Short Attention Span Review: Lost Souls (2000)
I guess I need to start with some disclaimers here, as I'm clearly in the minority when it comes to this poorly regarded biblical horror feature from 2000. Yes, I may have quite a Winona Ryder jones. Always have, always will. Yes, biblical horror creeps me out, but that doesn't mean that everything in this particular sub-genre gets a pass. In fact, while I often seek such fare out, few pictures in this realm impress me, though the standouts (The Exorcist, duh, and Angel Heart, which remains terribly underrated) rank very high on my list*. For instance, Stigmata was released a year prior to Lost Souls and garnered much better reviews, and I thought it was quite the turd. Lost Souls does have its flaws, to include an abrupt conclusion that many deem anti-climatic. It is hard to dispute that notion, but at the same time, I think the ending is both appropriate and fulfilling. The big gun where my affection for Lost Souls is concerned is pretty simple: it genuinely creeps me out. And yes, I find Winona to be superb in the lead role. Ben Chaplin does a good job as well, and I thought Janusz Kaminski showed incredible promise as a director. The exorcism scenes are particularly creative and deliver some serious jolts, and atmosphere is one of the picture's biggest strengths. Lost Souls is very lean for this type of film, and when you combine this with a raw and gritty feel, it distinguishes this one from some of the more deliberate and polished genre pictures of its era. It arrived at a time when cheeky and self-aware horror movies were all the rage, and I often wonder if that is why it received such a dismal response. Of course, it is also entirely possible that I'm overstating matters and I'm walking the narrow path in this review because Lost Souls isn't that good of a movie. I won't hail it as a classic, but in my humble opinion, it is a thrilling venture that will scare the hell out of you. That's often my criteria for a thumb's up, so I'm going out on a limb here and proclaiming this much-maligned flick to be worth your time in spite of what you've heard.
*In fact, The Exorcist occupies the top spot on my list. See my Top 20 Horror Movies piece from 2015 here.
Final Grade: B
|Winona brings some major intensity to her role and makes for a great lead.|