To its credit, SOULTAKER tries to do more than go through the usual poverty row stalk-and-slash motions, but ultimately it's a tedious film enlivened by the all-too-infrequent interesting sequence.
High-strung, wealthy Natalie (Vivian Schilling) and Zach Taylor (Gregg Thomsen), who's from the wrong side of the tracks, are ex-lovers. Her parents disapproved of their relationship, and she broke it off. They meet again at a picnic and realize they still care for one another; they agree to talk
things over. But immediately following their tentative reconciliation, tragedy strikes. Natalie and Zach accept a lift from their friend Brad (David Shark), and there's an accident. When they climb out of the wrecked car, things don't seem quite right. People aren't able to see them, and they find
themselves being pursued by the mysterious Soultaker (Joe Estevez). Though he's a frightening figure, he seems to have a soft spot for Natalie.
Bit by bit, Zach and Natalie figure out what's going on: they were in a fatal car accident, but something's gone wrong and they're suspended in a limbo between life and death. Their bodies are at a local hospital, hooked up to life support machines; Natalie's grief stricken parents are about to
have the artificial supports removed. Natalie and Zach must return to their bodies first, or else they'll be separated for all eternity. Aid comes in the form of their friend Brad. He's become a soultaker himself, to atone for the fact that he was driving the car that killed his friends, and helps
Natalie figure out a way to evade the Soultaker. She exploits the fact that she looks exactly like his wife, whom he murdered (the sin for which he became a soultaker), and tricks him into letting her and Zach escape. They awaken, and the Soultaker reports to the Angel of Death (Robert Z'Adar)
that he has failed.
SOULTAKER bears some resemblance to Herk Harvey's low-budget cult flick CARNIVAL OF SOULS, though screenwriter and star Vivian Schilling claims never to have seen the film. Much of SOULTAKER's ineptitude can be attributed to simple lack of money, which shows in everything from the tiny cast to
the functional photography and restricted locations. There was obviously no budget at all for special effects, and while it's easy to deplore movies that cloak their thin storylines in technical razzle dazzle, it's also a fact that technical razzle dazzle gives audiences something to look at;
without its massive effects budget, Joel Schumacher's FLATLINERS would have looked more like SOULTAKER than anyone involved would like to admit. Overall, the acting is adequate, and it's interesting to note that Joe Estevez is Martin Sheen's brother. Robert Z'Adar, who plays the Angel of Death, is
known to horror movie buffs as the star of the MANIAC COP films. (Violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: To its credit, SOULTAKER tries to do more than go through the usual poverty row stalk-and-slash motions, but ultimately it's a tedious film enlivened by the all-too-infrequent interesting sequence. High-strung, wealthy Natalie (Vivian Schilling) and Zach… (more)