My Soul to Take Wes Craven

My Soul to Take Wes Craven
There's something to be said for mediocrity. Yes, we would all like to see a good movie, and a great movie would certainly be a pleasant surprise, but if you enjoy a particular genre, you probably get a kick out of seeing its clichés dragged out yet again, and a mediocre horror film like Wes Craven's My Soul to Take at least has the (mild) pleasure of following the teen horror clichés with the comforting familiarity of the Stations of the Cross. Now, stop me if you've heard this one, but 16 years ago today in the small town of Riverton, a killer with multiple personalities died the same day seven Riverton children were born, and now, on "Ripperday," after 16 years of his ghostly reputation haunting the town, the kids are being mysteriously killed. Is the ripper back? Does the title My Soul to Take give away a little too much of his modus operandi? Craven can do this kind of material in his sleep – in fact, it follows the basic template as his excellent A Nightmare on Elm Street – so why would Craven, an often-fine director whose better work includes Scream and Red Eye, bother with something so run-of-the-mill? How did a filmmaker who has made so many horror films not realize how laborious the opening 20 minutes of exposition are? ("Legend has it that we, the Riverton Seven, are the mirrors of Abel Plenkov's personalities, the ones that turned the Ripper in, and that the Ripper wants revenge," says one of the teenagers to a group that would surely know this information by now.) There's little of Craven's usually strong sense of pacing and visuals in this forgettable, overlong (108 minutes) potboiler, though if you've already seen all the Friday the 13th movies and can't get enough of teenagers gradually catching on that the killer they thought was dead might not actually be, you might find some very, very modest pleasure. One niggling concern: c'mon, Wes, where's the nudity? If you're going to make a hack-y teen horror movie, at least have the sense to do it right! DVD extras include deleted scenes and commentary by Craven and the cast. (Alliance)