October 14, 2010

by Kathleen Duncan

Horror Master Wes Craven has a bright future ahead of him in comedy, maybe not stand-up but definitely in the movie genre. He earned his title for films such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street” 1-5, “The Hills Have Eyes” 1 and 2 (1977 and 1985)  and “The Last House on the Left” (1972). His latest, “My Soul to Take,” has me wondering if he has lost his touch as this has to be the worst movie of his career.

His first venture into 3-D is filled with hilarious one-liners and moments of dark comedy. I was laughing through the majority of the movie, even though it was filled with classic horror movie blood-spurting scenes and bad costumes.

Craven is known for his use of blood and sound effects to startle even the most hardened horror buff out of her seat at least once. I became so engrossed in the film I actually jumped out of my chair three times.

The great soundtrack also lends to the creepiness which permeates the atmosphere of the theater. The music pushes this, fast-paced horror flick even faster, causing the average movie-goers heartbeat to quicken.

This is good because the movie starts off face-paced and doesn’t really slow until the end. Set in fictitious Riverton, presumably on the East Coast as Boston is mentioned, the opening scenes reveal the “Riverton Ripper,” a man named Abel with a multiple personality disorder, as fighting with his other personalities. The part is well-played.

After more than a few slayings, he’s caught, there is a crash, and BOOM!  He disappears. Fast forward 16 years later to the anniversary of the night the Ripper died and the “Riverton Seven,” the seven children who were born that night are introduced. Watching the students party and celebrate is like watching lambs being fattened for the slaughter. It’s so obvious at least one of them is going to die that night. The audience can’t help but start a countdown.

Max Theriot shines as Bug, and Emily Meade is wonderful as his arch-nemesis, nicknamed Fang, but viewers beware of John Magaro who plays Alex, Bug’s best friend. His performance creates one of the most obnoxious and annoying film characters this year, even with Taylor Lautner appearing in two movies this year.

The plot continues to worsen as it becomes mired in its own convoluted storytelling. The last act takes place almost entirely inside Bug’s house where he gets beaten up by his sister, argues with his mother, then confronts Alex to figure out who the killer is. With so many red herrings thrown out, I say good luck in trying to figure out what’s going on. Is Bug the killer? Is it Alex? Do we even care anymore at this point?

The craziest bit is when it’s time for Denzel Whitaker’s blind character, Jerome, to be offed, though he’s not going to go quietly before explaining in full detail exactly what happened to him. His monologue drags on seemingly for minutes, getting funnier and funnier as he starts talking about climbing the side of the building; wait a second, his character is blind! That is just one of many examples of the sloppiness the movie exudes, and it’s par for the course of a movie that gets so ridiculous it’s a wonder no one died laughing.

Verdict: One out of five stars

E-mail comments to mkd009@latech.edu.