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Review

Horror season begins with dud

Michael Brun

October 14, 2010

The first 10 minutes of “My Soul to Take” are hilarious and absurd – and intentionally so. The rest of the movie is just as funny, but I am not so sure it was supposed to be. Horror movies tend to have some pretty far-out plot lines, and “My Soul to Take” is no exception. A serial killer with multiple personalities is killed on the same night that seven babies are born. Each baby inherits one of the killer’s personalities. Sixteen years later, the seven kids attend the same high school. After one of them is killed on the date of their shared birthday, the six that are left must discover who got the bad soul before the killer can strike again.

This movie was written and directed by Wes Craven, the legendary horror icon behind such genre milestones as “The Last House on the Left,” “The Hills Have Eyes” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” In 1996, he wrote and directed the horror masterpiece “Scream.” Not only is “Scream” among the best slashers out there, but it essentially made any future slasher movies unnecessary. Craven brilliantly poked fun at genre conventions with “Scream,” playing off the audience’s comfortable familiarity with the slasher movie formula. That was 14 years ago. Now, for reasons I cannot understand, Craven has decided to make just another formulaic slasher movie. Craven making a movie like “My Soul to Take” is like that masked magician putting on a magic show with tricks that he had already spoiled.The plot of “My Soul to Take” is full of the tired clichés that “Scream” dissects; everything from the vapid teenagers to the relentless murderer who always gets in one last stab before finally keeling over.

In a post-slasher world, who even like this stuff anymore? Slasher movies are one of those guilty pleasure genres. Let’s face it: A lot people see them solely for the nudity and gore. “My Soul to Take” has neither.

Craven is certainly no stranger to movie violence. Remember when Johnny Depp gets liquefied in “A Nightmare on Elm Street?” I’ll never forget it. But “My Soul to Take” is completely forgettable. What little gore the movie does have consists mostly of computer-generated blood splatter.

Inventive and shocking makeup is one of the main things that initially attracted me to the horror genre, so it is depressing to see a legend like Craven ditching traditional gore effects for lazy CGI. This movie is available in both 2-D and 3-D versions.

I saw it in 2-D, and at no point did it feel like a scene would have benefited from the extra dimension. It is also worth noting that it was not filmed with 3-D cameras; rather, the stereoscopic effects were added during post-production. File this one under pointless. I’m not sure who “My Soul to Take” is aimed at. It will be intellectually insulting for those old enough to buy the R-rated ticket to see it. For younger folk who have to sneak in, I imagine they will feel insulted as well. It is just not worth all that hard work for some cheap scares and a few f-bombs. There are a lot of potentially interesting horror movies getting released this October, but “My Soul to Take” is not one of them.

Wes Craven is still a genre icon, but I fear his relevance as a filmmaker is coming to an end. It is time for him to step aside and let the next generation prove their worth.

Michael Brun is an alumnus of UW-River Falls.