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MOVIE REVIEW

My Soul to Take

Craven’s 3-D film will make you jump -- for the exits

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By Wesley Morris
Globe Staff / October 9, 2010

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The crime of 3-D is that, with a bad movie, the technology holds you hostage. It’s inexplicable why you have to wear the glasses, which, honestly, start to hurt a little. They always do, but when you don’t need them the indignity hurts even more. I watched at least a quarter of “My Soul to Take,’’ the worst horror movie Wes Craven’s made perhaps ever, with the glasses off. It was shot — and is available — in a standard format, and, like many conversions, the 3-D gimmick is like watching a movie through an ashtray.

The movie tells a tale of a generic town — it’s in Massachusetts — with a serial-killer hangover. A madman is fatally apprehended but apparently survives by squatting in the bodies of seven kids born simultaneously in the same hospital the night he died. I should apologize to Wes Craven if I’m getting something wrong. I’ve seen the movie and read the synopsis. But I never knew what was going on for very long. I’m not sure Craven knows, either. Why are the kids, with whom we catch up 16 years later, offed so randomly? Characters die simply because they must, but not without first delivering reams of exposition.

The killer has long crypto-dreadlocks and a face we don’t really see. He might be one of the teens. He might have wandered over from the set of “Predator 14.’’ The parents here know more than they’re telling, and the secrecy angers the kids. It’s Craven’s “Nightmare on Elm Street’’ done as a CW drama.

To the movie’s credit, its badness isn’t unappealing. The incoherence is actually interestingly weird. There’s a dream-like character to the movie’s sloppiness. Metaphysics and Native American mysticism emerge as themes, and there’s a well-choreographed mirroring moment between the resident head case, Bug (Max Thieriot), and his exasperating friend, Alex (John Magaro), that feels almost psychological. The whole thing is halfhearted and unfocused, though. And why the 3-D? With a bad movie, putting the glasses in your lap once in a while is a sort of rejection. After 15 minutes, you want to take your eyes out, too.

Wesley Morris can be reached at wmorris@globe.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/wesley_morris.

MY SOUL TO TAKE

Written and directed by: Wes Craven

Starring: Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Paulina Olszynski, Emily Meade, Jessica Hecht, and Raúl Esparza

At: Boston Common, Fenway, suburbs

Running time: 107 minutes

Rated: R (strong bloody violence and pervasive language, including sexual references)

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