Lost Souls

Lost Souls

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

It has been a long time coming, but now he's here, the messiah of Hades, the son of the Devil. As the leader of a Satanic welcoming committee tells a Catholic fellow traveller: "You have had it all to yourself for 2000 years. Now it's our turn."

At last, a movie that can stand beside Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. Janusz Kaminski directs with an originality completely lacking in churn'em'out horror flicks, using bled, grained colour to create a look that peels the lustre of life from New York's dark soul.

Copy picture

The thread of hope between Peter Kelson's starstruck career as a best-selling author specialising in famous murders and "the time of transformation" is dangerously thin, as he learns from a gun-wielding deacon intent on his assassination.

Maya Larkin (Winona Ryder), an ex-teenage runaway with a record of petty theft now teaching primary kids French at a seminary, assists at exorcisms. The last one, for a mass murderer, was a fearful business, reminding her of when it was done to her.

She has visions, like daymares, and her eyes reflect their terror. "I believe in God and the Devil," she says. "In fact, I know they exist." She is closer to the knowledge of the Antichrist's imminent arrival than anyone. By unravelling a numerical code, Kelson's name is revealed.

God became a man in Christ, she tells him, now he will become Satan in human form. He knows nothing, of course, and treats her like a deranged groupie until odd things begin to occur.

This is a film that is serious about what it does and daring in its vision. Ryder reveals an almost unbearable vulnerability, as if the experience of playing Maya will tear her to pieces and Ben Chaplin, an English actor who deserves to be better known, brings to Kelson a confused, orderly intelligence.

Later, as the hour of his rebirth draws closer, Kelson asks Maya why she wants anything to do with him.

"Until it happens, you are still a person," she says.

"What about after?"

"You're gone."

Reviewed on: 24 Jan 2001
Share this with others on...
Lost Souls packshot
The son of the devil returns.
Amazon link

Director: Janusz Kaminski

Writer: Pierce Gardner, Betsy Stahl

Starring: Winona Ryder, Ben Chaplin, Sarah Wynter, Philip Baker Hall, John Hurt, Elias Koteas, Brian Reddy, John Beasley, John Diehl, Paul Kleiman, Bob Clendenin

Year: 2000

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

Festivals:


Search database:


If you like this, try:

Rosemary's Baby