Four friends plan a fun get-together at “Summerfest” – Natalie McMillan (Vivian Schilling), her friend Karen (Meschelle Manley) and neighborhood mullet kings Brad Deville (David Shark) and Natalie’s former boyfriend Zach Taylor (Gregg Thomsen). Unbeknownst to them, a dark presence is watching over them. The Angel of Death (Robert Z’Dar) commands his right-hand man the Soultaker (Joe Estevez) to take the lives of the four, along with their friend Tommy (Chuck Williams) and Brad’s girlfriend Candice (Cinda Lou Freeman).
At 8:00, while Brad – who is high on the cocaine – is driving Zach, Natalie, Tommy and Candice home, the Soultaker steps in the middle of the road, causing Brad to swerve and crash into a tree. The Soultaker takes Candice’s soul, but is unable to capture the other four, whose souls have become displaced from their bodies. The Angel of Death then gives the him ’til the stroke of midnight to claim the remaining souls, making sure to abide by the rules of time and space while doing so.
Soultaker is a supernatural horror film revolving around a character who’s essentially the janitorial service of the Grim Reaper’s company. Here, death is no longer about doom, gloom and despair, but keeping up on the body quotas. Yes, the garbage men of the afterlife pretty much run things like an inventory crew, and judging from the amount of bitching and moaning our titular villain does to his Angel of Death management (Z’Dar in total I Love the ’90s mode borrowing Dave Coulier’s hair and Zordon’s voice), it must be a heavily unionized one.
Embodying the man who claims our souls is Joe Estevez, and if that name sounds familiar to you it’s ’cause he would be the fourth wheel of the prolific Sheen/Estevez clan. Of course, his career didn’t pan out as successfully as his brother Martin’s; to be honest, none of the other three has. However, it says a lot when you’re film career still gets steamrolled by both your nephews, one of which is a coke-addled nut with tiger’s blood coursing through his veins and the other whose career peaked at The Breakfast Club and then bottomed out somewhere around the thirty-sixth Mighty Ducks sequel.
Surprisingly, writer/co-star Vivian Schilling punches her screenplay up with some compelling social commentary on the class and culture divides that threaten to tear apart the romantic relationships of our dear protagonists, aka the “rich girl loves the wrong side of the tracks boy” Nicholas Sparks effect. The divide is made abundantly clear. Natalie and Karen are high-class ’cause they wear fashionable clothes and enough hair spray between the two of them two obliterate the entire Ozone layer; Zach and Brad are white trash ’cause they’re rockin’ it business in the front, party in the back style, dress like hardcore Warrant fans and drive beater cars, which Brad enjoys using to charm and flirt with the girls he passes by nearly side-swiping them off the road.
Move over, Romeo and Juliet.
What isn’t made so clear is everything else. There’s past lives, former loves, and the big kicker of how four of the friends were able to have their souls displaced, but one wasn’t. It’s a narrative mess that raises more head-scratching questions than answers by the end of the film. Not to mention, the “rules of time and space” that the Soultaker is clearly instructed to follow. Absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, must follow the “rules of time and space”.
Wait… Did I miss something? What the hell are these rules of time and space?
The Rules of Time and Space:
RULE #1 – Contrary to what notable scientific minds John Belushi, Whitney Houston, Kate Moss, Steven Tyler, Lindsay Lohan and Rick James bitch will tell you, driving while under the influence of cocaine is maybe not the best idea.
RULE #2 – No matter how much stolen convenient store money you throw at him, nothing will stop the Soultaker from securing your fate of imprisonment inside a Mardi Gras glow necklace.
RULE #3 – Epsom salt baths drawn for daughters contain a highly potent toxin that if inhaled could lead to severe bouts of nausea, dizzy spells, and incredibly long and awkward periods of lustfully watching your daughter strip down to nothing but her tight, smooth, creamy-skinned, curvacious body for her steamy hot, sensual bath.
- Astrophysicists have contentiously debated this topic for years, with those ardently against it questioning any reason a parent would have to draw an Epsom salt bath for their fully grown daughter.
- Come to think of it… What parent would draw any bath for their fully grown daughter?
- Apparently, one that loves gawking at their naked child.
- Phew! Turns out it wasn’t the mom, it was the Soultaker.
RULE #4 – On Earth, Soultakers are clearly horrible at the art of effective disguise.
RULE #5 – The toxic gases emitted from the Epsom salts when mixed with the gravitational pull on Natalie’s clothes creates a strong, unstoppable force that causes total movement to sloooooooooooooooow doooooooown toooo a paaaainfullyyyy duuuull craaaaaaaawllllllll.
RULE #6 – Newton’s long lost 4th Law of Motion: On Earth, Soultakers can be made a 7-iron golf club’s bitch, but have no problem having bullets rip right through their body… like a boss.
RULE #7 – “Zach, Led Zeppelin’s wrong… There is no stairway to Heaven.” Not really a rule, but I don’t think Brad gets the song, and fuck him for saying that anyway.
RULE #8 – Apparently, rogue good deeds done by Soultakers could possibly lead to promotions for them.
Or perhaps the time in “time and space” refers to all the clocks shown in this film. Clocks everywhere, all around, just ticking away the moments that make up a dull day. It’s like a Timex version of Future War’s cardboard fetish.
By the way, I could be wrong, but I’m thinking the Soultaker might’ve broken more than a couple of those rules.
Soultaker, I’m sure, has its fanbase ready to fight to the death in defending this slow-paced, nonsensical film. Though I’m not so sure you can consider the film’s director, producers and distributor, all three of whom are the most dogmatically vocal and passionately defensive user reviewers on the movie’s imdb.com page, as a “fanbase”. They can blame the low budget all they want, but I’m kinda thinking the low budget ain’t to blame for the poor pacing, clunky dialogue, flat acting and clumsy narrative. I can name, and have before, at least 10 films with just as low budgets that worked like a charm. Low budgets never get blamed when the films become hits; they always get blamed when they suck.