Wednesday, November 06, 2013

4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker – review

Directors: Mike Campbell & Todd Johnson

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

The Choctaw had a myth of the Nalusa chito, from Headboards of Stone - A Mississippi Graveyard Rabbit Blog we discover “The Choctaws have stories about Shadow beings. "Nalusa chito", also known as an "Impa shilup," was the soul eater, great black being, or devil. If you allowed evil thoughts or depression to enter your mind, it would creep inside you and eat your soul.”.

Now, this sounds – rationally – like a means to explain mental health impairment. However, let’s not be rationale as we are looking at a horror movie! What difference between eating a soul and devouring energy? It would seem to me a matter of semantics and in 4 Dead Girls the Nalusa chito is a soul eater, the consumption of which makes him younger in appearance… he is, therefore, an energy vampire.

As a film, we begin with a young lady, Becky (Bianca Lopez), clearly fearing for her life as she is stalked around the house by the ashen faced Devlin Chito (Mike Campbell) – the Nalusa chito. His words seem familiar, as though he knows her rather than her being a random victim. She is virtually hysterical but pleads, saying she won’t do it again. It is too late however; he cuts her wrist and then sucks her energy. He presses a blank fetish doll against her corpse; causing the corpse to vanish and the doll take on her features.

the girls
Four girls arrive at a suburban house. These are our primary players and we have the virginal and prudish Lily (Katherine Browning), the trampish Bianca (Tiffany S. Walker), Lily’s sister Lori (Ashley Love) and Lori’s lover Pam (Leah Verrill). Their possessions are carried into the house by Jonathon (Ryan Peavy) – on a promise of sex from Bianca. They meet (a now younger looking) Devlin, their new landlord. When asked where Becky is he explains that she has moved on. The house has self-locking doors and windows and the rent is cheap.

eating a soul
So, story wise there isn’t a huge amount to explain. He is hunting for food and (as Lori is studying mythology) we discover that the Nalusa chito are shadow creatures (he vanishes into a black mist or shadow that looks just a bit too false on screen), stunned by the light who feed on evil women and are injured (or even killed) by the death of innocence. He intends to feed on the evil (Bianca and Pam) and corrupt the innocent (Lori and Lily). He wants a survivor to act as his new “property manager” replacing Becky.

Pam and Lori
There is an interesting moment when we see Lily’s disapproval of Lori’s sexuality and a subsequent discussion of gay marriage. From this we also discover that Pam makes out that her parents are progressive but, in reality, her father is a homophobe. There was a shifting, through this scene, to the apparent characterisation that, unfortunately, wasn’t utilised in film. They could have taken this in an interesting direction and had Lily revealed to be classed as evil for her moralistic disapproval that verged on homophobia, but they didn’t. I also wondered, as her parents were dead, whether we’d get a twist of either sister having killed them (thus being evil) but that never happened either.

poor shadow sfx
Ultimately the film is very simple and straightforward. The tension we need isn’t built in (and the small area of the one story, three bedroom house doesn’t seem to be a big enough stage upon which to build the tension), and the gore level is too low to lift the film in other directions. The unusual creature type makes this marginally interesting but the film is its own worst enemy. That said there are worse flicks out there. 3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


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Taliesin_ttlg said...

Kelly Zauber - comments with spam links are deleted. Please do noy leave any more