Soul Survivors

on September 07, 2001 by Tim Cogshell
   "Soul Survivor" is a sub-par entry in the purgatory subgenre, retreading territory covered by much better films like "Carnival of Souls" and "Jacob's Ladder." Technically, that's giving it away, though the "twist" is obvious in the first 10 minutes.

   Here, four friends, Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller ), Annabel (Eliza Dushku), Matt (Wes Bentley) and Sean (Casey Affleck), spend one last night out together before scattering for college. Cassie is involved with Sean, though she and Matt were once an item--feelings Matt has yet to resolve, though he's ostensibly with Annabel. After an intense emotional encounter that leaves them at odds, there is an accident. For the balance of the movie we follow Cassie through a series of nightmarish visions and time-lapses. She seems to see images of her "dead" boyfriend; she's comforted by a young priest (Luke Wilson) who appears to be a guardian...yada yada. Not only is this storyline obvious from frame one, it continues to overstate itself throughout. And what's worse, after forcing the audience to sit through 80-odd minutes of over-stylized, oblique metaphors and foreshadowing, the filmmakers explain, in excruciating detail, exactly what's going on, just in case it eluded you somehow. Starring Melissa Sagemiller, Wes Bentley, Eliza Dushku, Angela Featherstone, Casey Affleck and Luke Wilson. Directed and written by Steve Carpenter. Produced by Stokely Chaffin and Neal H. Moritz. An Artisan release. Horror/Thriller. Rated PG-13 for terror/violence, sexuality and some substance abuse. Running time: 85 min

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