Pros: Begins very strong and decent enough plot
Cons: Falls pretty hard leading to the climax
When Johnny Petrie (Jesse James) turns 18 years old he receives a phone call, which soon results in him making a visit to see a salesman. He learns a few new things about himself, and one of them is that he inherited a house from relatives he never even knew existed. Unknown to him, the house comes with a deadly secret linking to his past. -summary
The haunted house genre is another one of those horror sub genres that I never stop falling for. When I hear ghost stories I’m usually there because these are the only flicks that consistently send shivers up my back. Dead Souls (2012) directed by Colin Theys is a supernatural thriller that takes a stab at mixing biblical beliefs with the occult. While the film may sound as if it reaches into controversial territory it’s not at all offensive. This movie is standard fare with some light chills here and there.
The plot follows Johnny as he learns that his biological father was a preacher that had gone mad, and the result was the death of his family, in which he narrowly escaped due to his older brother taking action after witnessing their mother’s murder. He soon comes under a feeling that he belongs in the house, and after a few occurrences he learns that something wants him.
Although Dead Souls provides some concrete details in the very beginning in regards to the family’s fate. It still begins and runs quite promising with some decent enough chills. Johnny meets a girl living in the house illegally by the name of Emma, and together they experience the strange things in the house.
I found myself pretty fascinated with Johnny’s family and the history surrounding them. While some details are slowly provided, there are several pieces left up to the imagination. On one hand I didn’t mind the ambiguous approach, yet at the same time it was kind of maddening because this family indeed had issues; and had these things been uncovered it would have strengthened the overall story.
I liked Theys approach when carrying the plot; while there was some predictability with the frights. I liked how they worked out with the atmosphere and were quite sudden. I also liked how Johnny was written. Normally the viewers would scream for people to leave these haunted houses because they have no purpose there. The plots are usually too crumby and just doesn’t provide good reasons on why anyone would stay in a house like this. However, Johnny has a good reason and the plot continues revealing more. Unfortunately, Dead Souls jumps the shark as it approaches the end by diving into different horror territory such as slasher elements. It felt way too different and my interest began to plummet.
I felt the acting was slightly above average, and I liked the set pieces. The house had the feel as if something disturbing had taken place, and it was the type of house friends would probably dare each other to spend a night in. The supernatural effects had a slight spookiness to them matching the overall look. The lighting effects, dimly lit rooms, and ran down sectors of the house felt right.
Overall Dead Souls is a decent supernatural thriller that I would mainly recommend catching for free if possible. While it does some things right it really isn’t all that special. It never really pushes the envelop and the other elements introduced only drags it down. Recommended only to the very, very curious, and those whom love these type of flicks.