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Soul Survivors (2001)
Soul Survivors is Carnival of Souls retrofitted for the aughts with nothing new to say. It is like one of those cheesy 80s Twilight Zone remake episodes – or the really, really poor man’s Jacob’s Ladder.
Luke Wilson turns up playing a priest. Eliza Dushku’s character may as well be named Faith – so similar is this role to her Buffy the Vampire Slayer self. Wes Bentely is all dead eyed and akward creepiness. Hayden Christensen and Josh Hartnett get flak for not being able to act – what about this guy? Angela Featherstone fares better as a androgynous club goer. Melissa Sagemiller, the star of the show, is mostly wan and wishy-washy – Sagemiller has talent but the script boxes her in at every turn. Casey Affleck plays her angelic suitor who dies in a tragic car accident before she has the chance to tell him she loves him and is seemingly attempting to contact her from the other side, all cryptic warning like.
It is way too easy to see where this is heading and the only really interesting scene comes when the big midterm rolls around. Sagemiller’s character scans the questions – tellingly Shakespeare’s “There are more things in heaven and earth” quote and Dante’s “Abandon all Hope” pop up in essay form – as blood begin to pour out of her mouth and nose. The soundtrack is terrible and features mostly obnoxious songs from bands that apparently were popular when this was filmed – which was 1999 although it didn’t actually get released until two years later.
Soul Survivors is too damn flat and lifeless – which I guess it could be argued, was an obvious choice made by the director to help reflect the murky state these characters find themselves in – but it just looks crummy and never feels otherworldly enough. You’d suppose with this being a story that has been done oh so many times, the filmmakers would have at least picked up something from their predecessors – keep hoping. Dead on arrival. D+