MOVIE REVIEW – MY SOUL TO TAKE
October 15, 2010
My Soul to Take (In 3D)
Directed by Wes Craven
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Rating System: 0 – 5 Bubbly Head Deaths with Zero being the lowest and five being the highest.
Wes Craven has made a career out of the dead killer returns to exact revenge on precocious teens horror sub-genre. It’s his thing, and he has done it pretty well over the years. When movie goers think of a ghostly killer striking from beyond, Freddy Krueger jumps to mind almost immediately. Freddy was scary in that he lived in dreams, and you can’t stop a dream. In My Soul to Take Craven unleashes upon us a character known as “the Riverton Ripper.” Someone who is killing people because…well, I guess because he’s just plain nuts, since no other motivation is ever given. But in the opening scene the police gun him down and then promptly lose him after the ambulance he is in does an old school ‘A-team’ flippy thing and he disappears into the river. And since out of sight is out of mind for all horror movie police, they pronounce him dead – case closed. Flash forward 16 years to the present day and we are introduced to seven high school kids who are known as the Riverton Seven because they were all born on the same night that the Ripper was “killed.” I use the quotes because remember, he disappeared into the river and was assumed dead by the local law enforcement. (Note – shoddy police work in horror movies NEVER brings about good things – see Halloween II)
Anyway, back to these seven kids. They all fall neatly into the standard horror movie molds. Bug (Max Thieriot) and Alex (John Magaro) are the picked-on nerds, Penelope (Zena Grey) is the churchy chick that prays all the time for everybody. Brittany (Paulina Olszynski) is the snobbish hot girl, Brandon (Nick Lashaway) is the dumb jock. Jay (Jeremy Chu) is the “I got a way to stop ghosts” guy who should have been called Victim Number One to save time. The final kid is Jerome (Denzel Whitaker) who is the lone African American in the group (Note – for the record, he does NOT say “That is whack!” once throughout the entire film.)
It seems that the killer had seven different souls inside him. Six of them were good and the seventh was the evil killer. When the Ripper died or almost died, those seven souls escaped into…That’s right! The seven kids. So the rest of the movie sees the Ripper dispatching the seven kids one by one in standard horror movie ways. By the third reel there are only a couple of kids left, and they’re all trying to figure out if the Ripper is back or if it is just his evil soul inside one of them. I have to admit, I didn’t go into this film expecting very much. But I was hoping for good storytelling at least. Wes Craven has done better. If you’re in the mood for a good Wes Craven film, go get the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, heck even Deadly Blessing would be a more enjoyable view.
I got to see this film in 3D and overall it was OK. The 3D treatment didn’t distract me from the film, but other than one cool headshot blood splatter, it didn’t really help the film either. There were no Cthulhu research moments in the film – but that was not unexpected given this sub genre.
GAME INSPIRATIONS FROM THE MOVIE
The only cool role playing idea or situation I came away with from this film is “the monster is one of us” concept. There is a cool sequence early on where the original Ripper is standing in front of a mirror talking to his reflection. One of the souls is begging the other NOT to kill any more. That got me thinking: make the beastie be one of your players. That can be fun! Pick out one character and make them the possessed/werewolf bitten/cursed character. Pull them aside and explain the situation and give them enough info to run with it. Is the character evil and just pretending to be good, or do they blackout and have the evil take over and run their body from time to time. If the player you pick is a good role player, they can have a lot of fun with it. Also consider picking the player in the group that the other players would least expect. You know, one of the more quiet players who usually just sits back and follows the rest. That can be fun too! Now, it does require a bit of extra work, since as a GM, you want to keep the true identity of the beastie a secret as long as possible. But that can be done by pulling ALL the players aside separately for a moment or two and give each of them some bit of info. Really, is there anything better than pitting the players against one another?
‘Course, what do I know?