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Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: My Soul to Take

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Studio: Universal/Rogue

    Year: 2010

    Length:  1 hr 48 mins

    Genre:  Teen Horror

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

    BD Resolution: 1080p

    BD Video Codec: AVC (@ an average 35 mbps)

    Color/B&W: Color


    English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.5 mbps – higher during the scares)

    French DTS 5.1

    Spanish DTS 5.1

    English DVS 2.0

    Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

    Film Rating: R (Strong Bloody Violence, Pervasive Language, Sexual References)

    Release Date: February 8, 2011

    Written and Directed by: Wes Craven

    Starring:  Max Thieriot, Denzel Whitaker, Raul Esparza, Shareeka Epps

    Film Rating:    1 ½/5

    To be fair, I’ll try to discuss the positive aspects of My Soul to Take before going further into the review.  SPOILER FOR THIS SENTENCE:  There’s a kernel of a good story idea in the film – something to with reincarnation and multiple personalities, or with one personality fracturing into multiple souls.  END SPOILER.  There’s some nice scenic photography of Connecticut to look at.  The fresh-faced teens being led to the slaughter here seem to be a step evolved past their counterparts in earlier genre films like Friday the 13th.  And at least this isn’t the exercise in torture porn seen in the SAW movies or the recent Last House on the Left remake.   Now, what can be said about the rest of the movie?  Not a whole lot.  What we have here is a standard teen horror film, where the kids are menaced by a deep-voiced, dark-costumed maniac who apparently lives in the woods and emerges whenever a loud cattle prod is heard on the soundtrack.   The young performers are a bland mix of the usual types, although Emily Meade gets to go a little farther into goth territory. The direction by Wes Craven is efficient, but doesn’t really provide more than a few moments of creepy invention.  (A vision in a bathroom mirror has a nice kick to it, as does an early CGI shot of an infant’s hand in a womb.)   Apparently, the film was released in 3D in theaters, but it’s hard to see where this would have been effective.   It’s honestly hard for me to find a reason to recommend this title – unless the viewer is a die hard Wes Craven fan and simply must see every one of his films.

    My Soul to Take has been released on DVD and Blu-ray two weeks back.  The Blu-ray includes a 1080p AVC transfer, a DTS-HD MA sound mix, a commentary track, and some deleted and alternate scenes, all presented in high definition.  Aside from this, the Blu-ray includes the usual Blu-ray functionality, including  BD-Live, pocket BLU and the My Scenes bookmarking function, as well as D-Box functionality. 

    VIDEO QUALITY   3 ½/5

    My Soul to Take is presented in a 1080p AVC 2.35:1 transfer that certainly looks good, particularly the black levels during the many night sequences.  At the same time, there are several moments of CGI enhancement for blood and violence that announce themselves a bit more than I would prefer.   I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.

    AUDIO QUALITY   3 ½/5

    My Soul to Take is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, along with DTS mixes in French and Spanish, and an English DVS track.   As you might expect, the sound mix follows the usual pattern for horror – repeated scenes of quieter dialogue punctuated by sudden cattle prods in the subwoofer and bass as the killer goes into action.  Having seen enough of these movies to see a lot of these “stings” coming, I wasn’t really shocked by it.  There’s also the nearly requisite use of thrash rock music, particularly for the end titles.


    The Blu-Ray presentation of My Soul to Take comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity, pocket BLU and My Scenes functionality, as well as D-Box functionality, along with a commentary and some deleted material, all presented in high definition.

    Commentary with Wes Craven, Max Thieriot, John Magaro and Emily Meade  – This genial, scene-specific group commentary track finds Wes Craven enjoying the movie with some of his cast.  Occasionally, Craven throws in some production information about the Connecticut shoot, but the majority of the time is spent with the kids reacting to the onscreen fun. 

    Alternate Opening (1:33, 1080p) – A quick alternate opening featuring Max Thieriot is included here.

    Alternate Endings (3:55 Total, 1080p) – Two alternate endings are included here, both of which use the same scene but set it up in a different way.  The scene itself is probably the most interesting one in the movie, and it’s a shame Wes Craven couldn’t find a way to use it.  On the other hand, the sticker on the Blu-ray cover that says “2 Terrifying Alternate Endings!” is, to put it mildly, misleading.  The endings can be viewed individually, or via a “Play All” function.

    Deleted/Extended Scenes (21:44 Total, 1080p) –  Several deleted scenes are presented, most of which are simply extensions of material already seen in the film.  The best, and longest, of these scenes is a late expository scene between Max Thieriot and Emily Meade that provides the simplest and clearest explanation of what we’ve been seeing throughout the film.  And like the alternate ending, it simply wasn’t used in the film.  These scenes can be viewed individually, or via a “Play All” function.

    BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. 

    My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.

    Pocket BLU– This phone-related functionality is available for viewers with the right cellular equipment.

    D-Box– D-Box functionality is available for those viewers who have the appropriate home theater equipment.

    The film and the deleted scenes are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu. 

    IN THE END...

    My Soul to Take is a hard movie to recommend to anyone but the most dedicated Wes Craven fan.  The Blu-ray presentation is fine, and there’s some interesting deleted material on the disc, but there really isn’t enough here to even recommend a rental.  If there are Wes Craven fans out there who really liked this movie, I’ll be interested to read the feedback here.

    Kevin Koster

    February 23, 2011. 

  2. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer

    Nov 15, 2001
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    Neil Middlemiss
    Thanks for the review, Kevin. I had wanted to watch this film (I am a fan of Wes Craven) and saw your warning about how dull this was prior to watching it. You were spot on. I like scary movies, but the characters were borderline irritating and the idea at the core of the film poorly explored.

    I'd say a score 1.5 out of 5 is probably about right for the film.

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