HTF REVIEW: "Soul Survivors" (The Killer Cut)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 7, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Soul Survivors

    I am very happy to have the opportunity to
    start reviewing Artisan Home Entertainment
    product. With a very promising schedule this year,
    I am certain I'll be enjoying many of their releases.
    Unfortunately, Soul Survivors is not
    going to be one of them.
    You would think that from the producers of
    "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and
    "Urban Legend", that this newest venture,
    Soul Survivor, would hold much promise --
    especially with the DVD box promising: The Killer
    Cut! More blood! More sex! More terror than
    the theatrical release!

    Well, I can tell you right off the bat that
    the film isn't overly bloody, certainly not gory,
    and the fact that there is absolutely NO graphic
    nudity from the beautiful young women who star
    in this film is probably why I was terrified!
    What is even more disappointing, is that I am
    not really sure if I know what happened in this film.
    The story concerns College Freshman Cassie
    (Melissa Sagemiller) whom after a night of partying
    with her friends, ends up in a horrific accident.
    Her life suddenly turns into a tale of the supernatural
    as she is overwhelmed by hallucinations, not knowing
    what is real and what is not. As she clings to her
    lost love, Shawn (Casey Affleck), it's a sudden race
    against time to learn why she is being stalked by
    people who want her dead.
    The film plays more out to be a psychological
    thriller than a terror movie. It doesn't garner
    any real suspense nor does it pay off with any great
    scares. My biggest problem with the film was that
    by the time the film ended, I wasn't completely sure
    if characters were alive, dead, or what the final
    outcome really was.
    How does the transfer look?
    I have to tell you, this DVD ranks up there with
    the most beautiful transfers I have reviewed.
    Looking at the anamorphic transfer is almost like
    looking out a window. There is no grain, film
    blemishes nor artifacts of any kind that make you
    feel you are looking at film. The picture is
    astonishingly close to video perfection. Colors
    are extremely accurate, with flesh tones and hair
    colors looking dead-on (excuse the pun) perfect.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix is also as
    perfect as the video transfer. Audio is extremely
    crisp and natural sounding. You sit and hear the
    sound of wind softly blowing and leaves rustling in
    the trees. These effects are so subtle, but yet they
    rise above the soundtrack of the film.
    The rears are used to great advantage. For instance,
    in a rave held at an abandoned church, the intensity
    of the action is heightened by the pounding music
    that literally swirls from front to rear to front.
    There seems to be a constant amount of surround
    activity that effectively supplements some of the
    movie's more intensified scenes.
    My major gripe about this DVD is that it contains
    no English subtitling that would help the hard of
    hearing (like myself). The only subtitles included
    are in Spanish.
    Special Features
    Popping in the disc, you immediately come to a
    screen with three selections: REALITY. DREAM.
    NIGHTMARE. Upon first looking at this, I was
    sort of befuddled as to what I was supposed to do.
    Through trial and error I found out that these were
    simply three separate animated menu sequences that
    eventually all served the same purpose. You can
    select a REALITY sequence that shows the
    club techno sequence backed with techno music
    dissolving into the MAIN MENU. Select DREAM
    and softer music takes you through a lover's
    paradise full of hope that dissolves into the
    MAIN MENU. NIGHTMARE, backed by a pulsating
    rock soundtrack, taking us through the film's most
    nightmarish moments as it finally dissolves into
    the MAIN MENU.
    I must commend Artisan for a great effort in doing
    some superb menu structures. Unfortunately, you
    cannot switch between all of them on the fly. If
    you want to see each individual sequence, you need
    to eject the disc and let the initial menu reload.
    The good news is that the DVD contains Audio
    Commentary by actress Melissa Sagemiller (Cassie).
    The bad news is that it is not a running commentary
    nor a commentary that can be selected as a second
    audio option. In fact, to hear the commentary, you
    need to go to the SPECIAL FEATURES menu and look
    at a few selected scenes that she opted to add her
    own commentary to. The commentary is somewhat
    interesting as Melissa talks about filming in a old
    abandoned church with hundreds of extras, or how
    they filled her ears and nose with red corn syrup
    to show her bleeding.
    The DVD's first featurette, Behind the Deathmask,
    is a slickly produced four-minute behind-the-scenes
    documentary that talks with all the major actors and
    actresses, as well as selling us on the fact that
    this is the most riveting suspense film of our time.
    I was a bit perplexed as to what the second
    featurette, Living Dangerously - the art of
    Harvey Danger was all about. Well, Harvey
    Danger is the band that has a song in the first few
    minutes of the film. This humorous featurette
    actually turns out to be a student film that
    interviews a band that is pissed off that their music
    was improperly presented in the film.
    There are two Theatrical Trailersincluded
    as well sneak peek trailers for 5 other Artisan
    horror/suspense titles including Stir of Echoes,
    a film I enjoyed more than this one and recommend
    There are some interesting Animated Storyboards
    that first play automatically against the audio
    portion of the film, and then go into the actual
    filmed sequence. It's an interesting look at how
    a film is presented first in drawing to help the
    Director visualize how the scene will look filmed.
    There is a very nicely presented Cast and Crew
    segment that forgoes just the usual simple list of who
    did what, and instead tells us a little bit about
    each actor through small story snippets. There are
    nicely placed photos of the actors along with a list
    of their past film and television achievements.
    Final Thoughts
    It's almost a shame. Artisan has gone to great
    lengths to produce a rather nice Special Edition
    DVD (with some flaws in the design), but based on
    a movie that falls short of being everything it is
    touted to be.
    Soul Survivor manages to be entertaining,
    but I think most fans of the horror genre will walk
    away disappointed by its lack of punch.
    Release Date: February 26, 2002
  2. Rob Cooper

    Rob Cooper Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 9, 2001
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    I'm thinking about getting this for Eliza Dushku. The things you end up doing because of Buffy!
  3. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
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