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USA: New Line Cinema
UK: Entertainment Film Distributors
Cast: Winona Ryder, Ben Chaplin, John Hurt, Elias Koteas, Sarah Wynter, John Diehl, W Earl Brown, Ashley Edner, Ursula Brooks, Bob Clendenin, Philip Baker Hall, Kim H Ornitz, Leslie Stefanson
Director: Janusz Kaminski
USA: 102 mins
UK: 97 mins
USA Rated: R for violence/terror and some language
UK Certificate: 15 contains infrequent strong language and moderate violence and horror
USA Release Date: 13 October 2000
UK Release Date: 12 January 2001
Be vigilant, for your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour
- Peter 5:8
From Janusz Kaminski, the Academy Award-winning cinematographer of Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, comes Lost Souls, an entrancing supernatural thriller about the eternal battle between good and evil. Set against a backdrop of contemporary cynicism and ancient exorcism, it uses the conventions of the horror film to examine issues of belief, trust, faith and love. It is the story of two people who are inextricably bound together by strange circumstances. It depicts the struggle between a faithless crime writer and a young religious woman who is convinced that he is the target of a satanic conspiracy.
Maya Larkin (Winona Ryder) is a young woman whose very life was saved by faith. A dark and troubled past left her fragile and susceptible to demonic possession. She survived only after being pulled out of the Devil's grip by Father Lareaux (John Hurt), who subsequently became her mentor. He encouraged her to join with a group of priests who come to believe that the Devil incarnate will one day soon inhabit the body of a human being and plunge the world into the ultimate darkness.
Peter Kelson (Ben Chaplin) is a charming, best-selling New York author who delves into the minds of notoriously brutal criminals, looking for the roots of their violent behaviour. He holds the view that evil with a capital "E" does not exist and that demonic possession is a religious fiction. The victim of childhood tragedy in which both his parents were murdered, Peter turned away from Catholicism despite being raised in a devoutly religious setting by his uncle, Father James (Philip Baker Hall).
Maya and Peter's fates cross when Maya takes part in the Church-sanctioned exorcism of Henry Birdson, a violent sociopath who murdered his entire family. When the ritual goes terrifyingly wrong, Father Lareaux is left incapacitated and Maya is shaken to her very soul. Afterward, Maya decodes a final warning message left by Birdson which reveals, in numeric code, the name of the man whose body Satan plans to inhabit - Peter Kelson. But Kelson, a disciple of logic and scientific reason, couldn't possibly be the ideal vessel for the ultimate evil. Or could he?
Maya and her close friend, the impulsive Deacon John Townsend (Elias Koteas), are convinced that Peter Kelson is the unfortunate soul who has been chosen to transform into the Devil. That knowledge drives Maya to convince Peter that his life has been conspiratorially orchestrated to perform this one function and that his "entire life is a lie." And Maya is the only person who can stop the transformation and prevent Peter from becoming Satan. As eerie and devastating events begin to overtake Peter's life, Maya finally gets through to the skeptical and frightened Peter, and together they race to try to save Peter's life before it's too late.
Produced by Nina R Sadowsky and Meg Ryan for their Prufrock Pictures production banner, LOST SOULS also stars John Hurt, Philip Baker Hall, Elias Koteas, Sarah Wynter, John Beasley, Victor Slezak, John Diehl, Brad Greenquist, W. Earl Brown and Brian Reddy. The supernatural thriller written by Pierce Gardner is based on a story he wrote with Betsy Stahl. Gardner and Stahl are executive producers.