My Soul to Take (3D) Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated May 22nd, 2011 at 8:08 pm,

My Soul to Take Reviews My Soul to Take (3D) Review

Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews My Soul to Take 3D

My Soul to Take 3D could be considered a “back to the drawing board” film for legendary horror director, Wes Craven, especially considering the project marks the first time Craven has both written and directed a film since 1994 with the Nightmare on Elm Street meta-film, New Nightmare.

While there are a number of Craven staples (as director or writer) in My Soul to Take – a coming of age tale, socially segmented teens, and a new iconic slayer-figure – the writer/director’s most recent project fails to stitch these components together with anything but surface-level filler.

In case you’ve been glued to our coverage of Craven’s next directorial project, Scream 4, take a look at the plot synopsis for My Soul to Take:

“In the sleepy town of Riverton, Massachusetts, legend tells of the Riverton Ripper, a serial killer with multiple personalities who swore he would return to murder the seven children born the very night he died. On the sixteenth birthday of the Riverton Seven, an unknown assailant begins to murder them, one by one.”

My Soul to Take Review 6 My Soul to Take (3D) Review

Emily Meade and Max Thieriot in 'My Soul to Take'

The cast is led by Hollywood up-and-comers Max Thieriot, as the naïve and possibly schizophrenic Bug, and Emily Meade as mean-girl queen, Fang. While they’re certainly not the deepest characters to ever grace the silver screen, Bug and Fang, largely a result of Thieriot and Meade’s performances, make it painfully obvious that practically every other character in My Soul to Take is a caricature.

The supporting characters in the film represent what could be Craven’s most one-dimensional cast to date. The problem isn’t the actors’ performances, it’s the fundamental tie that binds their characters (well, and some dialogue) – instead of a rag-tag group of outsiders that must stand up in the face of uncertainty or a contrasting group from different steps on the social ladder that must work together to destroy an ancient evil, the characters of My Soul to Take are brought together because… they were born in the same small town, on the same day.

While this works well to keep the audience guessing as to which, if any, of the Riverton Seven houses the soul of the reincarnated Riverton Ripper, the narrative approach disrupts any real chance at seeing these characters interact – especially in a way that pays off, considering the amount of melodrama in the first half of the film.

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Nick Lashaway, John Magaro, Max Thieriot, and Denzel Whitaker

Allow me to break it down:

Following a dramatic opening set-piece, the film jumps sixteen years into the future – centering around naïve and slow-witted Bug, as he navigates a familiar institution of teen torture – high school. A number of complicated, albeit forced, relationships are established (though not a single one pays-off): Penelope (Zena Grey) is the morally superior member of the school, quoting scripture and looking out (as well as pining) for Bug. She counsels Melanie, the school principal’s daughter, who was knocked up by Brandon (Nick Lashaway), a sex-crazed high school jock. Brandon is actually interested in Brittany (Paulina Olszynski), a blonde haired fashionista who has a secret crush on Bug – but is forbidden to act on her feelings by mean girl, Fang. Fang essentially runs the school ordering literal “hits,” through Brandon, on Bug and his best friend, Alex (John Magaro), as well as others – to maintain order. There’s also Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), a blind/nice guy responsible for stepping-in and defusing at least two tense confrontations in the film.

Despite the numerous character-connections, enough to make an episode of Gossip Girl look coherent, not a single one of them pays off in a satisfying way. Even the most basic girl likes boy, boy likes girl relationship established early on goes entirely unresolved.

My Soul to Take Review Wes Craven My Soul to Take (3D) Review

Wes Craven - director of 'My Soul to Take'

Considering the amount of interwoven character arcs Craven is employing, it’s hard not to draw parallels between My Soul to Take and the original Scream installment; however, where Scream basks in self-referential charm, Craven appears to be taking My Soul to Take extremely seriously. It’s as if Craven tried to make a character-driven slasher film but, halfway through, got bored with the majority of his characters and just started killing them off – in quick succession. Instead, we’re left with a film that places too much time and emphasis in the hands of disposable characters – so that it is neither a brainless slasher flick nor an immersive character piece based in a serial massacre.

That said, moviegoers heading to theaters for a bit of Halloween spirit, via a formulaic who-dunnit slasher-thriller, probably won’t be entirely disappointed by My Soul to Take. There are a few good scares in the movie, in spite of all the melodrama. Still, the film’s most unique (and tense) moments occur in the first fifteen minutes – and it’s mostly a slow burn from that point on. The actual climax of the movie falls into the normal horror film tropes (hide in closet, run up staircase, etc) – never managing to fully capitalize on the excitement (or horror for that matter) of the strong opening set-piece.

