A typically ruthless, and cynically comic horror thriller from writer-director Wes Craven, who—in yet another version of the reality-warping Freddy Krueger—sics “The Riverton Ripper” on a motley group of students at a high school where the caste system is more terrifying than the possibility of a murderous ghost (the bullying leader of the mean girls is nicknamed “Fang”).
The film begins with the last hurrah of a small-town serial killer, a first ten minutes that sets the jabbering pace, as we’re volleyed with multiple personalities, voodoo, and exploding ambulances. Sixteen Years Later: The seven kids born on the night The Ripper’s bloody reign ended gather for the annual “Ripper Day” anniversary observance. Shortly after, the resurrected Ripper, resembling a Klingon hobo, starts culling down the seven, leaving stage-blood and aborted subplots in his wake.
There are shades of Elm Street, with suburban parents hiding dark secrets and a cast of young unknowns, including a good Max Thieriot as the unstable chief suspect and a striking redhead named Zena Grey. All are kept busy by the mile-a-minute exposition of Craven’s 2,000-plus page script, which includes space for transmigrating souls and California Condors. But the silly story can be forgiven. Almost no other living director can instill such a sense of gleeful dread in the autumn woods…or in an ordinary house.
Visual: Rogue presents “My Soul To Take” on DVD with a pleasing 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are bold, and many shots appear quite deep. Skin tones are lifelike, and blacks only occasionally become murky.
Audio: The film's 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track is aggressive, expertly balancing dialogue, effects and the score. The film’s aural jolts come through loudly, and the track sets the surroundings nicely by utilizing all the speakers for ambiance.
Subtitles: English SDH is included.
Extras: Audio commentary with director Wes Craven and cast members Max Thieriot, John Magaro and Emily Meade where the director attempts to clarify some of the madness, while the other participants make observations like, “Wow, it looks like it’s crashing into the screen.”
Also included are an alternate opening (1:34), two alternate endings (3:57) and deleted and extended scenes (21:46), some of which may have actually made the film more comprehensible.
Grade ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 stars
Distributed by C-Interactive Digital Entertainment
Available at all Astrovision and Astroplus branches nationwide
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