This Day in Horror

12 November 2012

Dead Souls 2012 - REVIEW

Ghost films have never really been my thing but for some reason I've been watching a TON of them lately. I know I'm way behind on this one but it's been trapped like a spirit with unfinished business in my DVR since it aired and I finally found time to sit and watch it. No matter how disappointing Can You Survive a Horror Movie was, you have to admit that Chiller TV has been pretty consistent with their originals. I really dug Steve Niles' Remains, Ghoul was entertaining and now we have Dead Souls.

On his 18th birthday, Johnny Petrie (Jesse James) learns he was adopted when he inherits a farm in Maine, abandoned for the 18 years since his natural family died at the hands of his father, the local preacher. Eager for a new life, he leaves home to start over in his new dwelling. However, as he digs into his past, he soon uncovers the horrifying details of his father's questionable teachings. In a frightening revelation, he also learns that his return has revived decades-old forces trapped in the home and sets in motion a heart-stopping finale to a ritual that already claimed the lives of his family.

We basically only have three, maybe four main characters to follow here as the rest of the cast kinda pop in and out as needed. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the level of acting in this film. Even the actors with less screen time gave it their all, which is important because even the slightest "I don't want to be here" attitude can screw up a film. James played his part very well and seemed to adapt easily to the dramatic changes his character had to go through. I'm not very familiar with Magda Apanowicz's work but she was pretty impressive herself as hard ass Emma. And of course you'd expect nothing less than perfection from veteran actors Geraldine Hughes and  Bill Moseley which is exactly what you get. Moseley is the paranoid retired Sheriff that was involved in the original case. He shows up about half way through the film to help fill in all the details. Hughes doesn't get as much screen time but does a good job portraying James' devoutly Christian mother who is dead set (no pun intended) against him discovering anything about his past.

Writer John Doolan, who also penned Remains, spent a lot of time developing the character of Johnny Petrie. As I mention above, his character goes through some pretty radical changes during the course of the film. In fact, he spent so much time on Petrie that we never found out anything else about the other characters. I don't think the film suffered because of it but it would've been nice to have some answers to Apanowicz's Emma. Why was she squatting in the house? What was she running/hiding from and why? They hint to her being a local because she knew the Conroy history but that's about as detailed as it got. We were given just about as much info on Moseley's character. A hint here and there about why he retired, a brief conversation between characters about him dabbling in the super natural.

I really got into Dead Souls. I thought Director Colin Theys did a good job crafting a very intense made for TV horror film. Granted, filmmakers can get away with a lot more graphic images these days. It's nice to see someone spook an audience subtly using only shadows and some creepy music. Speaking of creepy music, I don't think I've ever been as creeped out by "The Spider and the Fly" song as I was watching this movie. You'll hear it in the trailer below.
I've read a lot of negative reviews on this film and while it wasn't perfect, Dead Souls was definitely intriguing. Maybe I like it because I don't regularly expose myself to this type of film but who knows. It left me with a very uneasy feeling and I don't get those very often. If you're a fan of haunting type films, I'd say give this one a try. In my opinion it's definitely worth the 90+ minutes you'll spend on it. Or, if you're looking for a good "intro to horror" film, this would be one of those as they don't go real heavy on the scares or the gore.

1 comment:

  1. Reviewer:Scott McQueen
    I would recommend to all viewers to buy this movie because it depicts on American way and religion about Ancestor worship"and yes I liked it even I rate this movie ****/ stars on the whole film.

    ReplyDelete