I honestly couldn’t bring myself to watch this one again, so here’s my immediate reaction to it when I watched it last year, followed up by what I remember.
My Soul to Take has sort-of an interesting premise, but it’s also sort-of a lame one. Alex Plenkov, AKA “The Riverton Ripper” is a serial killer who has been terrorizing and murdering families. And one night his brain flips a switch and murders his own (pregnant) wife and gets shot while trying to murder his daughter. (It’s worth noting that this opening, right up until they get to the hospital, is actually pretty decent. LOTS of splatter! And madness!)
But then, and here’s where it starts to lose it: RIGHT at the moment of his death, 7 kids are born in the same hospital, and Plenkov’s soul is transferred to one of them. BUT WHO?!?!?
Flash-forward to 16 years later, when all the kids born on that night hang out near the sight of the Riverton Ripper’s shooting, and uh—I guess “reenact” the scene or something? I’m unclear on this part. Because it’s so lame.
But this time, instead of it just being an adolescent prank, some kind of voodoo magic happens, and the killer’s soul is reactivated and begins murdering the kids one-by-one.
There’s one “weird” kid, (of course) nicknamed Bug, who is the instant suspect, because he acts so weird. Like, constructing a huge carrion costume for a class project, complete with faux-vomit and gore. Oh, and he’s having some severe hallucinations about murdering people. Even his sister—who is a total bitch to him 24/7—thinks Bug might be the one who’s killing all their friends (that’s not quite the right word for a bunch of kids whose only bond is being born on the same night, as they all mostly appear to loathe each other).
After 5 of the kids are killed, it’s revealed that Bug is ACTUALLY THE SON of Plenkov! OMGSHUTHEFUCKUP. Totally didn’t see that coming…except I did.
Hey wait. What movie is this again? Is this Shocker? Because it REALLY feels like it might be Shocker, repackaged with a less insanely 80s concept. Doesn’t it?
Anyway, just when Bug thinks he might be responsible, his BFF Alex climbs thorough the window moments after murdering people in Bug’s house (shades of Scream here), and schizophrenically reveals that he is actually the reborn soul of the killer.
Bug ends up stabbing Alex and freeing his soul and the Ripper’s, in a typically Craven-esque wrap—up, and then Wes does some weird thing where he tries to make it not a happy ending, but a happy ending, and I can’t even be bothered to relate the rest, because: uggggh.
There are a few interesting murders, and a few not so interesting—and really there’s more than enough splatter, but not so much that it can cover-up the terrible acting and script. So in short: My Soul to Take is totally not worth your time.
And thus concludes my Wes Craven retrospective this year! There are a lot more “downs” than “ups” in Craven’s catalog, but I still have to love the guy for inventing Freddy—and I still think the ups are SO stand-out, that he deserves a place of honor in my list of favorite horror film Directors.
So until the next time, Wes, I bid you adieu. Here’s hoping the next time is infinitely better than this was.