A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this supernatural slasher about a serial killer who may have returned from the dead is full of slicing and dicing, with gallons of blood on display. There are also two instances in which adults hit teens. Language is quite strong, with many uses of "f--k" and "s--t." There are some sexual situations, including one involving teen pregnancy, but not much is shown onscreen. Most of the lead characters are 16, and the movie is being presented in 3-D (which, of course, makes everything that much more intense), so it's primed for teen consumption.
What's the story?
In the small town of Riverton, a killer ("The Riverton Ripper") went on a rampage and slashed up several victims with a hunting knife. The very moment he died in an ambulance crash, seven children were simultaneously born in a nearby hospital. Sixteen years later, on the anniversary of that day, the teens still talk about the killer -- and about the possibility that he might return from the dead to kill again. Lo and behold, more killings begin, and this time, the seven teens appear to be the targets (as well as anyone else who gets in the way). A teen nicknamed "Bug" (Max Thieriot), who seems to be at the center of everything, begins hearing the voices and seeing images all of the souls around him. When he learns a terrible secret about his childhood, he discovers that he's a lot closer to the killings than he ever expected.
Is it any good?
Wes Craven wrote and directed MY SOUL TO TAKE, and he proves that although he might not be the most gifted scribe in the world, he's still a highly skilled director. Craven has a unique visual style and an aptitude for planting potential scares everywhere you look. His story of a possibly supernatural serial killer doesn't always make sense; sometimes the souls of living people speak through the teen hero, Bug, as opposed to dead ones. And the connection between souls and killings is never quite clear.
But the silly story can be forgiven. Almost no other living director can instill such a sense of gleeful dread in the autumn woods ... or in an ordinary house. Every wall, corner, and doorway is a potential hiding place and a potential source of danger. Craven's timing and use of three-dimensional space is practically unequalled. Better still, his sheer pleasure comes through in every frame; this is a man who loves filmmaking, rather than simply cranking out another teen horror fest.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How did it affect you? How does its impact compare to that in other horror movies you've seen?
How does Bug grow and change over the course of the film? Does he learn to become a grown-up during his ordeal? Does he learn to take on responsibility?
- In theaters: October 8, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: February 8, 2011
- Cast: Emily Meade, John Magaro, Max Thieriot
- Director: Wes Craven
- Studios: Rogue Pictures, Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, and pervasive language including sexual references
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.