Movie Review: Dead Souls (2012)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2012 supernatural thriller starring Jesse James.

Synopsis: Benjamin Conroy, believing there is a connection between Christ’s death and the Egyptian god Osiris, murders his family and crucifies them, and himself, in the barn. Seventeen years later, the only survivor of the massacre, Benjamin’s youngest son, turns 18 and learns he has inherited the farm. Eager to learn more about a past he didn’t know about, Johnny decides to investigate his family’s property and inadvertently releases their restless spirits.


My wife and I picked this movie almost at random last night after going through some other options and not being able to make up our minds. While I did have some lowered expectations for this film (based mostly on the fact I had never heard of it or most of the actors in it), I did hope it would at least be somewhat entertaining and creepy. Unfortunately, the movie just proved to be a big disappointment.

There were some parts of the movie I did find I liked. For one, at least for the majority of the movie, even though we knew Johnny’s (James) father (Downes) murdered and crucified his family, we didn’t know exactly why. And, that mystery did add a little bit of suspense at times.

Also, I was very impressed with Hughes’ performance as Johnny’s mentally-disturbed mother, Mary. While her desire to over protect him was understandable, especially given his family’s history, she also kept him under her thumb to the point it was easy to see why he would want to get as far away from her as possible and even want to live on his family’s farm despite knowing the tragic history.

The problem I had with this movie was the execution just wasn’t that good. The early scenes, with Benjamin murdering his family, are intense and interesting to watch. However, the rest of the film just seems to drag on, even after things finally start to get rolling and his life is in danger.

The introduction of Emma (Apanowicz) didn’t help matters. Her role in this movie was just awkward. One moment, she’s defensive and flighty. The next, she’s taking her clothes off and seducing Johnny because, at least in the writers’ logic, being in an obviously haunted house and having your lives in danger is a great excuse to have (likely unprotected) sex with someone you just met.

To be fair, the end of the film did, at times, create some suspense. However, even that ended up being dragged out a bit and, after the first few minutes, got to be somewhat predictable. As a result, it never reached the level of intensity that would have made it memorable.

Dead Souls

On his 18th birthday, a young man learns he was adopted when he inherits a farm in Maine--which has been abandoned for years since his natural family died at the hands of his fa...

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Final Opinion

The movie, at times, does show some potential. However, it never fully achieves that potential and, overall, is somewhat forgettable as a film. It’s an average film at best and not one I would recommend watching unless you have nothing else to watch.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 07/21/2015, StevenHelmer
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