"My Soul to Take" Review — 4 out of 5 stars
Thu, 07 Oct 2010 16:33:53
Wes Craven Videos
There are three strands of palpable fear at the darkened heart of Wes Craven's My Soul to Take, and that's precisely why it's one of the year's scariest films.
Craven plays upon the audience's fear of the unknown with the supernatural element of the film's monster, "The Riverton Ripper." At the same time, he builds a level of tangible terror with the dread surrounding serial killers in modern American life. Then, there's an atmosphere of godlessness in the woodsy Riverton, Massachusetts that Craven architects better than anyone. The filmmaker scares the audience with this three-pronged approach, and it slashes and gashes at all the right moments.
My Soul to Take follows Bug—the captivating Max Thieriot—a teen who doesn't really fit in. Bug is one of the "Riverton Seven," seven kids who were all born prematurely the night that the "Riverton Ripper" (allegedly) died.
The film's opening kicks off with a grisly murder sequence that's among Craven's most violently vibrant scenes. Abel Plainkoff finds out through a jarring turn of events that he's the "Riverton Ripper." Abel discovers the cleft bloody knife under his tool bench, and he starts freaking. However, is he really the ripper? It's revealed that he has seven souls inside of him, and each of them conflicts. One of them is the killer, but Craven doesn't let the viewer be so sure off the bat. In a brutal vignette, Abel slices up his pregnant wife, but the baby survives as one of the "Riverton Seven."
The thought is that "the devil" gives the Ripper freedom to take revenge on "Ripper Day" the anniversary of his death, and that's when the real fun begins. The seven survivors themselves are more like sketches of personality traits, and that's Craven's intent. The kids get together to celebrate their 16th birthday in the woods by the ambulance the Ripper was least seen in, and that sparks a trail of murder. The ripper hacks his way through the kids, and the splattering is so beautifully brutal.
The Ripper is a classic Craven killer, and he engages a symphony of blood—and one-liners. During one particularly "side-splitting" kill, he remarks, "Fuck your fucking unborn child. Now, where'd I leave your bitch?"
Craven gets gorey with the bloodletting of one of the unlucky seven. There's enough spattering to satiate the gore fanatics and the Ripper's knife with "Vengeance" etched on the blade could become another in Craven's arsenal of iconic horror pieces, and the devil knows that's a long list.
One of the seven kids, Penelope [Zena Grey], subtlely stirs another element of fear. She advises Bug to "Turn on the prayer conditioning" at one point, and she's caught by the Ripper after witnessing to a pregnant teen. She sets the stage for the Good lord to come to the rescue. The faint whisperings and pleading for him heighten the darkness. However, God doesn't show up at all. Perhaps, that's Craven's elaborate joke on the seven and the viewer. It's a primal forest world where The Ripper and his knife reign in blood supreme. There are no angels here. The tension mounts between Bug and the most popular girl in school Fang [Emily Meade], and the two young actors masterfully display that anger. Then of course, there's the famous "Now I lay me down to sleep prayer" that starts the movie in eerie and enchanting fashion.
Bug's psychosis is truly terrifying. Watching Thieriot morph into madness on a giant rock is heartwrenching and hypnotic, and Craven deliberately creates a world where no one can really be trusted.
This is another slasher classic for Craven, and you may never sleep again. Hold onto your soul…
Will you be seeing "My Soul to Take" this Friday October 8th?
Check out our "Rogue on Rogue" feature between Corey Taylor of Stone Sour and Slipknot and Wes Craven here.
Check out Wes Craven on the red carpet of the premiere below!
Watch a two-minute scene of the movie below!
Watch an exclusive TV spot below!
Visit the Official website for Wes' new movie, My Soul To Take, in theaters October 8, and in Real 3D, where available.