Soul Survivors

"Terrible"

Soul Survivors Review


In my opinion, a movie reviewer's most important task is to offer an explanation for his opinion. But with Soul Survivors, I'm so full of critical rage that this review is liable to turn into a venomous, uncontrollable rant, obligations damned.

However, protocol forces me to do otherwise. Soul Survivors tells the story of four college-bound friends: Cassandra (Melissa Sagemiller) is sweet and innocent. Party girl Annabel (Eliza Dushku of Bring It On) is dating world-weary Harvard student Matt (Wes Bentley). Matt still has feelings for Cassie, who is now dating Sean (Casey Affleck).

Driving back from a creepy, gothic party, the quartet gets into a horrific car crash. Sean dies, leaving Cassie crestfallen and guilty, made worse because Sean saw Matt kiss Cassie just minutes after Sean revealed his love for her.

As Cassie mopes through her classes, she sees the ghost of Sean all over the place, urging her to follow him. Along with being plagued by other ghastly visions, Cassie is also followed by thugs from that strange party. Annabel and Matt try calming her down, but no one shares Cass's visions. She has to figure out this purgatory all by herself.

Rarely have I seen a director so thoroughly mishandle material. In his directorial debut, Steve Carpenter does nothing to provoke the audience into feeling any emotion. When the movie's camerawork isn't pedestrian, it's clichéd. Carpenter's need for close-ups, his camera following Sagemiller from behind, drain the movie of any anticipation. We already know what to look for, so why should we be surprised? And the sense of scary atmosphere, which was recently done so well in The Others, is nowhere to be found here.

Carpenter's script relies on random twists and turns with a minimum of logic and loads of laziness. This is a movie where the ending features one character providing an explanation about the plot to another character, which is one of the lamest screenwriting devices around. The second lamest device, of course, is the, "Oh, it was all a dream" resolution. And guess what? This movie has both!

Not that the main body of the film, which has Sagemiller constantly running in fear or having a nervous breakdown, is anything worthwhile. Since there's no captivating dialogue, no character chemistry exists anywhere. That's a huge problem, since the four main characters are supposed to be couples.

Carpenter can't even get the smutty scenes right, which are becoming more prevalent in PG-13 movies like Bring It On and Get Over It. [The film was recently re-cut from an R rating to get more kids in the seats. -Ed.] When Sagemiller and Dushku dance together at a club, he rarely shows them in a full shot and he never keeps the camera on them for longer than a second before relating to some Michael Bay-style quick cuts. And when Sagemiller and Dushku take a shower together after getting covered in paint, they're fully clothed. Regardless, any sexiness in that scene is undercut by its stupidity. Why wouldn't they wash the clothes in the sink or in the washing machine? Why would they shower in their clothes? What if they weren't covered in latex paint?

The cast, which will see better material in the future, would be wise to leave this one off their resumes. I felt sorry for Affleck, who I've liked in other movies, and Bentley, who was great in American Beauty. Dushku, who possesses an alluring femme fetale quality, has got to stop taking roles belonging to Rose McGowan. As for Sagemiller (star of the aforementioned Get Over It), I want to see her in a movie where she plays a person, and not an object for gawking. And I'm not even getting into Luke Wilson's role as a priest. At least he's friends with Wes Anderson.

Bottom line: Soul Survivors is so awful I feel compelled to knock on doors and warn people about it.

The studio has tried to salvage this wreck with the home video/DVD release, touting it as "The Killer Cut," with "More Blood! More Sex! More Terror!" If a single quick shot of a topless Angela Featherstone and a few shot's of Sagemiller's naked back pass for "More Sex!" these days, we really need to reevaluate what passes for marketing.

If you liked the movie, you can buy this prop!



Soul Survivors

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th September 2001

Box Office USA: $2.0M

Distributed by: Artisan Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 45

IMDB: 3.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Neal H. Moritz

Starring: as Annabel, as Cassie, as Matt, as Sean, as Raven, as Jude, Allen Hamilton as Dr. Haverston, Ken Moreno as Hideous Dancer, Carl Paoli as Deathmask, Barbara E. Robertson as Margaret, Richard Pickren as Ben, as Cool Blond, Ryan Kitley as Young Cop, Rick Snyder as Father McManus, Danny Goldberg as Campus Cop, T.J. Jagodowski as ER Doctor, as ER Nurse, Scott Benjaminson as Second Campus Cop, Amy Farrington as ER Doctor - Midtown

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.