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6 Souls (2008)

The Weinstein Company
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/2/2013

All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/3/2013

It happens all the time. When a movie is shot, the powers-that-be typically have a projected release date in mind. But, for one reason or another, the movie isn't released at that time. Sometimes these films see the light of day rather quickly. But, others become what is termed in the industry as shelved, where they sit in limbo waiting to be released. For some reason, several supernatural thrillers have fallen into this category. We have movies like The Gathering (shot in 2002, released in the U.S. in 2007), Case 39 (shot in 2007, released in 2010) and our winner All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (shot in 2006, finally scheduled for release in the U.S. in 2013). Is there an explanation for this trend? I'm not sure, but I do know that we can add 6 Souls to that list.

6 Souls introduces us to Dr. Cara Harding (Julianne Moore), who works in the behavioral health field in some capacity, who receives a call from her father (Jeffrey DeMunn), who likewise works in a mental hospital doing something. He wants Cara to meet Adam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a man who was admitted to the facility after he was found unconscious in the street. Adam exhibits traits of Multiple Personality Disorder (which is actually called Dissociative Identity Disorder in the field), a diagnosis in which Cara does not believe -- hence the reason her father wants her to examine the patient. As she talks to Adam and his other personalities, she begins to learn that he's taken on the personas of real life people who are now deceased. She decides that Adam's troubled past has caused him to have specific problems, but the detailed information which he can give about the deceased is troubling. Adam's bizarre behavior, combined with some facts she digs up, leads Cara to believe that this case may reach beyond the realms of psychiatry.

6 Souls was shot in 2008, and it is finally being released five years later. Many films which fit the "shelved" criteria show evidence of "reworking" and "re-editing" and a good number of these movies have been whittled down to a running time which barely makes the cut for a theatrical release. But, not 6 Souls, which clocks in at nearly two hours. This was the first American project for Swedish directors Man Marlind and Bjorn Stein, who would go on to director Underworld: Awakening. Perhaps no one told them that the leisurely pace often seen in European movies doesn't always fly in America.

Of course, it's not entirely their fault, as the script is very repetitive, as we wants to make sure that we get as many scenes of Adam switching personalities as possible, which are then followed by numerous scenes of Cara doing research. It always bothers me when a long and meandering movie can't find the time to be detailed and 6 Souls certainly fits the bill there. Is Cara a psychiatrist or a psychologist? (There is a difference.) Does she work at the same institute as her father, or is he simply letting her see Adam for kicks? (The ethics of this would be questionable.) If she doesn't work there, where does she work? The film opens with her advising a jury in a trial -- something which seems unrealistic, as this sort of information would be heard in the courtroom. How is Adam able to wander out of the hospital, as most facilities like this are locked units. If Cara is just seeing Adam for fun, why would she choose that instead of looking after her young daughter, whom she's always leaving with her brother (Nate Cordry).

Due to some scheduling issues, I had to take a break in watching 6 Souls after the first hour. At that time, I thought to myself, "This isn't bad, I wonder why it was shelved?" Evidence to answer that question came in the second half, as the movie really goes off of the rails in the third act. Screenwriter Michael Cooney has worked really hard to give a detailed explanation for what is going on here, but he fails, but what do you expect from the maker of the Jack Frost (killer snowman) movies. What had seemed like a pretty straight-forward supernatural mystery suddenly becomes a religious...time-travel?...ghost?...I don't really know movie, and just as with the examples cited above, the lack of detail is grating and it all simply smacks of lazy writing. This is all capped-off by a bleak ending.

Four-time Oscar and five-time Golden Globe nominee Julianne Moore must have seen something in this script which she found attractive. It's funny, we think of her as a dramatic actress, but she's certainly been in her share of sci-fi and horror movies, so she didn't make this to just "shake things up". Perhaps the original script went in another direction, as 6 Souls does offer some interesting ideas, but the vague story and the slapdash ending don't help. I can't recommend this movie to any of your personalities.

6 Souls doesn't even do us the courtesy of having the most obvious final act twist happen on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 27 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain and no defects from the source material. Overall, the film has a dark look and some shots border on being too dark. This dark look has left us with few bright colors, but the tones are still realistic. The picture does exhibit a nice amount of detail, which we can see in close-ups, and the depth is good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a modern horror film, we get plenty of "boom!" bass when something shocking happens, and the subwoofer handles this well. The surround sound effects are fine, but I felt that the mix didn't take advantage of some scenes which could have treated us to more detailed rear speaker action. The stereo effects work well, especially when things move from one side of the screen to the other.

The 6 Souls Blu-ray Disc does not contain any extra features.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.