Main cast: Winona Ryder (Maya Larkin), Ben Chaplin (Peter Kelson), Sarah Wynter (Claire Van Owen), Philip Baker Hall (Father James), John Hurt (Father Lareaux), W Earl Brown (William Kelson), and Elias Koteas (John Townsend)
Director: Janusz Kamiński
If I am the Vatican in movies where the Devil is staging a grand comeback world tour, I will do the following: (a) teach my staff members that screaming like a deluded street prophet is not a good way to get people to believe you when you tell them that they are the devil incarnate, (b) not to waste time begging for forgiveness before killing a person, because let’s face it, you will die because of the needless delay – if you have to kill the demon incarnate, God will freaking forgive you, so JUST FREAKING DO IT, (c) in fact, heck, let’s just give up on God, because in these movies, God happily lets the devil folks cut down his good priests. Like Satan will say, “He doesn’t care!” and in this instance, in these sort of movies, I think Satan’s right. Bring on the sex orgies!
Lost Souls needs my advice bad. It breaks all the rules I mentioned above. Winona Ryder’s character’s idea of telling Peter Kelson that the devil will possess him on his 35th birthday is to shriek in broken sentences and vague imageries. You don’t try to be pretentious and vague in critical situations like this, moron. You tell him straight – “You are the devil reborn!” – instead of going, “I can’t tell you here… it’s a big secret… evil! Satan! Evil! Evil! Evil!” and then wondering why he has security throwing you out on your sorry backside. It is one thing to be God’s instrument, but it’s another altogether to have no subtlety or even common sense.
And Ben Chaplin looks good, but he’s an emotionless block of wood. Surely Satan can do better.
Lost Souls can be a taut drama at times, but I am too irritated by those stupid priests who can sneak into a party yet fumble in killing Peter (“The time of transformation is near! Forgive me – uuuuhhhh!”), the heroine who can’t speak in anything but vague semantics (great mascara though – who’s the stylist?), and the emotionless hero. The grand finale? Anyone who have seen Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen will have seen the ending coming a mile away.
Frankly, it’s hard to imagine why Satan even cares about the dreary and not-too-bright dim bulbs that populate the world of Lost Souls.