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Lost Souls
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Lost Souls More at IMDbPro »

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51 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

A great film, lost to most

8/10
Author: Peter Lydall (plydall@worldonline.co.za) from Johannesburg, South Africa
17 January 2001

The fact that so many people hated this film comes as no surprise to me, but not, I believe, because it was a bad film. On the contrary this was a superb film that has, for those willing to look beneath the surface, a much deeper story to be told.

Simply put, the film is not 'feel-good'. The subject matter is disturbing, and challenges one's view of religion and belief in the existence of God and Satan.

As we are taken through the film, the director immerses us in the world Maya Larkin (played very well by Winona Ryder), a person who has previously been demonically possessed. She discovers that a semi-famous author, Peter Kelson (played by Ben Chaplin) is about to become the antichrist incarnate, and obviously sets out to prevent this event.

The plot develops slowly, but inevitably. Excellent use of sound and lighting create a chilling atmosphere, in which it becomes difficult to separate reality from the horrors which the victims have to face. As we approach the climax of the film, things start happening faster and faster, and the plot becomes intentionally a bit confusing. As an audience we are made to empathize with the lead characters as they realise time is running out and their course of action remains unclear, and that all they can do is ride along and try to figure out what is happening before it is too late.

The themes drawn upon in this film are very similar to those in "End of Days" but with far more emphasis placed on the psychological drama - more like "Stigmata" - than on the action and special effects of "End of Days", making Lost Souls in my opinion a far better film.

Be prepared for a major plot twist at the end. The director does not state the obvious, yet we are given clues throughout the film, many of which make little or no sense at the time they are portrayed, but which snap into place if you get the ending. The sudden conclusion and lack of any final explanation communicate the intent clearly enough and left me feeling a bit blown away - although in my opinion left most of the audience feeling confused and let down, expecting more and wondering what happened.

If you can appreciate a well crafted, and subtle film, and prefer a movie that makes you think, and does not necessarily have happy messages, then you should enjoy this film. It forces you into thinking about it, and by no means classifies as light entertainment. If you go to movies to be entertained by action and easy to follow plots, then stay clear - this film was never intended to appeal to most people.

Personally I have seen far too many of those films in recent months and found Lost Souls to be remarkably refreshing.

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

End of the world as we know it, and I feel... bored.

Author: Infofreak from Perth, Australia
28 November 2001

Look, I'm a sucker for a good eschatological/apocalyptic thriller. Something totally fascinates me about that stuff. After the sheer stupidity of the illogical 'Stigmata' and especially the lame-brained 'End Of Days', I had a lot of hope for 'Lost Souls'. Sadly, it fails to deliver. Hollywood disappoints yet again!

Winona Ryder plays a troubled young woman who believes that Satan is planning on being reborn in human form, and kicking some Christian ass. Ben Chaplin plays a crime writer who Winona thinks is the Devil in waiting. Instead of just shooting him and doing the world a favour, she forms an uneasy relationship with him. What exactly she plans on doing is hard to say. That's the whole problem with this movie. The 'Se7en'-esque visuals are more important than a decent script. The characters motivations don't really make sense, and as soon as the plot looks like it's going to go is some kind of interesting direction, it doesn't. After a certain point you give up even caring what happens, surely a bad sign in a movie where the whole fate of mankind is at stake?!

Ryder used to be effective as alienated teens back in the late 80s in favourites like 'Beetlejuice' and 'Heathers', but lets face facts, movies like this and 'Girl, Interrupted' show how limited her range really is. She hasn't grown as an actress and is basically just not believable.

Ben Chaplin showed some flair for light comedy in 'The Truth About Cats And Dogs', and had a few outstanding moments in Terrence Malik's wildly uneven and overrated 'The Thin Red Line', but he fails to interest here. Ryder and Chaplin don't show any on screen chemistry or rapport, and this sinks the movie even further into terminal boredom.

The talented character actors in the supporting cast - John Hurt, Kevin Baker Hall, Elias Koteas, John Diehl - are all wasted by the dull and cliched script. Add to that one of the most anti-climactic endings in recent memory, and you've got yourself one lame "thriller" that is a real lost opportunity.

