Follow TV Tropes


Film / My Soul to Take

Go To

My Soul to Take is a 2010 horror movie from Wes Craven, being his first since Wes Craven's New Nightmare that he wrote, produced and directed.

As legend has it, a serial killer, the Ripper, will return to the quaint town of Riverton to murder the seven children that were born the night he allegedly died.

Sixteen years after his death, members of the community begin to disappear. All the teens know the Ripper to be dead, but they hold the belief that his soul may have reincarnated into one of their bodies, forcing them to discover who among them may be the killer. Only one of the teenagers knows the answer.

Adam "Bug" Heller was supposed to die on the bloody night his father went insane. Unaware of his father's terrifying crimes, Bug has been plagued by nightmares since he was a baby. But if Bug hopes to save his friends from the Ripper, he must face an evil that won't rest... until the Ripper finishes the job it began the day Bug was born.


My Soul to Take provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Alex's stepfather.
  • Adults Are Useless: A bit of an Author Tract for Wes Craven, eh?
  • Agent Mulder: Jeanne-Baptiste (the black chick who got her throat sliced) during the first murders. She flips with Paterson 16 years later and takes the Agent Scully spot, and even lampshades it.
  • Agent Scully: Paterson starts off as this, and then becomes the Agent Mulder for no apparent reason.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Ripper is a complete psychotic whose only seeming goal is to kill as many people as he can.
  • Alpha Bitch: Fang, a super senior, has the entire student body under her thumb.
  • Animal Motifs
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    May: (noticing dirt and leaves on his sweater) "Did you fall?"
    Bug: "I buried a friend... my condor costume."
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted with Jerome. Unless you count The Ripper, he's the last of the victims to die.
    • However, the first of the seven to die is Jay, the only other member of the group to be of an ethnic minority.
  • Advertisement:
  • Calling the Old Man Out
  • Chekhov's Gun: The biggest knife in the kitchen.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Leah, complete with Freudian Excuse.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Patterson, the police detective investigating the murders, before getting suddenly murdered by the Riverton Ripper at the climax.
  • Developing Doomed Characters
  • Disability Superpower: Averted with Jerome. He simply uses standard blindness techniques for mobility and identification.
  • Evil Gloating: The Ripper, naturally.
  • Everybody Knew Already: Everyone knew about Bug's father but the Riverton Seven... except Alex, who has the soul of The Ripper inside him.
  • Expy: Comparisons to the first A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) (and the second, considering stuff like the possession aspect and the main character being a boy) were inevitable.
    • Frank Grillo's police detective character, Patterson, complete with brown trench coat and somewhat raspy and gruff voice, loosely resembles the late Peter Falk's famed television character Columbo (which is a property of Universal, whose subsidiary Rogue Pictures distributed this film).
  • Fauxshadow: Careful attention is paid in the beginning to Leah's creepy reaction to the murders, but nothing actually comes of it. She just ends up an angry, maladjusted girl, and is not The Ripper.
  • The Fundamentalist: Penelope.
  • Harassing Phone Call
  • I Just Knew: Bug, when he states that Brittany was with Brandon in the woods. Their souls told him, because they had just died and their souls joined with Bug.
  • I See Dead People: Bug sees Jay floating in the river and Penelope pointing out The Ripper's knife, both in a mirror.
  • Jerk Jock: Brandon, and even he admits it. Interestingly, he also doubles as The Dragon for Fang in her rule over the high school.
  • Lust Object: Brittany, for Brandon. He's none too subtle about it either.
  • Meaningful Echo: Fang's ratings of physical pain. Pretty much anything exchanged between Bug and Alex, but most notably: "It feels fucking great."
  • Motifs: There are animal motifs, religious motifs, and mirror motifs.
  • Ms. Exposition: Jeanne-Baptiste, whose only purpose as a character is to explain how some souls are just too evil to stay dead.
  • Never Found the Body: The set-up. Unusually, it was confirmed that the Ripper did indeed die...but, we never found out what happened to his body.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Not as bad as most, but there was some stuff shown out of context, particularly scenes from near the beginning of the movie that took place 16 years prior to the main events (most notably a news broadcast). There are a couple clips shot just for the trailer as well.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Leah kicks the crap out of Bug.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Jerome, who (although legitimately blind) pretends he "accidentally" went into the girls' bathroom instead of the boys' to support a recon mission for Bug and Alex.
  • Plot Hole: Alex plans to frame Jerome for the killings and get away with it. So... how exactly did he plan to convince people that a blind guy committed so many murders without being caught?
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Used copiously by The Ripper, but subverted once.
    Abel: (about to shoot a paramedic) "This is for you, you cunt!"
    Paterson: (shoots Abel) "That's for shut the fuck up!"
  • Promotion to Parent: Bug and Leah's aunt took care of them after their mother died; Bug actually calls her "Mom", and up until a certain point believes she's the one who gave birth to him.
  • Red Herring: We see a lot of Bug's schizophrenic tendencies and his inexplicable proficiency with the folding blade, setting him up as The Ripper, but his odd behavior turns out to be something else entirely.
  • Scare Chord: But of course.
  • Ship Sinking: An in-universe example: Fang makes sure Brittany doesn't get any ideas about hooking up with Bug by insisting that Brandon is a better match for her, even though Brittany's reaction implies she might have a crush on Bug. May also tries to do this with Bug by saying Brittany is a little too "sophisticated" for him. It doesn't really matter in the end, as Brittany gets gutted.
  • Split Personality: The Riverton Ripper. One of them is evil.
    • Actually, the majority of the movie (after the opening) is arguably an inversion of this.
  • Spoiler Opening: Sort of. In the beginning when Jay is killed, you can hear him say "Alex."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Very minor example. Alex gets Bug to go along with his "recon mission" by convincing him that he'll get to hear what Brittany thinks of him. So Bug plants his cell phone in the girls' bathroom and the two listen in on the conversation.
  • Stupid Evil: Yeah, Ripper, try to pin the murders of 6 people, including a cop on a blind kid. I'm sure nobody will question that.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Riverton's high school is rife with bullying, drug use and general jerkassery. No authority figure seems to be able to put a stop to it.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: Leah torments Bug out of resentment for their past, and never says a thing about it until he lays down an Armor-Piercing Question. She confesses, and flies into a rage afterwards by destroying a dollhouse with a guitar.
  • Token Wholesome: Played with: fervent Christian girl Penelope is also the school' pariah, although - at times - she proves to be far less naive than she looks, as when she uses the fact Brandon got a schoolmate pregnant as temporary leverage against him.
    "She's in my prayer group. Duh."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Bug's father was the killer, and there is a plotline about whether or not his father's spirit is controlling him. However, a brief shot from the trailer clearly shows him fighting the killer, meaning it's someone else.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Crotch dog."
  • We Need a Distraction: Fang instructs Brittany to do this to a security officer so Brandon can punch Bug and Alex.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never found out if Fang was telling the truth about Bug killing people before the start of the movie.
    • It's explained in a deleted scene.
    • Why was "Vengeance" etched into the blade of the Ripper's knife? What was he getting vengeance for? Why was he killing people at all?