Soul Survivors: The Killer Cut (Stephen Carpenter, 2001)
[originally posted 11Nov2002]
Stephen Carpenter returns from a 15-year hiatus from directing (during which he wrote the screenplays to the muddled 1991 Dean Koontz adaptation The Servants of Twilight and the 1999 Hollywood smash Blue Streak) with Soul Survivors, released in R-rated form on video. (“The Killer Cut: More sex! More blood! More terror!”) It should probably tip you off that Carpenter’s three previous directorial efforts were The Power (1980), The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1981), and Kindred (1986). You probably never saw any of them. You’re a better person for that.
It’s hard not to like any movie in which Angela Featherstone (Cracker) gets naked, especially when being pawed by Eliza Dushku (Bring It On) at the time. But worry not, Carpenter tries his best to get you not to like it. The premise revolves around Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller, in her biggest role to date) and her three friends Annabel (Dushku), Matt (American Beauty’s Wes Bentley), and Sean (Casey Affleck from Good Will Hunting, Ocean’s Eleven, etc.). Sean is her current boyfriend; Matt is an ex. On the night before the four of them are to part ways for college, they go out to a mysterious rave. On the way home, Cassie, fighting with Sean, loses control of the car and crashes, killing Sean. She comes unhinged after that, having a nervous breakdown at college, and returns home, where Matt takes a semester off from Harvard to care for her. Despite this, she keeps seeing the two guys from the rave who were in the other car involved in the accident stalking her…
Unfortunately, to compare this to the film of which it’s a painful second-rate ripoff would be to give away the ending. But those who have seen the far superior film from a decade before this will catch on not long after this turkey has begun. (Think “being mugged by Santa Claus.” That should give enough of a mental jog to those who saw it.) Can’t find a single way to recommend this, makeout scene between Dushku and Featherstone notwithstanding. Okay, come to think of it, if you’re a diehard Cracker fan who’s always wanted to see Angela Featherstone topless… * ½
(red band) Trailer.