My Soul To Take - DVD Review

'if it was made in 1995 then it could have been a decent little genre flick. In 2011 however, audiences have a right to demand more from their horror films'

Sometimes it can be rather difficult to understand how certain films get made. Recently, Guillermo Del Toro failed to receive the greenlight for his At The Mountains Of Madness project, largely down to the fact that, as explained here, 18-rated (R-rated in the US) horror films just don't make the sort of money necessary to justify an $150million budget.

Although significantly less expensive, at a cost of $25million, My Soul To Take is one of those films where a large return on investment was hard to imagine from the off. An 18-rated film which deals with a group of sixteen year-old high school students, the Wes Craven written and directed slasher plays out like a cross between Clueless, Urban Legends and The X-Files. As such, a third of the target audience (surely the characters and setting will only appeal to 13-16 year olds) are prevented from seeing the picture, whilst the other two thirds will be annoyed, frustrated or alienated by the high school drama with all its cliques, cheerleaders and quarterbacks.

To be fair to Craven's film, if it was made in 1995 then it could have been a decent little genre flick. In 2011 however, audiences have a right to demand more from their horror films than a stock group of characters being picked off one by one by an anonymous killer. More than that in fact, in 2011 audiences have a right to watch a teenage-orientated film by someone who understands 21st century teenagers. Craven clearly doesn't. The film opens with a large group of them collecting in the woods to mark their birthdays with a Pagan-esque ceremony. Really? They wouldn't be playing on their Xboxes then? Or drinking stolen booze somewhere? Apparently not. Craven thinks its perfectly normal for high school teens to indulge in the occult in sparse woodlands next to a river supposedly haunted by the spirit of the Riverton Ripper, My Soul To Take's supernatural antagonist.

The plot surrounding The Ripper is as nonsensical as the fact that the film exists at all. Relying far too much on an initial piece of coincidence - that seven of the teenagers were born on the same day The Ripper died - Craven blends in convenience after convenience. A late one in particular, which reveals that practically the whole town have kept a secret from one of the characters for sixteen years, being particularly hard to swallow.

Of course, none of this really matters, certainly not to Craven. All he's looking for is a couple of flimsy excuses to flash some blood and kill some screaming teens. He manages it but only just and the only kills horror hounds will be treated to are re-hashes of tired old moves from Scream and its ilk. Sadly, the analysis extends to the film as a whole with Emily Meade's second-half performance, as the headstrong sister of the protagonist, arguably the only bright spot on offer.

My Soul To Take is released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray on 4th April 2011.

Look further...

'[Craven] doesn’t make movies as much as he takes Nightmare on Elm Street and runs it through different molds on his movie-sized Play-Doh Fun Factory, just the same flick in a different shape, until he pinches them off like turds' - Altered Realities Radio, 0.5/5


  1. Well done, Sir. That review was short and classy, unlike its subject matter.

  2. Thank you, kindly! Short and classy and is what I aim for!