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Soul Survivors

A car wreck survivor finds herself caught in a strange limbo land between the worlds of the living and the dead.


After surviving a devastating car accident following her first college party, freshman Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller) falls into a coma and steps into a nightmare of otherworldly visitations. Haunted by a grim reaper of a far different kind, her only hope is to cling to chance encounters with her lost love Sean (Casey Affleck) and the aid of a mysterious young priest named Father Jude (Luke Wilson). Cassie's malicious friends, Matt (Wes Bentley), Annabel (Eliza Dushku) and the morose Raven (Angela Featherstone), seem intent on drawing her to the dark side, but the spirit of her soul mate Sean guides her back to the world of the living.


Sagemiller (Get Over It) may be a fine actress, but this film--her second full-length feature--isn't the one to prove it. Not that Sagemiller does a poor job, but like most dull and stale horror movies, the female lead isn't asked to do much other than look frightened and scream--a lot. Affleck (Good Will Hunting), Bentley (American Beauty) and Dushku (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) are among the more talented actors of their generation, but are completely wasted, especially Affleck in his one-dimensional role. Wilson as Father Jude is the only character with an interesting part, but unfortunately the good Father's development is stunted and incomplete, leaving Wilson little to work with.


Steve Carpenter's first turn as a director leaves much to be desired. Of course, Carpenter wrote the formulaic script, so why shouldn't he be the one to helm it? One major flaw (and there are plenty to choose from) is that nearly half the movie is shot tight on the characters, giving the audience a very myopic view. Even if that was intentional, it certainly did nothing to heighten the tension (what little of it there was) in the movie. The flick's tagline ''The World of the Dead and the World of the Living... are About to Collide'' conveys the message of an epic struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of good--a struggle that never materializes. And the film's final message, that love conquers all, is the boring, hackneyed truism that breaks the cliché camel's back.

Bottom Line

Unimaginative and tiresome, Soul Survivors is an utter waste of time.