LIFF27 - Soulmate - Cinema Review

'If it had continued in the vein of the first scene then yes, you probably would have found me horizontal at some point, but at least that would have been preferable to the borderline boredom that sets in.'

Although I would not claim to be a Horror nut, I am a Horror fan. Despite this, there are still certain things in the genre that push my buttons, making me squirm or turn away, putting me off seeing films or registering on my disgust metertm; essentially doing their job.

The opening scene of Axelle Carolyn's Soulmate has one such thing and, despite my reservations about the rest of the film, I cannot deny that this was well executed and did it's very physical job well; my head went light, I turned away and, for the first time I can remember in a cinema, I don't mind admitting that I came close to passing out. I can't say that Soulmate is an entirely ineffective film, because clearly, that scene had a very tangible effect on me, showing me something I'm uncomfortable watching, and the patrons of Hyde Park who happened to be sitting in the balcony that night nearly found themselves with a body to carry downstairs.

What proves quite frustrating then is that, after this scene, Soulmate has absolutely nothing about it to engender a recommendation, nor nothing as harsh as that opening scene. Carolyn's film is tame from this point forwards; worse than that in fact, it's asinine, badly acted, poorly directed and shaggily conceived. If it had continued in the vein of the first scene then yes, you probably would have found me horizontal at some point, but at least that would have been preferable to the borderline boredom that sets in.

The main problem - and the disconnect between the opening scene and the rest of the film hints at this - is tone. At the start, Soulmate seems to be setting its stall out as a harsh Horror. The next segment could be a fairly effective haunted house narrative, if it was well acted, and that might just about have fitted in with the opening, but somewhere around the middle third, Soulmate loses it entirely.

'ITV drama' was an accusation bandied around afterwards, 'a bit like Harry Potter' was another. You can see how its ideas just didn't mesh. At one point, and remember we're in a film that gave me the above opening reaction, heroine Audrey (Anna Walton) sits down to play chess with a ghost, giggling like a schoolgirl as his mind-power pushes pieces too far.

Unfortunately it gets worse. The experienced Nick Brimble delivers dialogue as though he doesn't understand it (possibly the case), whilst his on-screen wife Theresa (Tanya Myers) has so many twists of character Myers can't keep up, eventually ending up in exposition mode. A lowlight is a scene late on, where Walton finds herself 'imprisoned' behind those most threatening of makeshift prisons; two chairs. Inexplicably, she can't get out. Until she does. Even Scream's various damsels in distress didn't have to put up with this shit.




The 27th Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) takes place from the 6th-21st November at cinemas around the city, including Hyde Park Picture House and Leeds Town Hall. Tickets and more information are available via the official LIFF website.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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