My Soul to Take
My Soul to Take is a 2010 American slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven. It is his first film since 1994's Wes Craven's New Nightmare that he wrote, produced, and directed. The film stars Max Thieriot as the protagonist Adam "Bug" Hellerman, who is one of seven teenagers chosen to die.
|My Soul to Take|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wes Craven|
|Written by||Wes Craven|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Peter McNulty|
|Distributed by||Rogue Pictures|
|Box office||$21.5 million|
The film was unsuccessful at the box office, and has a 10% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The film's title comes from a line in the prayer "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep", which reads "If I shall die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." The prayer features in the film.
Family man Abel Plenkov (Raul Esparza), a sufferer of schizophrenia, accidentally discovers that he is the Riverton Ripper, a local, masked serial killer. After killing his pregnant wife, Sarah (Alexandra Wilson), and then his psychiatrist, he is shot down and carted away in an ambulance, leaving his young daughter Leah and premature son orphaned. On the way to the hospital, a paramedic (Danai Gurira) suggests that Plenkov himself is innocent but that he houses multiple souls, with the Ripper's being one of them. Near death, Plenkov unexpectedly revives, slashing the paramedic in the throat, causing the ambulance to crash and burn and seemingly escapes.
Sixteen years later, the Riverton Seven—blind Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), loser Alex (John Magaro), imaginative Jay (Jeremy Chu), timid Bug (Max Thieriot), religious Penelope (Zena Grey), beautiful Brittany (Paulina Olszynski), and jock Brandon (Nick Lashaway)—gather for the annual ritual of "killing" a Ripper puppet to superstitiously prevent his return. Bug is elected but fails. Not long after, Jay is murdered by the reappeared Ripper. At home, Bug begins to redo a class project, exhibiting Jay's creativity.
At school, Brandon torments Bug and Alex on orders of Fang (Emily Meade), a tyrannical bully. Bug and Alex decide to spy on Fang to see if Brittany has a crush on him. During their surveillance, Fang cruelly alleges that Bug had previously been in institutions for killing people. Bug begins unwittingly imitating the rest of the Riverton Seven, including Fang. Penelope, having predicted the Ripper's return as well as their deaths, is the next one killed. Brandon and Brittany discover her body in the woods and are both stabbed to death also.
That night, Fang, who is revealed to be Bug's sister and going by her name of Leah, gives her brother a birthday present: a rocking horse created by Abel Plenkov. Angrily, she unveils the truth that had long been hidden: that they are his children and she is the daughter he had failed to kill; Bug had survived in his dead mother's womb albeit born prematurely. Everyone saw him as a miracle, which caused Fang to harbor lifelong resentment towards him; she had been traumatized by the event but he remained innocent of its memory. The two reconcile, but are informed of the murders.
Alex visits a distressed Bug and theorizes that the Ripper's evil soul jumped into one of the Riverton Seven, forcing them to kill off the others. Downstairs, Bug and Fang encounter the Ripper. Just as Bug is about to be killed, the Ripper hears a noise upstairs. Bug goes back to his room, discovering Jerome, mortally wounded, in his closet. After Jerome dies, Alex reappears and suggests that Bug inherited schizophrenia from his father, and had unknowingly killed everyone. Bug rejects this idea. The souls of the dead Seven are now part of him, and together they help him deduce that Alex is, in fact, the one with the Ripper's soul. "Alex" admits guilt and confesses his revenge. He proposes that they kill Fang and pin the murders on Jerome to appear as heroes. Bug refuses, stabbing Alex in the stomach. Freed from the Ripper's soul, Alex dies as himself in a touching moment between best friends.
Although Bug expects to be arrested, Fang tells the police everything, clearing his name. The town proclaims him a hero. Despite not feeling like one, he narrates that he would "fake it good" in order to honor Alex's memory.
