tek's rating: ¼

My Soul to Take (R)
Bloody Disgusting; Dread Central (Blu-ray/DVD); IMDb; Kindertrauma; Rogue; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Universal; Wikipedia
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This came out in 2010, but I didn't see it until 2019. It was written and directed by Wes Craven. It did poorly both financially and critically, but I thought it was a decent movie.

It begins with a man named Abel Plenkov discovering to his horror that he, or rather one of his alternate personalities, is a serial killer known as the Riverton Ripper. He calls his psychiatrist to tell him about this, which prompts his alternate self to kill his pregnant wife, Sarah, and try to kill their 3-year-old daughter, Leah (whose name sounded to me like it was pronounced "Leia"). But the police get there and save the girl from her father. Plenkov survives multiple gunshots and stabbings before he's finally subdued, and taken away in an ambulance. However, he eventually escapes, causing the ambulance to crash and subsequently explode, and Plenkov apparently disappears into the nearby river. After that, he's never seen again, either dead or alive, so it's unknown whether or not he survived.

The movie flashes forward sixteen years, to the anniversary of the night in the opening scene. There are seven teenagers who were all born on that fateful night: Adam "Bug" Hellerman (Max Thieriot); his best friend (and bad influence) Alex Dunkelman; a jock and bully named Brandon O'Neil; a popular girl named Brittany Cunningham; a blind kid named Jerome King; an extremely religious girl named Penelope Bryte (she's pretty weird, but she was my favorite character in the movie); and Jay Chan. There's an annual tradition on "Ripper Night," of these seven gathering by the river to summon the infamous killer (or his ghost). Actually, there's a life-size Ripper puppet that one of the kids is supposed to symbolically "kill," to ensure their safety until the next year's Ripper Night. This year it's Bug's turn, but he's too scared to do it. And before much else can happen, the seven kids (and various other teenagers who had come to watch the ceremony) are chased away by the police.

Well, it's not long before Jay is killed by what appears to be the real Ripper (albeit one who looks much wilder and scarier than he did in life). But, as we eventually learn, there's a theory that the killer is either Abel Plenkov, who has somehow managed to survive all these years without being discovered, or else his soul had entered one of the seven babies born the night he died, so one of them is now the new Ripper. Meanwhile, we get to see a little bit of the "normal" lives of a few of the teenagers. Alex is abused by his stepfather. Brittany is... well, at first I thought she was like a typical "queen bee" character, but it soon turns out that the person who's really running things at their high school is an older girl called "Fang," who's got other kids like Brittany and Brandon doing her dirty work. Also, Bug has a secret crush on Brittany, which Alex encourages him to pursue. But Brandon seems to think of Brittany as his girl; he frequently harasses her, despite her constant rejection of his advances. (And despite the fact that Fang has basically ordered her to date him... and especially not to get involved with Bug.) Obviously, we never get a chance to know what is (or had been) going on in Jay's life, but we also don't get to know Jerome very well. Penelope is part of a prayer group, though I'm not sure whether it had any members besides her and the principal's daughter (who had been impregnated by Brandon). Also, I got the impression that Penelope might have a romantic interest in Bug, though I think that was a misdirection. Anyway, of all the kids, she seemed the most concerned about the potential return of the Ripper, even before anyone learned that Jay had been killed. And... we also get to see a bit of Bug's home life, with his mother, May (Jessica Hecht), and his older sister. (But there's a major twist concerning all of them that I don't want to spoil. Actually, I might say a few interconnected twists.) We also see a cop named Detective Frank Patterson investigating the murder of Jay, and later of others.

Throughout the movie, there are often very clear indications that Bug was almost certainly the new Ripper, which naturally made me assume he almost certainly wasn't. Either way, the kid's definitely got issues. But I don't want to spoil how it all ends. I'll just say that I can't really understand why critics (or audiences) didn't like it. (Well, aside from maybe a bit too much exposition in some spots, but I didn't feel like that was such a bad thing.)

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