
So, looking to repeat the success with a new world as his playing field, Craven had to first set up the rules from which to create within. Here is where the problem arises. The playing field in question is one that Craven likes to explore in as suggested by his previous films and his love for the psychological state of the human mind.
The subject in question is a little hard to connect with in the first place (no pun intended), as it deals with a man who has Dissociative Identity Disorder. We then witness said man discover that he is the Riverton Ripper and responsible for the murders of several people. In his unhinged state, he murders his pregnant wife and his psychiatrist before being gunned down.
But on the way to the hospital, he then goes on the rampage once more killing the paramedic (Danai Gurira), but is final killed when the ambulance crashes and explodes into a gulf of fire.
All of that is just the prologue to the film, setting up the narrative years later, a significant anniversary since the Riverton Rippers death. We then meet the Riverton seven, a group of teenagers who were all born on the same day; a group of stereotypical misfits, harbouring different personalities that will in turn form the resurrection of the Riverton Ripper once their souls are taken. But which if them has the soul of the serial killer possessed to slowly kill off their number one by one.
The prime suspect is Bug (Max Thierot – Bates Motel), a shy and timid person who often finds himself on the outskirts of the social scene because of his nature. The only exception is his best friend and loser, Alex (John Magaro). The fact that Bug keeps having these episodes and visions, throws him further into suspicion even from the audience’s perspective as we journey to the climax.
It’s a decent enough concept but a convoluted one, as with seven personalities, it’s hard to attach ourselves to any within the timeframe, especially once the exposition is delivered.
The pace of the movie is also slow which adds to our detachment. Perhaps the screenplay needed more work to flesh out these flaws but the final product, leaves us waning from its core. This is understandably why it didn’t resonate with its audience and has fairly low Rotten Tomatoes score.
- Saul Muerte