- Max Thieriot as Adam "Bug" Hellerman
- John Magaro as Alex Dunkelman
- Denzel Whitaker as Jerome King
- Zena Grey as Penelope Bryte
- Nick Lashaway as Brandon O'Neil
- Paulina Olszynski as Brittany Cunningham
- Jeremy Chu as Jay Chan
- Emily Meade as Leah "Fang" Hellerman
- Raul Esparza as Abel Plenkov
- Jessica Hecht as May Hellerman
- Frank Grillo as Det. Frank Patterson
- Danai Gurira as Jeanne-Baptiste
- Harris Yulin as Dr. Blake
- Shareeka Epps as Chandelle King
- Dennis Boutsikaris as Principal Pratt
- Felix Solis as Chela
- Trevor St. John as Lake
- Lou Sumrall as Quint
- Alexandra Wilson as Sarah Plenkov
- Michael Bell as Podcast guest
The film is produced by Anthony Katagas and first-time producer Iya Labunka, Craven's wife.
Henry Hopper, son of late actor Dennis Hopper, was originally cast in the lead role of Bug, but was replaced by Thieriot after Hopper contracted mononucleosis. Accompanying Thieriot is John Magaro as Alex Dunkelman, Adam's friend who is abused regularly by his sadistic boorish stepfather, Quint (Lou Sumrall). Paulina Olszynski plays Brittany Cunningham, who shares a mutual secret attraction to Adam. Nick Lashaway plays Brandon O'Neal, a "dashing, athletic jock" and "the handsomest boy in his school" who is attracted to Brittany. Emily Meade plays Leah ("Fang"). (Zena Grey), Denzel Whitaker, Trevor St. John, Raúl Esparza, and Shareeka Epps also star.
Production began in April 2008, under the working title 25/8, originally aiming for an October 2009 release. Craven described the killer in March 2009 as "a figure who lives under the river", eats bark, and lives in the woods since his alleged death.
Although many of the main scenes were filmed in multiple rural Massachusetts towns, with the majority of outdoor scenes by the river and covered bridge being shot in Kent, CT at Bull's Bridge, many of the high school scenes were shot in the then-vacant Tolland High School (now Tolland Middle School) in Tolland, Connecticut. Other scenes were filmed in New Milford, CT and Gaylordsville, CT and Westhill High School in Stamford, CT.
My Soul to Take was theatrically released on October 8, 2010, with screenings in 3-D. The trailer was attached to Resident Evil: Afterlife and Devil. The film opened at #4 on its opening Friday, but ultimately placed at #5 for the weekend with $6,842,220 behind The Social Network, Life as We Know It, Secretariat, and the previous 3D screen holder Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, in its third weekend. It had placed the record for the lowest opening of a 3D film released at over 1500 venues, claiming the record from Alpha and Omega until Gulliver's Travels claimed the record two months later.
At the end of its run, the film had grossed $14,744,435 at the US box office and $6,740,619 overseas for a worldwide total of $21,485,054. My Soul to Take was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 8, 2011.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2015)
The film holds an 10% on Rotten Tomatoes from 61 reviews; the average rating is 3/10. The consensus is: "Dull, joyless, and formulaic, My Soul to Take suggests writer/director Wes Craven ended his five-year filmmaking hiatus too soon." On Metacritic, the film has a 25 out of 100 rating based on 13 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Despite the negative reviews, Wes Craven said he was really proud of the movie: "When you do a film like My Soul to Take and people think it sucks, that hurts. We put a lot of work into it and it’s a good film, but you go on."
- Fritz, Ben (October 7, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Secretariat' and 'Life As We Know It' will battle 'Social Network' for No. 1". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
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- Fleming, Michael (February 12, 2008). "Craven to direct '25/8' for Rogue". Variety.com. Retrieved September 26, 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "My Soul to Take". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved October 28, 2009.
- Rotten, Ryan. "Craven Details the Villain of 25/8". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
- "Craven filming at old Conn. high school". UPI. April 5, 2008.
- Ryan Turek (May 19, 2010). "3D Conversion for Craven's Soul". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
- "Wes Craven's 'My Soul To Take' Gets Release Date".
- Gulliver's Travels opened on a Saturday, and thus its weekend was cut short. Drive Angry claimed the record in February 2011, even if you count Gulliver's Travels.
- My Soul to Take (2010) Max Thierot, Denzel Whitaker, Shareeka Epps Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "My Soul to Take". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 9, 2015.