Directed by Stephen Carpenter, starring Melissa Sagemiller, Wes Bentley, Eliza Dushku, Casey Affleck and Luke Wilson.
Has a spooky movie curse descended on the young cast of 'American Beauty'? First Thora Birch dirties her CV with the horror-by-numbers of 'The Hole' and now it's the turn of her 'Beauty' co-star Wes Bentley to go right down market with this gratingly awful supernatural thriller.
Before starting college Cassie (Sagemiller) sets off for a night out with boyfriend Sean (Affleck), buddy Annabel (Dushku) and former beau Matt (Bentley). Bypassing the usual dorm parties, they end up at a club in a disused church (cue bad industrial music, lots of black leather and women who fancy each other), where Cassie snogs Matt in full view of Sean. Failing to clear the situation up, Cassie then tries to drive them home only to end up in a car crash with some club regulars (men with long hair, women with short hair, lots of black leather). Sean dies, leaving Cassie traumatised at what was left unsaid and her two friends trying to pick up the pieces. But nothing or no-one offers respite from her wide awake nightmares and soon she's visited by Sean and chased by strangers.
Mixing 'The Sixth Sense' and 'Jacob's Ladder' for the younger end of the teen market, 'Soul Survivors's potential for chills is hilariously cancelled out by the rent-a-plank acting (especially Wilson as a compassionate priest) and a script which only calls for soundbytes in between the screams. Through it all, Sagemiller's orders are, if in doubt, shriek while Bentley looks so lost that you expect him to come to at any minute, ask for his P45 and seek out a rep company in the middle of Alaska where he can forget about this film.
For over 45 minutes, Carpenter can't make his mind up whether he wants to do with Cassie and the result is a plot that seems to do 360 skids before he settles on an outcome you see coming from a long way off. And while he builds up to the ending with some decent visuals, you'd probably get the same enjoyment out of watching a public safety advert.