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No Soul Is Safe 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

The poster for Bill Paxton's stunning directorial debut is replete with his good buddies waxing lyrical about his film. Rent-a-quote hack Stephen King was particularly enamoured, as was the Evil Dead directing sell-out Sam Raimi. For once, however, the quotes are relevant - reviews from the people who really understand the genre giving praise to a genuinely original piece of work, something that's all too rare in the multiplexes today.

Paxton directs himself in this deeply bizarre tale of madness, murder and demons, which begins as Adam Meiks (McConaughey - excellent and understated) travels to see Agent Wesley Doyle (Boothe) to confess what he knows about a trail of homicides that have been baffling the law for years. Cue the flashback that dominates the majority of the film, as Adam narrates the story of his everyday boyhood existence that is shattered when his father (Paxton) runs into his and his brother's room to tell them that he has had a message from God - a message that commands him to kill. Soon, the family is cruising around town, looking for demons that are disguised as humans, but as the axe-related deaths increase, so do family tensions, until the family comes precariously close to collapsing in on itself.

This is a very interesting piece of work indeed - a serial killer flick, a moody horror and a pitch black comedy all at once, and one which manages to pull off all three (no easy task) very effectively. Luckily for the audience, the numerous murders occur off-screen, though like in so many other brilliant films what you imagine is infinitely worse than what they might show. And the ambiguity increases the disturbing nature of what we're shown - are these victims really demons trying to bring about the apocalypse, or is Paxton's character just a complete loony? The film does actually give an answer to this question, in a twist ending that alternately delights and annoys in equal measure. I personally think it is the crowning achievement on an already superb film, but you may well disagree.

2002 was quite a year for edgy independent horror fare - already this term we've had "Donnie Darko", "The Eye", "28 Days Later" and "My Little Eye", and this is quite the film to end it all with - an edge of your seat chiller with style to spare, and with an ending that will send you off into the night not quite as secure with the world around you as you were when you came in.

Greg Taylor

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Spring Term (35mm)