"Desperate Souls" DVD
Time for a good old fashioned
study in duality, folks. Duality is the basic principle that says
two distinctly different traits can be in the same body. "Desperate
Souls," a little something new from Lions Gate, is an excellent
description of that. You'll be seeing excellent examples of duality,
explaining how a film can simultaneously kick ass and suck balls.
Often within seconds
of each other.
So what we have here
is an ancient druid book that somehow manages to fall into the hands
of orphans. That by itself doesn't make a whole lot of what could
be called sense, but even worse, somehow the orphans are going to
turn the book's capabilities against a bunch of teenagers out on
a camping trip.
Which, I confess, doesn't
sound like it's going to be a whole lot of fun. The evil, slightly
older version of the Little Rascals are going to find the Necronomicon
and use it against Yet Another Party of Camping Teenagers, Most
of Whom Will Be Dead Before The Closing Credits Roll?
Not exactly a good movie
This is before the twists
Trust me, there will
be twists. The movie has scarcely begun and already there are plot
And yet, somehow, despite
all rational logic and good sense, the first two minutes should
get and hold your attention. The first two minutes are done as news
footage of what was found after the fact, making the whole rest
of the movie almost a flashback.
Then, about fifteen minutes
in, we get treated to some really lousy acting. Watch the exchange
between Nick, former orphan turned Grizzly Adams, and one of our
Camping Teens and see if you don't laugh yourself stupid at these
But, there will also
be a lot of odd, disjointed footage that will be both scary and
confusing by lengths. And more than a little footage of people screaming
in the dark, much in the same way "The Blair Witch Project"
did the same thing.
Which is the pretty odd
thing about "Desperate Souls"--it's feast or famine, and
often within minutes of each other. Feast for this ten minutes,
famine for this two, feast for this three, famine for this twenty.
It all sort of balances out, but I can't help but be a little saddened
by the fact that a movie that can generate
such originality in one breath would be so utterly banal in the
is brilliant. "Desperate Souls" is derivative. It's golden.
It's garbage. It's the single best lousy movie I've seen in a long
The ending features plot
elements so incredibly convenient that they're downright insulting.
Not to mention a terribly confusing yet surprisingly thrilling psuedo-steel-cage
match to wrap things up. Plus there's a nifty little twist ending
that comes full-circle with the beginning very nicely.
The special features
include audio options, Spanish subtitles, and trailers for "High
Tension", "Undead", "Bloody Mallory", "A
Killer Upstairs", and "Waiting".
All in all, "Desperate
Souls" wavers wildly between brilliance and awfulness. In one
breath, it will be purely original--storytelling at its most gifted.
But in the next breath, it will do something so utterly asinine
that any thinking person would lose all respect for it. It should
be worth at least a rental, more if you're the forgiving type.
GRADE: 2 stars **
Directed by Chad Archibald, Philip Carrer
Written by Chad Archibald, Philip Carrer
Ryan Barrett, Pete Soltesz, Matt Kowall, Breanne TeBoekhorst
Chad Archibald, Philip Carrer, Adam Koebel