5 Souls meanders from good to bad, in equal measure…
5 Souls was actually Brett Donowho’s directorial debut, made back in 2011, and is only now getting released on DVD, but I’m unsure why they waited 2 years, although it could be because Donowho has become better known after his recently released horror A Haunting at Silver Falls, which was an average-at-best genre effort. 5 Souls is a very strange beast, where the way the story is told works well in places, then goes off the rails in others. It’s by no means a bad film, or one I would advise against, but I feel it would be better enjoyed if you at least have a basic understanding of how the film is laid out, with its jumps here and there, leaving you with the feeling of missing large chunks of the story. I understand we’re meant to be seeing it this way, as it’s Noah’s journey seen through his surreal hell, but it doesn’t quite gel properly, leaving only the feeling of seeing a disjointed story.
Noah (Ian Bohen, The Dark Knight Rises) is a bit of a risk taker who’ll take a short cut if it’ll earn him a quick buck. Thanks to his shady dealings with building contractor David Bickman (Charles Solomon Jr.), people die as a result of substandard work and cheap materials, some of which Noah supplied, where a building collapses. Two of the victims were wife and daughter to Sam (Steve Bacic), a now ex-detective, washed-up and obsessed with proving Bickman had something to do with it. After meeting Sam at another building collapse incident (also caused by Bickman), Sara, a detective (Allison McAtee) decides to help him, at great cost to her career if it doesn’t pan out.
Noah goes into a coma after his overdue honeymoon vaccinations go wrong, and while in that state, gets a visit from the devil himself who goes by the name of Yusef (Steven Schub) and wants him to kill five innocent people in order that he save his own soul. Noah takes up the challenge, albeit reluctantly at first, and while killing, he meets the blind, angelic Jessica (Kristina Anapau), who offers to help him in his time of need. We see a good versus evil sort of tale, as a condemned-to-hell man seeks to save his soul, by taking five others. But things are never quite what they seem, and also watch out for the nice little twist at the end. The acting was decent, as was a majority of the direction, especially when one considers it was a debut, and Donowho attempted something a bit different with his storytelling. It might not have worked as well as he’d perhaps hoped, but kudos for at least having a go, and making this a film that may just be enjoyed more on a second viewing.