5 Souls (DVD)

I’ll see your five souls, and raise ya ten.

Noah is a self-centered architect who falls into a coma the day he learns that a building he designed collapsed and killed four people (what a way to avoid responsibility). In his hospital room, Noah is visited by a mysterious man who says he has come to kill Noah for his misdeeds. But there is some good news (kind of); if the young budding building designer agrees to take the lives of five people, chosen by his peculiar guest, then Noah will be allowed to live.

What would you do to save your life? Could you kill someone who is innocent just so you can continue to plague the planet? Don’t just immediately say no; really think about it, because your eternal soul could depend on it.

5 Souls is the second film I’ve reviewed from director Brett Donowho. (Love that last name Dono-what?) The first was A Haunting at Silver Falls, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Although this latest release is promising, it does fall short of what I was hoping.

Starring Ian Bohen (The Dark Knight Rises) who plays Noah, a slick narcissist, tormented by a demon after a sleazy deal with a crooked construction company goes badly. I don’t know about you, but if an evil force visited me in my coma and demanded I knock off a few strangers, that might finish me off right then and there. Not so with Mr. Noah, who converses with this demon as easily as you or I would engage in small talk with a cashier at the local grocer. And Noah’s coma permeating self-absorption has him seriously considering murder in order to save his own miserable life.

Steve Bacic, who also worked with Donowho in A Haunting at Silver Falls, plays washed up federal investigator Sam Reynolds, a desperate soul seeking answers in the death of his family in a similar collapse two years earlier. Sam finds out that both buildings were constructed by the same company (duh duh duh duuuh!). Together with hardened detective Sara Walters (Allison McAtee), he tries to prove that there was negligence on the part of the construction company’s owner, David Bickman.

I know, sounds promising right? And truthfully, 5 Souls isn’t a horrible movie. Donowho gives it the ol’ college try, but he just misses the mark. While the dude’s definitely got some movie making skills, here he parallels two stories that are supposed to end up intersecting; instead they play like two different movies altogether. In one, Noah is battling an evil force, and the other is a police procedural with Sam and Sara trying to catch a crook. The two stories have a loose connection at best, and when they finally do meet up, it’s an awkward encounter. It would’ve been far better had Donowho made this a straight up horror flick, with Sam and Sara as minor characters, while making Noah’s story the sole focus of the film.

This 1.85:1 widescreen presentation is a fine DVD transfer, the picture is crisp and clear, even during the night scenes. The Dolby 5.1 sound is top notch, with easy to hear dialogue and a subtle soundtrack. 5 Souls is a simple no frills release, devoid of any special features whatsoever. Not a waste of time, but there are a few things on my to-do list that would’ve been more productive.

Even though 5 Souls doesn’t quite stick the landing, Brett Donowho is still a filmmaker worth paying attention to.


The Verdict
Not Guilty, but Not-Not Guilty either.



Tech Specs
5 Souls (DVD) 2013, Inception Media Group, 120 minutes, NR (2013)
VIDEO: 1.85:1    AUDIO:  Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Alice is a stay-at-home wife and mother on the brink of insanity as she and her husband raise a brood of 3 overly emotional girls on a modicum amount of sleep, and even less peace and quiet. Having spent most of her life in the now bankrupt state of California, she and her husband moved to a place where the cotton's high and the livin' is easy, where a simpler way of life is king. With chickens to feed and projects to complete on property that has been in her husband's family for over 50 years. On top of that Alice cohosts a podcast called A Creative Mind where she narrates her flash fiction stories, as well as writing flash fiction stories for a literary journal called Short Fiction Break. Alice enjoys the little down time she manages to eke out each day to write and unwind. "Bad TV and awful movies make me mad," she said, and once you read her reviews you'll see exactly what she means by that.
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