My Soul to Take ★★★½

This is kind of a personal film for me as while I understand those who weren't impressed but at the same time, I don't think it's that deserving of "Worst Wes Craven film ever!" Because despite the shaky start, it's not bad. As soon as it becomes comfortable with itself and the premise, it becomes more controlled and sets out what it wanted to be. This was the last film Wes Craven did both writing and directing duties while Scream 4 was the last film he solely directed. And I was there when My Soul to Take had its short run. I was not going to miss this for the world. It was the first film he both wrote and directed in years since New Nightmare. I had to see it, it just seemed like a rare opportunity and little did I know how right I was unfortunately.

I knew the film was originally shot in 2008 and I saw two set videos that were shot from afar. The ambulance crash scene specifically. And then suddenly, nothing else came besides the son of Dennis Hopper being replaced by Max Thieriot until the first trailer showed up in 2010. I hoped to see it in 2D but my local theater only had it in 2D. So, there you go.

But like I said, it was off to a shaky start. The editing and pacing of the start of the film like with the death of Abel Plenkov a.k.a. The Riverton Ripper (played by Raul Esparza) and how the events transpired soon after was edited rapidly and too fast. But when the film finally gets to have its first scene with Bug (played by Max Thieriot) and his friends when Riverton day was a bust-hiding from the police, the film found its footing. I do like the premise of multiple souls under the guise of multiple personalities and each one being in the seven kids who were born the night the Riverton ripper died. It's a fine premise and it worked for the most part.

The main problems come in when the scares are too basic or when in some areas, the premise wasn't clear enough. In fact, the cops just seem completely incidental like Danai Gurira or Frank Grillo especially when the latter gets killed off regardless. But other things make up for it, the characters are not bad and the actors do bring humanity to them especially in the latter half with "Fang" save for the token jock asshole (played by Nick Lashaway). Even the basic ones like Penelope (played by Zena Grey), the hardcore Christian girl who actually turned out not to be an asshole. And I did the mystery of who was the Riverton Ripper killing the kids after 16 years was well handled, there weren't any obvious hints of who. You could argue the end result was a cop out given there's an further supernatural explanation but I felt it was executed well enough regardless whether it fit in with the "What if Bug was the killer or not?" concept.

Craven did a good job in both writing and directing departments. As usual, he did bring humanity to the characters and some clever use of the Native American mythology of the California Condor with it being a harvester of souls which does fit along the film's premise well enough and the supernatural tone so it's not there to be cool. And he does the dramatic scenes well enough there. Though I can't help but feel there may had been some studio interference as perhaps that could explain the film's shaky start.

I argue it's a very underrated film that has flaws which is honestly a good description of it. Good in spite of itself. I do highly recommend watching it, honestly.