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Lost Souls [DVD] 
Almost the last of ...
show morethe millennial blip of disappointing Devil movies, Lost Souls is a scrambling of themes from The Omen, The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby. It is more serious and stylish than End of Days, Stigmata and Bless the Child, but stuck with a screenplay that manages to be just as ridiculous. Maya Larkin (Winona Ryder), a disturbingly intense young woman who was once exorcised of an evil spirit, puzzles out a numeric code scrawled by a possessed mathematician and leaps to the conclusion that true crime writer Peter Kelson (Ben Chaplin) is due to be transformed into the Antichrist on his upcoming 33rd birthday. The rational Kelson assumes Maya is a lunatic, but after an attempt is made on his life by a rogue priest he notices that the people around him are in a Satanic conspiracy and that his lifelong streak of good luck has been engineered at enormous cost by a cult of witches. As the dreaded birthday nears, Maya and Peter take drastic steps to avert the ascendancy of Evil. Ryder is wildly overqualified for the star role but at least manages to suggest an interesting mix of guile and fanaticism. There are a few good ideas (an apparition we take to be a phantom which turns out to be a real knife-wielding killer, Chaplin searching his own apartment to find evidence of Satanic protections everywhere), but ex-cinematographer Kaminski (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan) concentrates so hard on bleaching images and grainy effects that he fails to do much with the lumpy storyline, the obligatory British ham (here, John Hurt) cast as a troubled priest, the too-obvious perfidy of the Mystery Satanist Villain, and more laugh-out-loud lines than Little Nicky.On the DVD: The film might not be a masterpiece, but it gets a fine package--good-looking widescreen transfer (it was directed by a cinematographer, after all), 20 minutes' worth of deleted or alternate scenes (including a snippet of Exorcist-like levitation in a flashback), several sound mixes (Dolby Digital, DTS 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0) that allow you to appreciate the unusually layered and ominous soundtrack, a trailer, a full-length unapologetic commentary by Kaminski, cast notes and an eerie menu. --Kim Newmanshow less