Sweet Taste Of Souls


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Sweet Taste Of Souls
"Lauren at least has the sense to ham it up a bit in an effort to create comedy, but she has nobody to bounce off."

It's easy to ruin a good film with bad music. Sweet Taste Of Souls has one of those looping plinky plonky piano scores that makes one want to punch through a wall after 20 minutes, and ruins the balance of scene after scene. It opens with an even worse piece of music, with crooning about cherry pie in a style that's intended to sound sexy or dangerous but just sounds ridiculous. In this case, however, there's no good film to ruin. That opening song should be considered a warning.

The pie motif remains throughout the story. There's no particular reason for it to be so prominent so one must assume it's just a halfhearted attempt to draw in passing Twin Peaks fans. The film is centred on a remote roadside café which, despite having standard sized menus, seems to have nothing else in stock, and gets so little custom that one imagines most of the pies it displays must go as stale as the script. It's owned by Ellinore (Honey Lauren), middle aged, glamorously presented and flirtatious, who is obsessed by a man she mistakenly believes to be her husband. Using magical powers apparently bequeathed to her by a dead pet bird, she has trapped him inside a photograph. The walls of her establishment are covered in similar framed images whose prisoners are able to move only when nobody is looking.

Copy picture

Enter our protagonists: four thinly sketched teenagers, apparently members of a band, who stop off at the café for a snack. When one of Ellinore's photographs is damaged, she decides to use them to create a replacement. The presence of yet another abandoned car raises police suspicions, however, whilst the new prisoners look for means of escape, and Ellinore's carefully constructed life begins to come apart at the seams.

There ought to be enough here for a decent story, especially with the addition of a subplot about the domestic abuse in Ellinore's past, but the storytelling is incoherent and the other characters are never fleshed out. Lauren at least has the sense to ham it up a bit in an effort to create comedy, but she has nobody to bounce off. The other performers might as well be cardboard cut-outs. It's not altogether their fault - they're all bad in the same way, which points to poor direction, and they have no character arcs to explore. The effect is rather like watching a high school class take turns to read from a book. There's no chemistry between them, as a result of which the film is seriously lacking in energy.

What would it be like to be trapped in a picture for years? Ironically, that sense of frustration and boredom is the one thing that the film captures well. You'll be left feeling as if you've been watching this picture for years.

Reviewed on: 25 Nov 2020
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Sweet Taste Of Souls packshot
When four struggling band members stop at a lonely roadside cafe for a slice of pie they find themselves imprisoned in the deranged cafe owners bizarre art collection and must battle a sinister force with an appetite for souls.
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Director: Terry Ross

Writer: F Scott Mudgett

Starring: Honey Lauren, John Salandria, Mark Valeriano, Amber Gaston, Sarah J Baertholomew, Thom Michael Mulligan

Year: 2020

Runtime: 99 minutes

Country: US


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