Dear Principal Vernon,
My Soul To Take took away more than just my soul. It took nearly two hours of my life and won’t give them back. I’ve never been this disappointed in Craven offering. Never like this. I was pretty sure that Wes Craven and I actually shared a brain at one point what with all the religious, good vs. evil, reality bending concepts and all (and what I mean by that is I took a lot of acid in the 60’s). This one pretty much confirmed that we don’t share a brain, but in fact we may still be twin, mental brothers from separate mothers (I’m the unsuccessful disappointment and he’s the mad genius but we share DNA).
It’s the story of a serial killer on the loose who turns out to be the most unassuming family man. In a police raid the murderer is nearly killed but manages to survive only to lose his life, finally, in an ambulance accident. Sometime in the future a group of kids who were all born on the date of the killer’s demise have formed an Urban Legend based gang that meets to prevent the killer from returning. The circle is broken and the killer returns… but how? :spooky scary organ music ala Scooby Doo: The teens are forced to solve the mystery as to who is killing them while figuring out how the ghost of a once dead serial killer might be murdering them all.
What we have here is Wes Craven revisiting several of his most famous and effective plot devices. Teens stick together to try and face evil as if it were a rite of passage (Last House on the Left, Nightmare on Elm Street). Murderer of the very innocent dies, but is not really dead (Shocker, Nightmare on Elm Street). Faceless killer who can’t be the killer (Freddy Krueger, Shocker). So Wes smashes a couple of his old plots together and then consults John Hughes to ask if he can borrow poetic license and recreate the horror-themed Breakfast Club sans the hi jinx and funny principal. Did I mention the ambulance accident was ever so reminiscent of Halloween IV? Well it was!
With all the previews lookin’ rather fun I may have expected too much from this. Very glad to have missed this one in the theatre as I would have wasted a few dollars to see movies I’ve already seen. It’s got a few subtle Harry Potter esque twists (combine all the horocruxes and you can kill the bad guy). The murders are fun and somewhat shocking although I would say the primary “kill-fluence” is Scream on this one.
One last note before I break out of this poor review of a poorer movie. There is one redeeming quality. The condor references elude to something heavy metal, like a spirit animal combined with Iron Maiden. Something brilliant and fun. There’s a classroom sequence that features a student dressed up as a six foot tall, menacing black raptor. I urge you to watch this scene and laugh and remember what it was like to be the outcast. It was the only scene that gave me hope that this puppy would be worth the donation of time given to watch it and despite the fact that this movie let me down, that scene may be worth that watch (the jury is very much still out).
The Breakfast Club
… I mean Dr. Terror (I confuse myself with Anthony Michael Hall all the time… but secretly I want to be Judd Nelson).