Question: What went wrong?
Answer: Just about everything.
Wes Craven’s dreadfully bad, My Soul to Take, takes a bad premise and executes it with even worse technique. The result is a paltry excuse for a movie.
The ghost of a deranged serial killer stalks the town of Riverton, promising to return many years after his supposed death in an ambulance. His motive is to attack and kill the seven children (now teenagers) who were born on the night of his disappearance. As the legend of the killer grows, and the teenagers in town add various stories to the myth, slowly but surely the seven children become six, become five, become four … you know where this is going.
If there were a central character in this mess it would be Bug, played with instant forgetfulness by Max Thieriot. He escaped the clutches of the diabolical killer, only to be stricken with nightmares on who would be the next victim. The supporting cast of high school students are not even worth mentioning, mostly because Craven glosses over them like pieces of meat. They simply are bodies to be killed.
Unlike the Scream franchise, My Soul to Take is neither scary nor funny. It believes it’s being clever, taking a childhood yarn and carrying it through the years to adulthood, but it never takes off and feels awkward. Many of the school scenes sound and look like bad John Hughes films. The one-liners are atrocious, and the acting is uniformly bad (although I appreciated Raúl Esparza and Jessica Hecht’s best efforts).
With Craven as both director and writer, the blame must reside with him. What should have been relegated to a short story was unfortunately given the full-film treatment. The resulting 107 minutes are quite abominable.By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com