Lost Souls (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|In the warning signs of a bad
film, the strongest possible warning is that it sat
finished and undistributed for years.
Oh, sure, it's a bad sign if they released it in mid-January, a worse sign if they try to sneak it into theaters without sending out screeners to critics, and a still worse sign if the director asked to have his name removed from the credits.
But the fact that the studio has millions invested in a film and won't even release it is the worst sign of all. You have to realize that the guys who work in these studios have no shame, and no sense of "good" and "bad" in any artistic or moral sense. They will release "Autumn in New York" or "Supernova" without any regret, if there is the slightest hope of recouping some of their investment. So if these cultural lepers think something stinks, it must be really obvious. It has to be something like:
also breaks one of the fundamental Scoopian unities.
Comedies have to be funny, and horror films have to be
scary. While this film is well photographed and more
intelligent than the reviewers led you to believe, it
ain't scary. Moviegoers hated it every bit as much as the
End of story.
|It starts out with two priests and Winona
Ryder heading in to perform an exorcism. Winona is
admitted because she has expert knowledge of the
situation, having once hosted Satan, until she herself
was exorcised. They and Satan begin in a very
businesslike fashion, like lawyers gathered to hammer out
a plea bargain, as they have many times before.
"Hey, Satan, well, I guess you know why we're here"
"Oh. Hi, Harry, Jimbo, sure I've been expecting you, looking forward to it. Hey, Harry, how's your sister's kids?"
"Not bad, what about those Lakers, eh?"
And they make a little small talk while the priests open up their briefcases and take out their books of Latin incantations, and holy-looking doilies (nothing terrifies Lucifer more than well-tatted lace), and Holy Water and stuff, and Satan tries to get a more comfortable foothold inside the possessed by hunkering down into a comfy chair.
Shortly thereafter, it seems that Winona took some encrypted messages out of the possessed man's room, and these messages, when decoded, reveal that Satan will take over the body of a famous writer on his 33rd birthday, which happens to be coming up real soon. Some thoughts:
And another thing - why does Satan, with his nearly-complete power, always have such bad background music. C'mon. It seems like the only musicians he ever managed to possess were some grade-b hacks, and some medieval monks. Oh, and maybe Air Supply, but that's a different discussion. So why didn't he possess Beethoven, or Duke Ellington, and at least get some good background music.
By the way, the film is beautifully photographed. The director of this film was the cinematograpgher for Spielberg on some of his best films. I didn't like the totally muted colors and deliberately hazy ambiance, but what he did was artistic and imaginative, and consistent with the tone he wanted to create. It may have a pretentious arthouse look, and you may or may not like it, but that look was constructed painstakingly.
I have to give a spoiler on this one, because
The script is much more intelligent than any of the reviewers seemed to understand. There is a good reason why Satan deliberately left behind those simplistic clues and a complete roadmap of his future behavior for Winona.
Satan's plan was never to possess John Grisham. His plan was to trick Winona into thinking that was the plan. By doing so, he got her to shoot the author. Since the guy was really an innocent man, Satan tricked Winona into committing an act of ultimate evil - and she is then qualified to host his Satanic Majesty for all eternity. At least I'm pretty sure that's what the deal was. Actually, that HAD to be the deal. When Winona was trying to determine whether to shoot the author, the clock turned to 6:66, so she shot him, sensing a Satanic presence. Obviously, if Satan was in the body of the author, he wouldn't have been giving off a bunch of evil Satanic signs, because he wouldn't want the author dead. The 6:66 thing was calculated to make Winona shoot the guy, so Satan wanted that to happen. Only one possible explanation - since Satan wanted Winona to shoot the guy and would not have wanted that if his real plan was for that guy to be the antichrist, therefore, he needed Winona to give in to evil and shoot an innocent man. Ergo, his real plan was for Winona to be the antichrist.
Or maybe that would be "antichristine", if a woman.
Now, if you look back on the rest of the movie, this also explains why all the clues were so easy to follow. Satan wanted Winona to decode the clues and follow the trail. It was all part of his master plan to involve Winona. He needed her to believe that the author was evil, and he needed it to be false, so her murdering him would be an evil act.
I think pretty much every reviewer missed the point.
Of course, if you get the point, the movie still stinks, but at least it stinks in a much more intelligent way, and doesn't make Lucifer out to be a drooling simpleton.
Since Winona really lost to Satan, however, it does mean that God is still rated higher than Winona in the computer ratings.
"The only moments of terror in this ostensible horror flick are brought about by the appearance of the words 'Producer: Meg Ryan,' giving you chills in a way that only those words can."-- Christopher Null, FILMCRITIC.COM
Very funny line, although I can think of three scarier words - "Starring Eric Roberts"
"With each movie, Winona Ryder becomes less of a sex symbol and more a deer caught in the Hollywood headlights. Did anyone else see her on Jay Leno? The woman was so dysfunctional she made Farrah Fawcett look sane." -- Mr Cranky
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