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Soul Survivors

Soul Survivors Movie Poster

Artisan Entertainment, VHS, DVD, R, 1 hr. 25 min.

Soul Survivors is the story of a group of friends, Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller), her boyfriend Sean (Casey Affleck), Cassie's best friend Annabel (Eliza Dushku), and her boyfriend and Cassie's ex, Matt (Wes Bentley), setting off for their first year at college. On their first night of freedom they attend a raunchy gothic dance party at an abandoned cathedral.   

A prophetic warning at the entrance reads "All hope abandon ye who enter here". Little do they know how soon these words will prove true. With passions enflamed, Cassie and Matt share a kiss leading to a fight among the friends and they head for home with Cassie behind the wheel. On the way, they become the victims of a horrible auto accident, which claims the life of Cassie's boyfriend, Sean.

Haunted by the memory of her lost love and the guilt of his death, Cassie begins to experience disturbing hallucinations. She is threatened by almost supernatural stalkers who are trying to kill her and strange disjointed visions of the past, present, and future.

Her friends, at first supportive, seem to turn on her. Are they in cahoots with the stalkers? Are they conspiring against her? Can they be trusted? The only person she feels she can trust is a young priest, Father Jude (Luke Wilson), but there is more to Jude than at first it seems. He gives her a pendant with the image of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost souls, to give her solace in these trying times.

On the verge of insanity, Cassie struggles to discover exactly what is behind all of the bizarre occurrences that have been plaguing her and along the way discover the truth behind life and love.

Billed as a psychological thriller with a romantic bend, Soul Survivors delivers, as long as you are able to forget all the other movies you've seen. As is so often the case when one movie becomes popular for a new way of telling a story there are numerous derivative works created to catch the excitement created by the popular film. Soul Survivors is just such a derivative. I'm not saying it's bad, quite the contrary. I enjoyed it very much. However, it's a story that's been told before in such fine films as Jacobs Ladder and The Sixth Sense. Of course the are a few differences between this film and the others.

First and foremost, this movie is aimed squarely at the teen market. This is to be expected, as producers Neal Moritz and Stokely Chaffin are best known for their work on the I Know What you Did Last Summer series of films. This also means you'll find a lot of unnecessary sexual - hetero and otherwise - subplots, bratty personalities, and gothic dance scenes. Some examples of this can be seen in the "Typical Teen Flick Shots" below.

SoulSurvivor093.jpg (6006 bytes) Gothic Dance Club

SoulSurvivor088.jpg (5383 bytes) Matt, the horny ex-boyfriend
(Wes Bentley)

SoulSurvivor072.jpg (5170 bytes) Annabel the slutty friend
(Eliza Dushku)

SoulSurvivor073.jpg (4015 bytes) Sean returns to Cassie in dreams
(Casey Affleck, Melissa Sagemiller)

SoulSurvivor052.jpg (11467 bytes) Cassie confiding in Father Jude
(Melissa Sagemiller, Luke Wilson)

SoulSurvivor091.jpg (6213 bytes) Showdown with friends about strange incidents
(Eliza Dushku, Wes Bentley, Melissa Sagemiller)

SoulSurvivor055.jpg (5306 bytes) Conspiracy hallucinations

Typical Teen Flick Shots

SoulSurvivor058.jpg (6216 bytes)
Painting your room always devolves into painting your friends in teen flicks
SoulSurvivor059.jpg (7578 bytes)
After you paint your friends you will of course jump into the shower with them
(Eliza Dushku, Melissa Sagemiller)
SoulSurvivor086.jpg (4129 bytes)
Required lesbian affair, this time in the library
(Eliza Dushku, Angela Featherstone)

Even so I found the story captivating. As I said before, it isn't a new story and the characters border on a little annoying to a post-teen like myself, but the acting was quite good. I felt the actors had a strong grasp on the material and gave honest portrayals of what the characters were feeling.

Patrick Raney did an excellent job of set design. The interior shots of the gothic club were very eerie and the Chicago locations lent themselves very well to the story without overwhelming it.

Although there are only a few good shocks in the movie, it didn't suffer. Trying to figure out just exactly how they were using the now standard twists was quite entertaining. It's also of great interest to examine the symbolism sprinkled throughout the film. The character named Raven for example. The raven in mythology is the trickster, and the creator of worlds. The death masked stalker for another example. There are quite a few more but I'll let you point them out for yourselves.

Over all, Soul Survivors is a very rent-able movie. A well-done film with good acting. You may find the film a little too teen oriented if you're over 25, but take a chance and give it a watch. I think you'll be pleased.

The DVD special features include:

  • Select scene commentary by Melissa Sagemiller
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Behind the Deathmask: The Making of Soul Survivors
  • Living Dangerously: The Art of Harvey Danger
  • Theatrical trailers
  • Sneak peek trailer gallery
  • Animated storyboards
  • Cast and Crew
  • Production Notes

Do you think we got this movie totally wrong? Agree with us? Or just want everyone to know your thoughts? Then start a discussion of this movie in our forums!




Artisan Entertainment


Thriller / Horror




85 Minutes







Actor / Actress


Melissa Sagemiller


Casey Affleck


Wes Bentley


Eliza Dushku


Luke Wilson

Father Jude



Steve Carpenter

Director / Writer

Neal H. Moritz


Stokely Chaffin


Fred Murphy


Janice Hampton


Art Director

Keith Cunningham

Patrick Raney

Set Designer


Reviewed by: Hauntmaster 5/30/2002





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