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Case Number 08125

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Desperate Souls

Lionsgate // 2005 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 3rd, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson has had explosive diarrhea that was more pleasant than this film.

The Charge

Chasing evil back to Hell.

Opening Statement

I have nothing of consequence to say here. This is yet another in a long-line of cheeseball, low-budget, poorly acted horror films that leave little with the viewer except the physiological effects of having aged 90 minutes.

Facts of the Case

Okay, so many years ago there were these orphans and they were killed and now their unholy spirits seek vengeance on any fools stupid enough to tread on their burial ground. Thankfully, we have some volunteers.

A group of teens partying out in the woods inadvertently awake the slumbering demon orphans and they immediately find death and loud, obnoxious special effects raining down upon them.

Only one guy survives the slaughter, and, dazed and bloody, he meets up with this other guy, who happens to know all about the deranged orphans and runs around acting like a bad-ass and smacking people with a shovel, despite the fact he's wearing a fur coat.

Eventually, these two clowns are joined by some other teens, also running from the marauding orphans (who have now possessed the bodies of the aforementioned slain friends).

So now this hapless group of survivalists must race to track down the mystical key that will free the cursed orphans and send them back to orphan hell—where as everybody knows, all orphans go.

The Evidence

What can I say? Another crappy attempt at a horror movie, vomited up by Lions Gate. I'll get it out of the way and tell you about the few things Desperate Souls has going for it:

The visual effects and makeup, while minimal, are surprisingly well done for a film with such a vanishing budget.

Um, there's gratuitous shovel-slaying?

That's all I've got. Basically, Desperate Souls appears to be the net result of a bunch of goofy friends getting together to make a movie. The acting is laughably awful and the story makes as little sense to me as a textbook on quantum theory written in Aramaic.

This whole "demonic orphan" claptrap, while admittedly cool on paper, is merely an excuse for some of the cast members to wear faux vampire makeup and howl a whole lot. I didn't follow, nor cared to invest brain power into any of the mythology surrounding the orphans. I know there is an evil book involved somehow. And druids.

But narrative discipline is obviously not on the front burner for the young filmmakers, so the attention is shifted to niftier stuff, like running through the woods at night or playing around with prop guns. There's lots of that stuff.

Anything else you want to know? There's hardly any gore (and by hardly I mean zero) and the R rating comes solely from strong language. Lame. The least these guys could have done was crack open a bottle of Karo syrup.

Closing Statement

This movie stinks. And it's boring.

The Verdict

Guilty of being stinky and boring.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 70
Extras: 20
Acting: 50
Story: 60
Judgment: 55

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers


• IMDb

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