Arriving in time for Halloween, Vicious Circle Films is releasing the Mike Campbell/Todd Johnson helmed 4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker on DVD October 8th.
A standard issue paint-by-numbers indie horror flick about beautiful women fighting dark forces, 4 Dead Girls is nevertheless nicely packaged by Vicious Circle, the indie horror arm of distributor Breaking Glass Pictures.
It may not be particularly surprising that a film centered around four largely narcissistic and just plain evil women isn't exactly the kind of film that makes for compelling cinema. Within a few minutes, I was ready for all of them to be killed and for their painful screeching to be put to a stop. Sadly, the closing credits didn't start rolling for quite awhile longer.
Originally released under the name The Rental, or so it seems given some of the early press, 4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker involves four beautiful yet easily agitated college women moving into their first off-campus apartment together. Unfortunately, the apartment they pick happens to be owned by a Nalusa Chito - a soul taker - who eats the souls of evil women. Locked in the house, the four women must battle to death because it's only the innocent who can actually kill him.
Lily (Katherine Browning), her best friend Bianca (Tiffany S. Walker), sister Lori (Ashley Love), and Lori's lover Pam (Leah Verrill) quickly establish themselves as irritating beyond words young women whose demise we eagerly await. Even as the story evolves, their stories never become particularly involving and 4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker for the most part comes off as one of those back of the shelf indie DVD's you used to look for while cruising the video store shelf because you knew it was going to suck but you just didn't care.
4 Dead Girls: The Soul Taker features the kind of performances one expects from low-budget indie horror (HINT: Bad), while it seems like Campbell and Johnson can't quite decide if the film is meant to be a B-movie extraordinaire or a genuinely terrifying spiritual horror.
Truthfully, it doesn't work either way.
In fairness, it should be noted that the film picked up a couple awards from Action on Film (2nd Place - Best Villain for Campbell and 2nd Place - Best Horror Film, Feature). This, of course, leads me to the conclusion that one does not attend Action on Film for horror films.
While one doesn't expect stellar special effects from low-budget horror, neither should they distract from the necessary chills and thrills as is what happens here. One would also expect that a film that largely takes place within the confines of a house would feel far more claustrophobic than does 4 Dead Girls.
If you're a fan of the Vicious Circle Films, then you may still want to add this one to the collection. Indie horror is most certainly a funny little beast of a genre and, quite simply, you may find yourself drawn to its casual titillation and girl-on-girl action enough to justify enduring the piercing shrieks of four self-involved and unfathomably irritating yet beautiful women.
For me? I'd rather drive a nail into my skull than watch the film again.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic