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6 Souls Blu-ray Review

6 Souls (2013) movie poster 6 Souls

US Theatrical Release: April 5, 2013 / Running Time: 112 Minutes / Rating: R

Directors: Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein / Writer: Michael Cooney

Cast: Julianne Moore (Dr. Caroline "Cara" Jessup/Harding), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (David Bernburg/Adam Saber/Wesley James Crite), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dr. Harding), Frances Conroy (Mrs. Bernburg), Nate Corddry (Stephen Harding), Brooklyn Proulx (Samantha "Sammy" Jane Jessup/Harding), Brian A. Wilson (Virgil), Joyce Feurring (Granny Holler Witch), Steven Rishard (Detective Danton), Charles Techman (Monty Hughes), John Peakes (Dr. Charles Foster), Michael Graves (Holler Man), Katiana Davis (Little Girl Holler/Familiar)

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As an actress who has continued to find meaningful film work in her fifties, Julianne Moore is a rarity. Having appeared in three Best Picture Academy Award nominees and worked with directors like Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Spielberg, the Coen Brothers, and Robert Altman, the actress adds some clout to any project she has committed to.
That doesn't mean, however, that she is incapable of making the occasional stinker. With a ludicrous career-worst 4% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (including 0% among "top critics") and a virtually non-existent theatrical release, 6 Souls serves to remind us that Moore isn't infallible.

This psychological horror film marks the English language debut of Swedish directing team Mårlind & Stein, although its American release trails their follow-up effort, Underworld: Awakening, by a year and a half. 6 Souls was shot back in the spring of 2008, a fact it doesn't bother to hide by repeatedly referring to 1982 as "twenty-five years ago." Released to Japanese, Irish, and UK theaters in the spring of 2010, and to home video in other parts of Europe, South America, and even Canada throughout 2011, the movie finally reached the US this year from The Weinstein Company's niche RADiUS-TWC label, per whose strategy it came to On Demand a few months before a limited big screen engagement. Movies typically don't sit on a shelf for years or go to other parts of the world first because they are very good. 6 Souls meets the low expectations its untimely distribution creates.

In "6 Souls", Julianne Moore plays Dr. Cara Jessup, a psychologist whose disbelief in multiple personality syndrome is challenged by a patient (Jonathan Rhys Davies).

Moore plays Dr. Cara Jessup, a psychologist whose expert testimony claiming that Multiple Personality Syndrome does not truly exist leads to a murder suspect's conviction and execution. Jessup adamantly believes that MPS is a cop-out defense propagated by fiction. Her father (Jeffrey DeMunn, all of 13 years older than Moore) challenges her steadfast doubt by having her observe a new patient referred to his hospital. David Bernburg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a paralyzed Southern boy raised in the mountains. But when he gets a phone call asking for "Adam", he undergoes a swift, neck-snapping personality change into red-deficient New Yorker Adam Saber.

Despite Irish actor Rhys Meyers' erratic, bizarre, and underwhelming display of American accents, Cara takes the case seriously and tries to understand David/Adam's dissociative identity disorder. The doctor's investigation takes her to the kind of town where mutilated doll parts hang from the telephone wire, as she learns that David/Adam is assuming the personas of real murder victims he couldn't personally know. We're typically two steps ahead of Dr. Jessup, and are apparently the only ones aware of the threat posed by the troubled, explosive young man(/men), because he is always on the loose. While Dr. Jessup continues to throw herself into dangerous scenarios with no clear motivation, people she knows start becoming deathly ill, with symptoms like slimy back and coughing up dirt.

Repeated references to faith or lack thereof clues us somewhat into where this is headed, though the movie keeps you guessing whether David/Adam is a religious fanatic or The Devil incarnate. Either way, no matter what personality he assumes (and there is also an underground rock band frontman named Wes), he is intrigued by the beliefs of the widowed Dr. Jessup (who considers herself "a doctor of science and a woman of God") and her unrealistically doubtful young daughter Sammy (Brooklyn Proulx, who's now 14). Good thing there are some old silent movies from 1918 and mystical hillbillies led by an evidently immortal witch doctor to make some sense of this all.

Dr. Harding (Jeffrey DeMunn) telephones David/Adam/Wes to bring about a sudden personality change. Mrs. Bernburg (Frances Conroy) is shocked by the way her slain son is channeled before her eyes.

A now-rare screenplay from England's Michael Cooney (Identity and the two killer snowman Jack Frost movies), 6 Souls opens with some promise, but it is long evaporated when the end credits start to roll some twenty-five minutes after you wished they did. An overlong climax is one problem, but the film is all kinds of stupid well before that.
While Mårlind & Stein deliver some thoughtful compositions, their film is plagued by gross imagery and subpar visual effects. They don't really seem to care about their characters, as evidenced by Cara's unlikely younger brother (Nate Corddry), beer-drinking, niece-babysitting, Night of the Living Dead-loving comic relief who features prominently heading into the final moments, only to disappear without explanation.

There are many such lapses, as the film continually abandons logic to produce thrills and conflict, neither of which land with any success. Moore manages to put up a façade to hide her disinterest. On the other hand, Rhys Meyers, then occupying himself between seasons of "The Tudors", seems way too into a role he doesn't have the dialect training to pull off. Running nearly two hours, 6 Souls wears out its welcome and belabors the many bad ideas it keeps spitting out. The whole of it is definitely more terrible than the sum of its parts, as it frustratingly bears down on your patience and offends you with an insultingly absurd finale that ends with a dumb twist.

Weinstein partner Anchor Bay brings 6 Souls to Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, kicking off the home video industry's slowest month.

6 Souls Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.35:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Blue Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($24.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video


One area where you won't find fault is in the Blu-ray's picture and sound. The 2.35:1 video is a tad grainy at times, but usually crystal clear at least until you scrutinize it up close.
The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is equally satisfactory, supplying crisp dialogue and solid atmosphere.


Nary an extra is included beyond the disc-opening, menu-inaccessible HD theatrical trailers for Dark Skies and Scream 4.

The menu plays clips under score and a dirty filter. Annoyingly, the disc doesn't resume playback or support bookmarks. A dull movie like this that will have you fighting to stay awake makes it easy to wish that Weinstein would get with the times when it comes to Blu-ray authoring.

The standard blue keepcase is not fitted with any inserts or a slipcover.

Dr. Jessup (Julianne Moore) questions David Bernburg (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Or is it Adam Saber?


You can probably get close to the halfway point of 6 Souls before you stop questioning the film's near-universal assault by critics. This multiple personality thriller sets up a decent premise and has a cast that should be equipped to make it work, but it demands you accept far too many illogical turns to be satisfied in the end.

It was probably inevitable that a film taking this long to be released would hit home video with no frills. At least Anchor Bay's Blu-ray provides a solid feature presentation.

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Reviewed June 27, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 RADIUS-TWC, Nala Films, Macari, Edelstein Films,
The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment, and Anchor Bay Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.