My Soul to Take Review 3 My Soul to Take (3D) Review

Another aspect of My Soul to Take that doesn’t quite live up to its promise is the post-conversion 3D. While the conversion itself, is nice-looking (unlike the often referenced echo effects in the heinous Clash of the Titans conversion), the effect itself is practically non-existent – offering up one of the most tacked on 3D price-hikes we’ve seen to date.

Avatar wowed us by manipulating depth of field with subtle mastery, Resident Evil: Afterlife went the other way, with over the top, in your face 3D effects. My Soul to Take falls somewhere in the middle – like watching a 2D film with 3D visuals. The film was never intended to arrive as a 3D feature – and it’s obvious. While the effect will never distract you with knives, blood, or body parts flying out of the screen, there were only two or three shots where 3D made the film more immersive (for example, one moment lasts no more than five seconds as the audience peers through the slats in a closet door). However, these brief moments are forgettable – and definitely not worth the extra cost or annoyance of 3D glasses.

Craven developed My Soul to Take as a stand-alone project, not as a franchise; however, it’s hard to imagine we won’t ever see My Soul 2 Take. Should a sequel get the green light, the best we could probably hope for is a prequel, one that provides the kind of complexity, and intensity, the audience is promised in the first scene of the film. Considering the downhill slide that the last hour and 15 minutes showcase, it’s clear the execution in My Soul to Take was not on par with the strength of the initial Riverton Ripper concept – and it’s a shame.

My Soul to Take is currently playing in 3D and 2D in theaters.

Follow us on Twitter @benkendrick and @screenrant and let us know what you thought of the film, or watch the trailer below to help you make up your mind:

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Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. Couldn’t agree more. That opening scene (all due credit to both the actor and Craven) had me not only on edge, but genuinely disturbed. With the few jump-scares that followed, I figured I was in for a slightly, slightly mindless scare and gore fest, but the movie didn’t even deliver on that.

    With franchises like Final Destination, the slide from interesting premise to excuse to see crazy death scenes has been completed, but they have fun with the fact that they are intent on grossing you out: they’re in on the joke. But My Soul To Take just can’t make up its mind, and ends up being middle-of-the-road in almost every way. Jerome Who? He accentuates the lack of emotion we are made to feel for any of the characters. The opening scene, and the interaction between Bug and Fang stand apart as trying to do something more than the rest of the film, but it only shows just how much the rest of the movie comes up short.

    As for the 3D? I could be furious, but I’m not. But there is no way that this movie deserves a full-price admission, let alone a 3D price hike. I’m very concerned about Scream 4 at this point.

    • It’s funny that you try to sound like an intellectual film-critic with your simplistic analysis.

      • Gary,

        And what, exactly, was the point of your comment?


        • To make him feel better about himself Vic, I imagine.

  2. A slasher film full of teenagers, what did anyone expect?

    And yet another use of 3D to make money and nothing else. I wish Avatar never existed!



    • LMAO! :D

  4. This movie may make as much coin as “Let Me In,” which I’m guessing is a hundred times better (have seen “Let,” but not “Soul.”) What does that say about horror fans? Why would Hollywood bother to give us quality when the dregs make the same amount of cash?

  5. I took this girl to see it last night in 3d. We laughed for about 80 percent of the movie… one word comes to mind… CLICHE. I’ll give it to them the opening scene was semi entertaining but i still found most parts of this movie so unbelievable and urealistic. Not to mention the actors and actresses are pretty bland and I find it funny that a 16 year old has a 5 o clock shadow…. And another thing, there was this extremely shady bridge that the killer lived under that also happened to be where all the kids would have to cross everyday… like who walks on the railroad tracks to go home everyday?? I wouldn’t have a problem with this normally but like the reviewer said this movie takes itself really seriously. the 3d effects were the definition of LAME and tacked on. There was no part of this movie that i felt more immersed in because of the 3d aspect. Wes Cravens name on this movie utterly means nothing it is just a standard teen slasher film. Save your money for this one… go see Let me in

  6. The end titles for the movie SUCKED!

    • Wes Craven lost me after “Cursed.” One of the two worst movies of the past 10 years, along with “The Happening.”

  7. Lot’s of twists and turn’s in this film will keep you guessing all the way to the end.
    I am a fan of wes craven, but think he needs to start getting back to basic’s which made nightmare on elm street and scream two of the best horrors ever. This film will never be one to remeber, but worth a watch.

    Gave it 2/5 rating.

  8. An amazing movie with lots of drama that keeps you guessing up until the end. You’ll never guess what Bug really is!!