My Soul to Take

Wes Craven has had his share of ups and downs over the years (for every “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” there’s a “Shocker”), but when he fails, he fails hard, as is painfully evident with his latest film, “My Soul to Take.” Though it’s admirable of Craven to try and reinvigorate the slasher genre by introducing a horror villain for a new generation, the Riverton Ripper – a serial killer who reemerges 16 years after his mysterious disappearance to stalk a group of local kids who were born on the same day – simply doesn’t compare to icons like Freddy Krueger or Ghostface. It doesn’t help that Craven keeps him hidden for most of the film, because not only is there no suspense to the story, but the twist ending that he’s trying to protect is built around a single lie that falls apart as soon as the killer’s identity is revealed. The Ripper also isn’t very scary, and when he does come out to kill, it’s done in perhaps the most nonchalant, uninspired ways possible. Then again, the victims aren’t really deserving of any better, as they’re little more than cardboard cutouts of what I can only imagine Craven believes to be an accurate representation of modern day teenagers. This is low-grade horror at its worst, and unless you’re looking for some cheap laughs by skewering the movie “MST3K”-style, you’d be well advised to keep your distance.

Click to buy “My Soul to Take”

  

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Friday night trailer: The officially official “Scream 4” trailer

“Scream 4” had a trailer that got pulled earlier this, but this one appears to be for realsies.

This looks kind of fun but also way too cute. I liked the “I’ll be right back” joke, but then I’ve never seen the point of repeating this movie idea — indeed, I’ve only actually seen the first one. (I sped through the opening scene with Drew Barrymore, because Wes Craven is a kind of genius and I’m a big fat cinema chicken sometimes).

H/t /Film, appropriately enough. Oh, and my favorite scary movies are probably “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” “The Haunting,” “The Innocents,” “The Bride of Frankenstein,” and “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” are all up there.

  

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This may be why people keep complaining about sequels

I admit that as a bit of a cinema chicken with my famously mixed feelings about horror, particularly of the slasher variety, I’ve only actually seen the original “Scream” — and only made it past the brilliantly terrifying opening with the help of the fast forward button. Still, and I hate to keep bagging on Wes Craven, who I respect, this teaser trailer for the long-awaited-by-someone-I’m-sure “Scream 4” really feels warmed over. How far can you keep building up this kind of self-awareness before you lose all human feeling? Or, maybe I’ve got it wrong. Or maybe it’s just a hastily rushed out, poorly put-together trailer to try to make everyone forget about Craven’s fiscally and critically disastrous “My Soul to Take.” See for yourself.

H/t Merrick of AICN, who informs us that this is a slightly expanded version of the trailer featured on this year’s Scream awards.

  

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Weekend box office: “The Social Network” wins the popularity contest a second time

There weren’t a lot of big surprises this weekend. As I guessed might happen on Thursday, the rather run-of-the-mill competition from “Life As We Know It” and “Secretariat” was not enough to surpass the second week showing of the Oscar-trending drama from director David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, one of the very few writers around that audiences might actually know.

According to Box Office Mojo’s weekend chart, “The Social Network” earned an estimate of $15.5 million. It’s also worth nothing that it’s actually in a few hundred fewer theaters than either of the new films it’s competing against. It’s healthy per screen average of $5,594 makes the fiscal victory, modest as it is, a bit sweeter. It’s week 2 drop was modest as well, just 30.9%. Those Academy Award legs may already be showing.

Speaking of the competition, the strangely premised “Life As We Know It” came in second with an estimate of over $14.6 million. Tween girls and degenerate gamblers apparently didn’t come through that much for their favorite animal, so “Secretariat,” about the Triple Crown winning horse of the early seventies, merely didn’t win or place, but it did show with an estimate of $12.6 million.

The 3D bump, and a truly idiotic publicity stunt, failed director Wes Craven’s return to the dead teenager genre. “My Soul to Take” set a new record low for 3D movies with an estimate of only a bit over $6.9 million, in fifth place behind Zack Snyder’s surprisingly leggy owl animated movie that I don’t feel like typing the name of right now.

It's Kind of a Funny StoryThe semi-limited release of the dramedy with indie roots, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” did lackluster business to match its unexciting reviews — a disappointment given the track record of directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden.  It generated only an estimate of $2 million and change in 742 theaters.

Among truly limited releases, the winner this week in terms of per-screen averages was Charles Ferguson’s Wall Street/fiscal collapse documentary, “Inside Job” which earned a bullish estimate of $21,000 per screen in two theaters. Shock value at one remove, however, was not enough for the remake of the ultra-controversial “video nasty,” “I Spit On Your Grave” which earned only an estimated $33,000 from 12 screens. “Tamara Drewe,” which you’ll be reading about here some more this week, did respectable business with $19,000 from four arthouse screens in L.A. and New York.

Doing strong business this week was the young John Lennon biopic, “Nowhere Boy,” and a movie I failed to mention last time. “Stone” with Edward Norton and Robert DeNiro, which premiered in six theaters. Yes, Ed Norton and Robert DeNiro’s new movie was in only six theaters this weekend.

And, finally, a quick housekeeping note. Columbus Day isn’t exactly a major holiday in Southern California, unless you work for the Post Office or a library — I don’t remember ever even getting a day off from school for it — and it’s certainly only a box office footnote in the movie business. Nevertheless, I need a breather while I catch up on other matters. So, while all the usual wackiness here at Premium Hollywood will continue from my highly esteemed colleagues, I’ll be taking a bit of a blogging break tomorrow and probably Tuesday.

  

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Two videos: good publicity stunt, bad publicity stunt (actually, a really, really bad one)

Johnny Depp visits a London school, in full Jack Sparrow regalia.

A (fortunately very fake looking) knifing at the premiere of Wes Craven’s return to slasher films, “My Soul to Take.” Someone at Rogue Pictures clearly needs to reexamine, well everything. Un-freaking-forgivable.

Really. Supremely idiotic and potentially dangerous. Man. They must be desperate. Also, not the kind of quality acting I’d expect from a class A fake murder.

  

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