Flawlessly executed and the stuff of nightmares, “My Soul to Keep” is a cinematic masterpiece and one of the best horror films to come out in years.
I had the extreme pleasure of viewing the powerful film, My Soul to Keep, at the International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival/Phoenix Film Festival. It’s an original, inventive monster flick, seen through the eyes of a child. It’s straight of out a nightmare.
My Soul to Keep is a 2018 horror film, written and directed by Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad. It stars Parker Smerek, Remington Gielniak, Arielle Olkhovsky, Brandon Matthew Layne, Maria Wasikowski and Emmanuelle Turco. Nine year old Eli Braverman (Smerek) believes that there’s a monster living in his basement, and it’s trying to steal his soul.
This film is an instant horror classic. It’s Home Alone meets Stranger Things.
It’s mesmerizing and captivating. It screams to your inner child. It’s what a monster movie should be, full of wonder and imagination, and it will scare the living shit out of you. My Soul to Keep is an absolute terrifying masterpiece!
At the heart of the film, lies a nightmare. Growing up, most of us have likely been spoon fed some make believe story about a monster or boogeyman that will get us, if we don’t behave or do as we’re told. Having or being an older sibling in the family, you’ve either experienced or are at least partially responsible for the telling of said tales.
The filmmakers managed to perfectly capture the essence of what it feels like to be a kid. It’s jam-packed full of 80’s nostalgia, and mixed with some really solid acting and genius storytelling. It aptly conveys the magic and mystery that resides inside the heart of every child.
The acting in this film is phenomenal! The chemistry between Smerek and Gielniak is undeniable. There’s so much chemistry between the two that you often forget you are even watching a film. You feel as if you are in the thick of it; like a kid again. You find yourself emotionally attached to the characters. You take on their pain, and you share in their triumphs. It’s seriously some of the best acting in a long time.
There were so many wonderful, worthy performances. The parents (Layne and Wasikowski) are actually cool and appealing. They fit so well together. Brandon Matthew Layne is great as the down to earth and empathetic father figure, and Maria Wasikowski is spot on as the hard nosed, stern, no nonsense mother bird.
Emanuelle Turco is the perfect wicked older sister. She does a phenomenal job at really getting under your skin and causing you to hate her. Ariel Olkhovsky is also really engaging as the fellow classmate and girl with a crush on Eli. It was said that her role did not originally exist. However, once she auditioned, they couldn’t help but cast her and give the actress her own special role in the film.
Still, the best acting came from the two best friends. Remington Gielniak was excellent in his supporting role. He’s funny, charismatic and hits his target — providing skillful laughs, making his scenes fun and giving them energy. And then there’s the charming and very relatable Parker Smerek. He’s the best thing about the entire film. He wears his G.I. Joe shirts and carries his Transformer (Hot Rod to be exact) as his own personal totem. You just can’t help but root for the kid.
Every single thing in this film worked.
From directing, to acting, screenplay, directing, editing, sound; you name it, they hit it. The special effects were amazing and very well put together, and the sets were exciting and lively. The costumes were perfect and the makeup was great as well.
There was some really gifted and talented filmmaking going on in this film. The experienced use of angles and utilization of lighting and framing was absolutely brilliant. It’s the ultimate boy versus monster story and was actually based on a real life events, coming straight from the director himself. It was originally a story used in Ahmad’s household, to keep his younger sibling in check. That fact indeed makes the film much scarier.
My Soul to Keep belongs on every shelf and in every collection — an absolute must see. It’s completely original and a total blast. So, be on the lookout and make sure to check it out when you get the chance.