Julianne Moore stars in this psychological thriller about a man who takes on the identities of those who’ve been killed by a mysterious disease. Like most films about schizophrenics or sociopaths, 6 Souls spends a lot of its time analyzing Daniel/Adam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) before it gets to its confusing paranormal bent – that the body holding Daniel and Adam is actually an old spirit trapping souls, for some reason that’s not explicitly clear.
Moore plays Cara Harding, a psychologist cowed by her father’s legacy in the field. Repeatedly questioned by him, she takes on a case he refers to her because of its eccentricities: the man can change between the paraplegic Daniel and the able-bodied but aggressive Adam with just a phone call, and it appears that Daniel is actually someone who died 25 years ago. As Moore attempts to dissect one identity from the other, she finds Adam/Daniel quickly takes on more and more, and her friends and family begin to die around her. Crazy!
Except it’s not. 6 Souls has been done numerous times in different forms, all of them fairly similar to this one from directors Mans Marlind and Björn Stein. Though the film doesn’t stick to its psychological roots as it probably should, the paranormal aspect of the film is also derivative – it uses the same tricks throughout to glean scares, and most of them don’t work. A witch doctor, an old spirit: they’ve been done before, they’ll be done again, and all have had more soul than 6 Souls.
Moore looks tired in this film, and that’s due to the interminable running time here. If 6 Souls were a song, it would be the kind that rambles on and on without end – I’m thinking a Dave Matthews live jam. Part of the film’s longevity comes from the filmmakers trying to describe exactly what’s going on. There’s mumbo jumbo about souls’ shelters, there’s a witch doctor who sees out of a young girl’s eyes, there’s something about a sickness where the victims cough up dirt. All of it is so overdrawn that the film concludes about as well as a grandfather falling asleep mid- war story.
The opening of the film starts out pretty strong, too, which makes everything all the more disappointing. If 6 Souls had simplified its plot a little bit, maybe cut out a few of the paranormal aspects, it might have been a more successful, if generic, movie. But 6 Souls goes for broke, and it winds up making little sense – probably not the kind of ending one would want for a film analyzing the sensibilities of those deemed “crazy.”