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6 Souls (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

6 SOULS (2013)

6 Souls

Starring Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Conroy, Nathan Corddry, Brooklynn Proulx, Brian A. Wilson, Joyce Feurring, Steven Rishard, Charles Techman, John Peakes, Michael Graves, Chaz Moneypenny, Charles D. Richards and Rick Applegate.

Screenplay by Michael Cooney.

Directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein.

Distributed by RADiUS-The Weinstein Company. 112 minutes. Rated R.

It tells you pretty much all that you need to know about 6 Souls that in the “producers would like to thank” section of the end credits, the first name on the long list of the appreciated is “God.” Pretty impressive placement, particularly since Vince Vaughn doesn’t even make the first 20 names.

6 Souls starts out seeming to be an old-fashioned multiple-personality thriller, but it doesn’t take that long to pick up on the film’s sneaky spiritual agenda. Questions and statements of a religious nature pile up early, often and awkwardly in the movie, long before the movie unmasks its real villain: a demonic presence who painfully extracts the lives and souls of non-believers.

You better watch out, Bill Maher.

6 Souls doesn’t believe in the love-thy-neighbor school of conversion, either. It is much more of the fire and brimstone school. Anyone who has lost their faith in God will feel the wrath of his enemy – be it the teenaged boy who is paralyzed in a fall, or the psychiatrist who has seen so much pain and suffering, or the little eight-year-old girl whose father’s throat was slit by a mugger. The penance for your lack of belief is to have an evil cross singed into your skin, your throat filled up with dirt and a demonic spirit literally suck the soul out of you.

I would like to say that it is the first spiritual slasher film, but sadly it is not.

What 6 Souls is is a pretty ham-handed and often convoluted thriller which tries to earn some gravitas by claiming that it is a cautionary tale promoting the belief in God.

Of course, 6 Souls does not recognize the moral conundrum that it has set up for itself. It is asking for this blind faith in its characters and the audience; however it is not difficult for the viewer (even one who is not necessarily an atheist) to wonder how they could follow a God who would allow such evil things to happen to essentially good people who may have lost their way spiritually.

The God I grew up believing in would not behave like this, or at least I would like to believe.

In an odd way, 6 Souls has almost set up the divine as a bogeyman. In all fairness to the filmmakers, it is not the Lord who chases and steals the souls of the hapless characters here. Still, he certainly turns his back on them and lets a demon feast on their souls just because they may have turned their back on him. When did God become so spiteful? Which testament does that come from?

You may be saying that I am assigning an awful lot of theological weight to a cheesy horror film and you may well be right about that. 

Then again, maybe this film’s long gestation period is a reflection of these murky theological ideals. It was made in 2009 and sat on the shelf for four years (with a series of brief European releases under the alternate title Shelter dating back to 2010) before getting a cursory American theatrical and PPV release earlier this year.

Then again, maybe that’s just about the fact that it’s not all that good a movie, even beyond its oddball religious stripe.

Julianne Moore does the best she can with her underwritten character, a cynical specialist in schizophrenia (who doesn’t actually believe in schizophrenia) that comes across a mental patient that tests all of her beliefs (or lack thereof).

Jonathan Rhys Meyers is even worse off as the bad guy. The script is not content for him to over-emote in one character, he has to overdo it in six different personalities and accents. 

I wish I could say the movie made any kind of sense whatsoever, but it really doesn’t. However, it does have some bat-shit crazy set pieces that make it almost worth the cost of admission completely in a campy so-bad-it’s-good mode.

But in the end, 6 Souls does not even reach this modest goal. 6 Souls is so bad that it is bad.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 22, 2013.

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