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Soul Survivors (2001)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Steve Carpenter

Melissa Sagemiller/Cassie
Wes Bentley/Matt
Eliza Dushku/Annabel
Angela Featherstone/Raver
4 10
Cassie (Sagemiller) gets into a car crash and her boyfriend (Affleck) dies in the process. Afterwards, she begins to see his “ghost” here and there and some dude with a weird mask chases her around. Ok…
There’s not much to say about "Soul Survivors" period. It just didn’t feel like a whole movie to me. It’s more of a collage of tensionless, repetitive scenes (a chase, an apparition, a chase, an apparition…and so on) patched together with crazy lighting flashing about and loud music booming in the background. Apart from that, there isn’t much going on with this baby.

I suspect the extensive “studio” tinkering ruined this one. The film was supposed to be released a year ago but the “studio” wanted it cut down to a PG-13 (it was an R at first) so they delayed the release. I assume one cut became a hundred cuts until this butchered version was what was left. Notice how they dumped the movie like an un-wanted ex-girlfriend in the theatres. Where was the promotion for the film? Where were the critic's screenings? I guess they just gave up on it.

What’s left of "Soul Survivors" in terms of content is a good idea and that’s pretty much it. I mean, the harsh event in the beginning of the flick happened so fast that I never got around to caring about it. Then the bulk of the movie consisted mainly of Sagemiller (Cassie) running around, seeing things, crying and interacting with her poorly developed friends (apart from Cassie, all the characters were way too thin for me to give a damn about). And the cap-off, although ambitious and right up my alley (I love films that end this way) doesn’t fully satisfy because A) I saw it coming miles away (didn’t do a good job at hiding it) and B) what led to the finale was just way too ho-hum for me to feel involved enough to care about it.

On the plus side, Melissa Sagemiller (Cassie) gives a strong performance and is very likeable. The tunes are good and the director gives the film a very polished look. I also appreciated what we saw of the Affleck/Sagemiller love story, it was kind of sweet. But those positive things are not enough for me to recommend this film. It’s sad because you see this one going for a different kind of “teen” horror flick. Too bad "Soul Survivors" did not survive the big bad “studio”. It’s DOA.
We get a messy nosebleed; random splashes of blood…nothing to write home to mom about.
Melissa Sagemiller (Cassie) carries the film and lucky for me, I liked her. She gives a realistic, down to earth performance; she handles her emotional scenes very well and is just all around solid. Wes Bentley (Matt) doesn’t play a psychopath but he sure looks like one. Ever heard of blinking, dude? His character is weakly written and acted. Eliza Dushku (Annabel) plays a slut and that’s all there is to her character. Angela Featherstone (Raver) looks like a guy and I’m still not sure if she was supposed to be one or not in the movie. Her part is so thin that I didn’t care about her either. I like Luke Wilson (Father Jude) but here, he just looked out of place; didn’t work for me. Casey Affleck (Sean) delivers when he’s onscreen, his baby blue eyes help him a lot and his soft voice comes through (although it got annoying by the end).
T & A
Nada...but we do get two chicks in a shower fully dressed…are you excited? I know I am.
Carpenter treats this film like a painting. I loved his opening sequence with the rain changing color until it turned blood red. Throughout the movie his use of color stands out. He also treats his flick like a music video with crazy angles, quick cuts and a new song popping up at every scene. The film looks slick but it's unfortunate that the content doesn’t measure up.
I really liked the sad and somber score. The rock songs weren’t too distracting but what was up with that techno rave tune during a stalk sequence…didn’t work for me.
On a technical standpoint, "Soul Survivors" comes through. The director is obviously not a bum and manages to offer us some interesting images but unfortunately the film feels too empty and is too redundant to satisfy. I left the theatre feeling like I had just watched a music video. Hopefully when the DVD comes out, the film will be re-edited and offer a complete version. I want to judge this film in its entirety. Yes, we still have to wait to see the “true” Soul Survivors. Bummer…
This film was initially supposed to come out on September 15, 2000.

This film was shot in Chicago/Illinois and Gary/Indiana.

Director Carpenter refused to add a nude sex scene involving two chicks so the studio hired their own editor and re-cut the film several times. Great idea guys! (Why would they want a lesbian scene when they were aiming for PG-13? It makes no sense to me)

Steve Carpenter also wrote the screenplay for this movie.
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