Keeper of Souls

Starring: Graham Timbes
Mosaic Entertainment
Certificate: 15
Available 04 October 2004

The 1692 Salem witch trials failed to catch up with a man whose sorcery blurred the border between nightmares and reality. He was the Keeper of Souls, or maybe even the Devil himself. Switch to present day and Stacy, a woman who has regular nightmares of herself running from monkish figures and being captured for a ritual ceremony. When her grandmother Rose dies, she and her husband take the ashes back to the area where she was born. Renting an old and remote house on the edge of town, Stacy finds that her visions intensify and her husband Cliff discovers a body at the edge of the lake, which may or may not be that of a local missing girl...

This is one of the most horrifying films I have ever seen, but not for the reasons you might hope. It's simply so bad that the thought of sticking it back in my video player terrifies me. I'm certain that's not what writer and director Tim Card had in mind. There's no cohesion to the plot and the structuring is all over the place. What seems important one moment is forgotten the next. The dry ice mist-effect is very much overused, close-up shots are repeated several times, and there is even a temporary film noir-style switch to monochrome for no apparent reason.

And that's not all. The budget must have been tiny, because the 'actors' continue after fluffed lines. The scene-cutting is worse than amateur, with regular switches to new scenes before the spoken dialogue from the previous one has finished - yes, half way through a sentence! The sound on the film comes and goes; sometimes background noise is prominent, blocking out delivered lines, and occasionally there doesn't appear to be any sound at all when you would expect minimal ambience. For a short movie there are many time wasting slow-motion sequences. A cheap scare has a body shoot out of the swamp water and sink once more, again for no reason. Even a gun is left handy near the unconscious body of our hero so that he can shoot-up the place at the end.

I really would like to say something nice about Keeper of Souls for balance, but there's no lifeline to grab hold of. This is not so bad it's good, it's just rubbish.

Ty Power