Soul Survivors
Dead or alive? Sagemiller, Bentley, Dushku and Affleck wonder...
dir-scr Steve Carpenter
with Melissa Sagemiller, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck, Eliza Dushku, Luke Wilson, Angela Featherstone, Allen Hamilton, Carl Paoli, Ken Moreno, Barbara Robertson, Richard Pickren, Ryan Kitley
release US 7.Sep.01; UK 11.Jan.02
Artisan
01/US 1h25

1 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
life or death You can see that writer-director Carpenter (The Kindred) was going for something unusual here--a teen slasher film with The Sixth Sense's slow-burn pace and redefining final twist. But he fails to generate any interest whatsoever along the way. After a fatal car crash, Cassie (Sagemiller) is wracked with guilt because she was driving. Soon her world starts to slip around her as she has visions of her deceased boyfriend (Affleck). Then her fellow crash survivors (Bentley and Dushku) start acting very strangely indeed, and a trio of freaks (Featherstone, Paoli and Moreno) start popping up everywhere ... as does a kindly young priest (Wilson). So what's really going on?

The problem is that we don't even remotely care. The characters are set up using the most simplistic stereotypes, then Carpenter tries to throw us off the scent with quirky behaviour and lots of creepy dream sequences. But they're not remotely unsettling or scary. The result is dull and derivative, lacking enough logic to get through a single scene convincingly. Ominous pronouncements from beardy university professors don't help. Nor does Daniel Licht's Badalamenti Lite score. OK sure, there is a vague hook in the "What the heck is happening?" sense, as well as watching the fine young cast try to make something of such weakly defined characters. But this isn't even good enough to rent on video. Yawn.
themes, suspense, violence, language cert 12 7.Jan.02

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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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