If movies about Satanism, demonic possession, Occult conspiracies and/or The-End-Of-The-World-As-We-Know-It are your scene, avoid this snoozefest and go straight to 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'The Exorcist', both stylish AND genuinely scary classics. After that try the hugely overlooked 80s supernatural Demi Moore flick 'The Seventh Sign', and the more recent Christopher Walken vehicle 'The Prophecy', or the fantastic Spanish comedy/horror 'The Day Of The Beast', both from the mid-90s. These movies all feature more intelligence, originality and suspense than 'Lost Souls' could ever dream of having.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

One of the most underrated horror films of the decade.

7/10
Author: Greg from United States
22 February 2012

I can make absolutely no sense of each and every one star review which calls this film horrible as well as the 4.7 rating. It is unfathomable to me. The cinematography alone should warrant a rating of at least 5.

This is a subtle religious horror flick that I have to assume people rejected because of the lack of scares and gore. However, the performances, direction and cinematography are all top notch. Though Lost Souls was marketed to look like a demonic scare-fest, I would compare this film to the likes of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. In fact, I would not be surprised if the makers of that film borrowed quite heavily from this one, both in style and effects.

The premise is relatively simple: A small religious sect believe the coming of the anti-Christ to be near, sitting dormant in a human body.

The biggest praise that I can bestow upon this film is that over 12 years later, this film still looks like it could have been made yesterday. In fact, it looks uncannily more modern than a large majority of recent horror efforts. Lost Souls simply does not age.

Another popular factor in why this movie is so poorly rated and received is the fact that audiences just did not like the ending. I feel sorry for those that do not. The ending is original, and though it did not satisfy blood thirsty Hollywood horror fans, it is very much appropriate for this film. To put it simply without spoiling anything: faith is the central core to Lost Souls, those with it and those without. That is what this ending plays off of, and I think it's perfect. Please do not let any of these negative reviews divert you from seeing this film.

This is not End of Days or Stigmata. Lost Souls is not camp in the slightest. It is a dark, beautifully shot and well acted film that is significantly ahead of it's time.

7/10

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

lost cause

4/10
Author: babysisv from Denver
11 September 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What is the point of this film? To tease the audience? This entire film does nothing but say "hey hear is a bunch of scary noises and screams something interesting is happening behind this door but we're not going to show you!" the audience waits for hours for something that finally happens in the last five minutes of the movie. When it finally happens it's two easy and very uneventful. (Spoiler) it would have been more interesting if this man became the devil earlier on in the movie. That would have made it harder for Winona Ryder's character and it would have provided at least an once of suspense for the audience. Instead we were all like..."What...that's it?" this movie had the potential to be a better film but it just simply wasn't. We're suppose to be dealing with an extremely evil power and all it took was one bullet...come on! Ryder should have stolen a better script.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

How Can You Go From "Little Women" and "Washington Square" to This?

4/10
Author: Jay Raskin from Orlando, United States
24 July 2011

Winona had just had a big hit with "Girl Interrupted," and Ben Chaplin was impressive doing Montgomery Cliff's "The Heiress" part in "Washington Square." So what possessed them to do a cheesy "Exorcist" meets "the Omen" and "Rosemary's Baby" formula movie? In any case, the movie has a good opening twenty minutes and promises real scary stuff to come. You don't know anything about the characters or what's going on and that makes it a little frustrating, but you can forgive the movie for that. Unfortunately, the movie becomes less scary the more the silly plot and characters gets revealed. Probably the silliest moment comes when Winona tells Ben that he fits the profile for the "antichrist" because he's never been baptized. It is hard to see how Winona Horowitz could say such a thing with a straight face.

Apparently the first time director is a great cinematographer. That is usually not such a good thing. Yes, Stanley Kubrick did make the transition, but most cinematographers are too concerned with the lighting and have no idea how to direct actors. That turns out to be the case here, where everybody is just doing monotone line readings.

I confess my love for Winona, but even her presence only makes the film barely watchable and not quite enjoyable or fun.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

fairly run of the mill movie

4/10
Author: djnoize from Wellington NZ
30 April 2002

Was this made for TV? Probably went striaght to rental. It's ok for a time filler, nothing much more. Couple of scenes may make you jump, or at least curl your lip. Not tooo slow going, just managed to keep my interest long enough until the anti-climatical ending. It's like reading a book only to find that the last page is missing, but then reaslise that it makes no difference...

