Lost Souls is certainly one of the most gorgeous-looking movies to come out in 2000. The cinematography has a striking, visual texture reminiscent of old photographs, all the color bleeding out into rich and evocative shades of grey and black. The movie doesn't quite live up to its look, though it's not without its pleasures. The broader outlines of its story--about a true-crime writer (Ben Chaplin) who discovers, through the efforts of a former victim of possession (Winona Ryder), that he's about to become the Antichrist--lack any surprises or ingenuity. But individual scenes are largely well-written, spookily directed, and acted with commitment and intensity. Chaplin is particularly good, Ryder does her best, and a crew of superb character actors (including John Hurt, Elias Koteas, and Philip Baker Hall) flesh out the skeletally scripted supporting characters with skill and intelligence. Some of the special effects go a little overboard, but the movie is surprisingly free of the cheesy, demonic posturing and portentous speeches that afflict too many religious thrillers. Fans of "The Exorcist" or "The Omen" may find "Lost Souls" to be a modest but flavorful variation on the "devil-is-coming-to-get-you" genre. "--Bret Fetzer"
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