Soul Survivors (2001)

PG-13   |    |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller


Soul Survivors (2001) Poster

A co-ed is caught between the world of the living and the dead.


3.9/10
7,934

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  • Wes Bentley in Soul Survivors (2001)
  • Wes Bentley and Eliza Dushku in Soul Survivors (2001)
  • Soul Survivors (2001)
  • Melissa Sagemiller in Soul Survivors (2001)
  • Melissa Sagemiller in Soul Survivors (2001)
  • Soul Survivors (2001)

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11 April 2002 | darkjosh
4
| Derivative Psychological Thriller Posing as Teen Horror
Like a relative that gives you a bad gift, Soul Survivors has its heart in the right place but trips up with a bad execution. Stephen Carpenter's writing/directing effort borrows freely from other, better films, such as Jacob's Ladder and Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes). For those who haven't seen either of these films, I won't give the premise away; suffice to say it's not nearly as well handled here than in those two superior films.

Melissa Sagemiller stars as Cassie, about to go away to college. Her current boyfriend Sean (Ben Affleck) and ex-boyfriend Matt (Wes Bentley), both friends, and Annabel (acerbic Eliza Dushku) are in a car accident after being pursued by two killers (?) in transparent masks. She survives the wreck, but while attending college has visions of the hospital ordeal and dead people reappear and disappear, leaving her in a state of total confusion: who is dead? Who's alive? What's real?

Soul Survivors has the look of a bad been-there, done-that, gore-filled, blood-splattered, body-stacking teen exploitation flick. True, it has its share of killer-stalking-the-victim scenes (plentiful, repetitive, and mind-numbing), but at least it attempts to build suspense through ideas rather than cliches, unfortunately rather unsuccessfully. It breeds confusion much more often than cohesion, as the story becomes jumbled, messy and incoherent near key points of the mystery (predictable as it is.)

Horror fans who pick up a copy will have no idea they are in for a film that is more concerned with building an uneasy facade of reality than delivering a body count. Credit goes to Carpenter for attempting to create something beyond a derivative teen horror flick; too bad he's created a derivative psychological thriller. Sagemiller also deserves kudos for showing strength in the central performance, actually developing her character and evoking some sense of emotion as the unraveling Cassie. It's great the filmmakers try something different, but the film ends up a mixed bag and failed experiment.

4 out of 10

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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Marsden turned down the role of Sean in favor of the part of Scott Summers/Cyclops in X-Men (2000).


Quotes

Raven: Your friends aren't your friends anymore.


Goofs

When Cassie is lying next to Raven in the hospital, Raven's chest is alternately covered and uncovered between shots.


Alternate Versions

The Video and DVD releases include the unedited "R" rated version (called 'the Killer Cut'), featuring:

  • A different opening to the movie. This establishes how the scarred and masked men are killers. They attack a girl named Kathy who leaves a party. She has the same symbol that is stamped onto her hand as Cassie and the others. The killers grab her, throw her to the ground, tape her mouth shut, and then slit her wrists, squeezing the blood out of the cut.
  • A briefly shown scene of a girl with a see-through top at the Rave party. The brief sex scene between Cassie and Sean is stronger. It shows her remove her top(facing away from the camera).
  • The lesbian scene between Annabel and Raven is stronger too. They are shown kissing more graphically (licking each others tongues), and then Annabel rips open Raven's shirt which shows her breasts to the camera. Annabel then very briefly caresses Raven's breasts before running away.
  • Cassie opens up a locker to find that her dinosaur that she grabbed in the beginning has been decapitated with blood all over the inside of the locker and on the dinosaur's head and body.
  • The scene where Cassie is chased by the killer has more blood. After she has smashed the light bulb over the killers' head and gotten grabbed by him again, she plunges the light bulb through his stomach and it shows it come out the other side. Lots of blood then pours out of the tube onto the ground.
  • The scene where Cassie dreams that the drill goes near her head has been made longer. It actually shows the drill go into her head, which causes blood to come out.
  • The scene where Annabel and Raven are in the bathroom at the Rave has more to it. When Cassie enters the bathroom, a guy runs out of the stall where Cassie and Raven are. Then when Cassie looks around the corner to see whats gong on in the stall, Annabel is standing up with her legs spread to Raven. Raven brings her head back from being close to between Annabel's legs, and says "love these unisex bathrooms".
  • 4 uses of the word "fuck": (2 from Annabel in the bar, 1 from Cassie in the bar, 1 from Matt inside a car, outside of the Rave).
  • An alternate ending in which Cassie wakes up besides Sean and sits up in bed, grabbing her chest/neck and gasping for breath. Sean then sits up and asks her "That dream again?" to which she nods yes.


Soundtracks

If Only
Written by
Josh Homme (as Josh Homme) & Alfredo Hernandez
Performed by Queens of the Stone Age
Courtesy of Loosegroove/Lakeshore Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Horror | Mystery | Thriller

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