Journo Jessie Robbins picks Wes Craven’s much-maligned My Soul to Take as her Saturday Fright Flick
Blame this on my obsession with MTV’s Scream series, which has been blowing my mind the past few weeks, or the fact that it’s Wes Craven’s month, but this time of year is great for teen slasher flicks. The birds are singing, the sun in shining, the machetes are flying. It’s beautiful. This week I chose to celebrate Wes Craven, the summer time, and teens being mercilessly murdered by talking about one of his lesser-enjoyed films, My Soul to Take (2010).
Before Max Thieriot became the brother of a psycho on Bates Motel, he played Bug, a kid who, with six of his other peers, were all born on the same day, premature. They were born on the night that a killer with seven different personalities was killed, or left to die in the Riverton River. Every year on their birthday, at midnight, the group gets together and stages a ritual in which one of the Riverton Seven has to drive a giant puppet of the Ripper back into the river, but this year, Bug can’t bring himself to do it, and fears that this will be the year that the Ripper returns to finish them all off.
My Soul to Take is filled with CG blood, stereotypical characters, Franz Ferdinand (*shudders*), and a really weird social pecking order, but there is something about small town urban legends that makes me so very happy. Certain films are built around their own urban legend to the point where it gets boring to watch (I wrote an entire article on my blog back in the day about how Darkness Falls is completely up its own ass), but My Soul to Take could happen anywhere, at any time. Its legend is built around a secondary character telling the story about how her grandmother used to say that people don’t have multiple personalities, they have multiple souls, a universal concept. But from there, the town comes together and creates this myth, this powerful fear. The building of regional urban legends is fascinating, and this movie is delightfully cheesy and strange as hell under the circumstances.
Bug is a great character, he’s a bit odd, and he can go from soft-spoken nerd to charismatic public speaker in a matter of seconds, and yet he has no idea where it comes from. In a way, he’s a toned down Devon Sawa. I would love to see Thieriot get the chance to use the range he showed here again as everything else I’ve seen him in he’s played very one dimensional, through no fault of his own.
The Ripper is scary enough, a big hulking thing with crazy hair and a giant beard barreling towards you at full speed is enough to make anyone afraid to walk home alone at night, especially over a bridge. The only downside is that the “scares” are much more of the “jump” variety, and are plentiful enough to desensitize even the more novice of horror viewers by the end.
All in all My Soul to Take is an easy film for me to throw on at any given time. Its urban legend formula is comforting (because I’m apparently very ill) and its teen slasher story, with well fleshed out (hah) characters makes it a pretty solid flick for your Saturday night. So pop in your Blu-ray (do NOT watch the alternate endings… thank god they stayed alternate), put on your Ghostface mask and Freddy glove, and spend some time with this lesser loved Craven goodie.
Stay desensitized, kids.