The most picked apart issue with My Soul to Take is the plot and I must agree that it is the major fault. Forgive me here if you haven’t seen this yet and are intending to (for god’s sake why?) but the reason for Bugs and several other characters Multiple Personality Disorder is due to the fact that several other souls are inhabiting their body also. This probably wouldn’t be a major issue, if it was explained more clearly and wasn’t accepted so easily by characters. The whole “Soul” thing just comes across as a mess, the film appearing to want to spend more time setting Bug up as a possible suspect and examining him as a character than wanting to explore this. That’s not always a bad thing, indeed Bug as a character is probably the best thing in the whole movie, but the soul part of the plot ends up appearing ridiculous and unbelievable and makes very little sense. For example right at the very end the Ripper makes a remark about two characters early on in the film hopping into Bug when he was a baby, but this never goes any further. Why say it if you’re not going to explain it? Why complicate a plot that is already not explained enough? Another example is that in one scene its stated that Bug killed people and has had psychiatric help in the past and in another scene this is hinted at, but this is never explained at the end and doesn’t work with the offered explanation! I mentioned above that the whole “Soul” thing is believed too easily, it’s not only stated that this may be superstition but several times its actually called a “theory” and everyone treats it with plausibility. None of the teens ever seem to question its stupidity. The plot also seems to borrow heavily from Cravens Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and Scream (1996), eg: a character see’s visions of their dead friends, a town is haunted by the memory of a killer; it’s a “who done it” with one of the group being the killer.
Another large problem is that My Soul to Take does not seem to know what it wants to be. Large sections are amusing, large sections are played out like a teen drama, large sections are played out like a slasher flick and then other bits are just downright depressing. And rather sadly none of these work too well. The slasher scenes are dull and the kills are extremely unimaginative and not to mention extremely fake and cheap looking, the comedic scenes have jokes which are terribly out of date (the “Mothra” one being my personal favourite) and the “Teen-Drama” sections are terribly fake as all the characters are stereotypes we’ve seen a thousand times before. We have our Jerk-Jock, high school sweetheart who has a soft spot for the nerd, even the killer seems generic! Of course there are a few exceptions to this rule, the Gothic head of the social ladder Lea for example and not forgetting the aforementioned Bug.
I’m not really too sure what it is that appeals to me about the character Bug, after all nerdy shy innocent types have been seen before. I think too an extent it was that I was expecting yet another Clichéd, final girl slasher but it was nice that Bug was almost a ‘Final Guy’ if you will. Also I enjoyed the scenes that discussed his ‘Insanity’ immensely and thought they were the best things in this whole mess but to an extent they still stuck out when placed next to the comedic scenes and in places were almost uncomfortable to watch due to this. Bug just has no luck almost everything goes wrong for him and it’s kind of sad watching this after a while. The role is played perfectly by Max Theriot though and he is one of the few joys to be found, even when you’re led to believe that Bug is the killer you somehow still find yourself rooting for him.
I could go on and on picking problems with this film, the twist was too obvious etc, but I would be wasting my time. My Soul to Take is sadly just a waste of time for Slasher and indeed for horror fans. It’s a shame because it has great actors and a great Director, it just feels tired and used. Scream 4 showed that Craven still has it in him, so hopefully in time he will be able to erase this mess from the memories of cinema audiences.