My Soul to Take

My Soul to Take ★★★★½

Craven, after a five-year hiatus, makes a comeback, creates a work that feels so urgent, so quick, and so deconstructive – it almost seems like Craven knew his time was nearing and this and “Scream 4” act as some prophetic examination into the 21st Century, films that he needed to get out before his death – how fitting because both films are two of his best because of how different they feel in comparison to his previous works. This one in particular seems to act as a deconstruction of Craven’s career: the killer, the victims, and the mythos – much like his earlier work, “My Soul to Take” sees Craven placing himself in these familiar elements he’s played with and exploring them in a more emotional sense. That's not to say that “Scream” or “A Nightmare on Elm Street” aren’t emotional: there’s just a lot of depth with “My Soul to Take” and how it explores the Slasher and how it ultimately doesn’t survive nowadays – surprises that’re in this film are negatively received when in the past, they’re applauded. 

There lies a richness in Craven exploring family dynamic as it pertains to Slasher mythos – although it’s not something we haven’t seen before. How does someone overcome the pain in knowing your father was a serial killer? How does one overcome the pain in knowing that your grief is neglected for someone who cannot comprehend the events? There's a lot of sympathy thrown at Leah because it’s Craven saying that her grief was never comforted – they chose to cushion someone who didn’t know about it in the first place, which made her own internal pain eat away. But it’s also sympathetic towards Bug because he shares so many qualities of his father and he doesn’t seem to understand where he gets them: sure, he’s deflected the pain of the past but that doesn’t mean it’s not lingering. There's the pain in that revelation Bug has in finally understanding himself, but there also lingers that idea that he’s going to have to cope with these events like his sister did. He says he’ll “fake it good,” but isn’t that tragic? These two children haven’t been able to heal from this pain caused by their father and they’ll go about their lives pretending they’ve healed when in reality, they’re just as broken as they were when they realized it.

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