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

I have mixed feelings about this one

6/10
Author: Spanner-2 from United States
29 October 2000

In this horror effort, Winona Ryder (my has her career fallen) plays a young woman who once went through an exorcism (?) and now finds herself as the one person who can prevent Satan himself from occupying the body of a normally decent enough New Yorker (do decent New Yorkers exist??) Ryder does her best with the supernatural material and Ben Chaplin as the perplexed chosen one is decent. The story and direction (by first time director and award winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski) rachet up the thrills and suspense and arent afraid to offer a downbeat ending. Sometimes gets obsessed with style over substance however. GRADE: B-

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Take a second look

Author: bros from Washington
14 September 2001

The majority of the reviewers of this film were looking for a movie that isn't there at the expenses of seeing the movie that is. Lost Souls is a tightly wound question balanced on the edge of a knife: Is Maya a psycho killer or the savior of mankind? Given the fact that most psycho killers believe they are saviors of mankind, I opt for the psycho killer interpretation. The movie, which is a continuous balancing of the question, never letting up on clues that raise the question further, opts to let us decide. It allows Maya to walk away from the car after murdering the person she had convinced was the devil. At the fade out, one wonders how she had managed to get away with murdering her parents and how many more she will murder before she is finally stopped.

Ryder, whose eyes have always been a vehicle for her acting, uses them chillingly in the scene in which she murders Father Lareaux. Studying Ryder's evolving facial expressions as Maya finds out that the Father won't support her delusions, takes action, and then gloats at the outcome will convince anyone she's crazy.

An incredible performance. Or the way she handles the scene in which Kelson, her intended victim, casts back to his past to test if he really could be the devil. Kaminski bolsters it with the imagery of a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car unknowingly escaping, for the moment.

Adding up the body count just bolsters the psycho killer interpretation. By her own hand, she kills: the murderer George Viznik, brain dead; Kelson's girlfriend, Claire Van Owen; Father Lareaux and Kelson himself. Murders at her instigation: the investigator, John Townsend; Kelson's uncle/father; and Kelson's brother.

Take a second look. Watch Maya's eyes. Ask yourself at every turn, is this about the devil, or is this about the here and now, a psycho killer walking invisibly among us.

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21 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

The Good & Bad Of 'Lost Souls'

7/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
18 May 2006

This was a fairly good "Devil" story and certainly worth renting.

GOOD - Decent suspense and cinematography and kudos for pointing out there IS a Satan and converting a non-believer to that fact. Winona Ryder looks very pretty, too, as good as I've seen her. This was before her real-life problems put her in the news and her career took a nosedive. Also the profanity is pretty low in here.

BAD - A somewhat-disappointing finish; some skewed theology (but not as bad as most movies); same cliché scenes where a person should have been shot but the shooter hesitates way too long and is stopped; priests winding up as villains.

OVERALL - it's not a bad film and could have been really good with a tighter script and a little more suspense at the end.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A cure for insomniacs

2/10
Author: poes_raven_spoke from Baltimore, Maryland
4 September 2003

I saw a preview of this film in the movie theaters and I couldn't wait to see it. However, it didn't stay at the local theater long enough to catch it. That was the first omen of things to come. I just caught this film on cable, September 2003, and discovered that I saved myself the $8.00 theater ticket!!! This is the most boring Antichrist movie I have ever seen. It didn't totally suck, it just lay there waiting for someone to give it an injection of vitamin A (Action)!!! The camera direction and cinematography were good, casting the movie in an eerie, washed out color, that actually enticed me. The initial plot was well thought out, but then it disappeared into a vast vortex that sucked any life out of this film. The talented actors, Wynona Ryder, Alfre Woodard, John Hurt, etc. are completed wasted on this pitiful script. And how much eye makeup would a formerly-possessed-teen-now-turned-satan- slayer, really be wearing? They caked on the smoky brown eye shadow on Wynona Ryder to intensify her gloominess and fear, note to director: we've seen it before in "Beetlejuice". And explain to me how the possessed, murdering professor, introduced as the catalyst for this story, had managed to wake from his coma and escape the high-security mental hospital, where he is housed, and show up at the home of a murdered priest so that he can terrorize the heroin and the vessel of satan, with a knife. Only to collapse on the floor with writhing contortions and blood leaking from his body. What the heck was up with that? I'm still scratching my head at the positive reviews posted for this film. I was greatly disappointed and have not seen a good horror movie since the re-release of "The Exorcist".

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