Underrated/Forgotten Craven Films: My Soul to Take (2010)

This week is Slasher Studios Horror Film Club we are taking a look at the underrated and forgotten movies from suspense master Wes Craven. Today we have a review from Cody Landman on Wes Craven’s “My Soul to Take.” When the film was released in 2010, it received unbelievably hateful reviews and under preformed at the box office making only $15 million on a $25 million budget. Did the movie deserve the fate it received or is there something special beneath the surface? Let’s find out…

The underrated Wes Craven film of my choice is his 2010 film My Soul to Take. The story is about a man named Abel Plankov, aka The Riverton Ripper, who one night is gunned down after murdering his pregnant wife and almost murdering his young daughter. Plankov suffers from multiple personality disorder. The female officer says there is a myth that after death, a person’s soul can transfer to someone else. While on the way to the hospital, Plankov comes to life and slaughters the people bringing him in, ultimately crashing the ambulance truck and leaving it burn in flames. After that night, Plankov is never seen again. Years later, a group of teens gather who were born the same night Plankov was gunned down, gather around the wreckage of ambulance to celebrate all of their birthdays and embracing the year The Ripper will return. This year it is their sixteenth birthday, and each teen is being killed off one by one. Has one of the teens inherited Abel Plankov’s murderous soul, or has the actual Riverton Ripper returned? Fear ye The Ripper!

I personally find My Soul to Take an EXTREMELY underrated slasher film. The concept is extremely excellent with the idea that one person’s multiple souls can transfer to a newborn’s. The young cast actually fits the part of high schoolers, and they are all very well acted. Granted there could have been much better character development. The best acting comes from our lead Max Theroit as Bug, Emily Meade as the vicious Fang, and John Magaro as Bug’s best friend Alex. The script was written by Wes Craven himself, and has some great setting in the woods. I’m a huge sucker for woods scenes in horror, and it delivers these scenes excellently. There is also a great amount tension and suspense especially in the last 20 minutes. Another scene that I hear a lot of favoritism about is the scene where Bug and Alex present their class project of the California Condor. I really have no idea why this movie is hated so much, but it is definitely one of the most underrated horror films I’ve ever seen.

PS, love this trailer, has one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands in it. Love horror trailers with a good rock song in it.

To buy My Soul to Take: My Soul to Take (DVD)

Underrated Slasher of the Week: “My Soul to Take”

There is something sadistic about many horror fans. I don’t mean the type of entertainment enjoyed but rather the love of the horror community to see a promising director/writer/actor fail. As much as the horror genre seems to respect the classics, many fans seems to get an unearthly kick by seeing one of their favorites come crashing down. Case in point: Wes Craven. After the success of “Scream” in the late 90’s, many horror fans had given up on the director. Who cares that “Scream” was actually a DAMN GOOD movie, it was just too mainstream for “serious” horror fans. When it was announced in 2009 that Wes Craven would be directing and writing a new horror movie (the first time he had done that in 15 years), the horror community seemed to be a buzz of internet fueled fire. When the movie was released in October 2010, the claws came out and the horror community ripped “My Soul to Take” to shreds. It was one of the worst reviewed movies of last year and barely made back its budget. Many called it a “Nightmare on Elm Street” rip off and many others called it the last nail in the coffin for Craven. But is it really THAT bad?

“My Soul to Take” begins in the sleepy town of Riverton. Legend tells of a serial killer who swore he would return to murder the seven children born the night he died. Now, 16 years later, people are disappearing again. Has the psychopath been reincarnated as one of the seven teens, or did he survive the night he was left for dead? Only one of the kids knows the answer. Adam “Bug” Heller (Max Thieriot) was supposed to die on the last night the Riverton Ripper wrecked havoc on that terrifying night. Unaware of terrifying crimes being committed to the seven children, he has been plagued by nightmares of their murders while not aware if they hold true or if he is simply imagining the images that haunt him. But if Bug hopes to save his friends from the monster that’s returned, he must face an evil that won’t rest…until it finishes the job it began the day he was born.

Well dear reader, I have to admit one thing: I enjoyed the hell out of “My Soul to Take”. The story is overly complicated and doesn’t always seem to know where it is headed but there is a sense of dread in this film that has been missing from most of horror today. The cinematography is lush (nobody can make a run through the woods as scary as Craven) and the performances are all quite solid. I also quite enjoyed the high school dynamics that are played out throughout the film. There is an ever running thread throughout the movie that if you grin and take it, it will make you a stronger person. It is a lesson that Bug learns throughout the course of the film and, in the end, he is finally willing to stand up for himself. The end may be a bit over-the-top for many hardcore horror fans, but this movie has a big heart hidden behind the bloody exterior. I can’t say that this is a perfect film but it is an entertaining one that tries to bring back the slasher genre. Give it a chance and go in with an open mind and you may find yourself giving your soul up to this film as well.

To order through Amazon: My Soul to Take