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The Soul Survivors' only giant hit, "Expressway to Your Heart," was one of the first notable productions by Philadelphia wizards Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in 1967. Although they were white, the Soul Survivors adopted a convincing R&B sound for their early singles on Crimson. Gamble and Huff loaded "Expressway to Your Heart" with honking horns and other automotive sound effects, but the record's principal strength lay in its soulful vocals and pounding beat. After a less successful follow-up, "Explosion in Your Soul," the band faded but returned for one more hit in 1974.
Soul Survivors is a 2001 psychological thriller film starring Melissa Sagemiller as a college student named Cassie, whose boyfriend Sean (Casey Affleck) died in a car accident that resulted from her driving after a night of partying. The accident starts to take its toll when she begins hallucinating and regularly having strange visions even though Cassie's friends Annabel (Eliza Dushku) and Matt (Wes Bentley) try helping her through everything.
Cassie and Sean, as well as ex-boyfriend Matt and good friend Annabel, go to a club situated in an old church. There Cassie sees a man with a clear, plastic mask (Deathmask) and an imposing man with a scarred face (Hideous Dancer). Deathmask tries to grab her on the dance floor, but she pushes him away and steps outside the club with Sean.
In the parking lot, Matt eavesdrops on their conversation. Sean confesses his love for Cassie, who claims she feels the same way. When Sean returns to the club, Matt convinces Cassie to give him a last 'goodbye' kiss. Sean sees this, and reacts badly to it, giving Cassie the silent treatment as they drive off. Cassie, who is behind the wheel, continually looks away from the road until the car crashes. Cassie's next memory is of being rushed to the hospital; Matt and Annabel are unharmed, but Sean has been killed on impact.
During the school term that follows, Cassie has several visions of Sean. She also has visions of Deathmask and Hideous Dancer in the company of Matt and Annabel. On several occasions, she believes she is being chased by the two men, although Annabel and Matt assure her that the incidents are all in her mind. After one chase, Cassie faints and is rescued by Father Jude, a young priest who is sympathetic to her fears and offers to listen if she ever needs someone to talk to.
A few nights later, after being chased again, Cassie knocks at the church door, and Father Jude gives her sanctuary. He gives her an amulet depicting St Jude and allows her to sleep in his small room in the church. Upon awakening that morning, Cassie sees that the calendar in the room reads 1981. She enters the office of the attending priest and asks to speak to Father Jude but is told that Father Jude died in 1981.
After a swim competition in which she has been made to participate, Cassie is chased by Deathmask. Defending herself with the tube of a fluorescent lamp, she ends up stabbing him in the stomach but when Cassie returns with Matt, they find there is no body in the pool. Even though she believes that Matt and Annabel are conspiring against her with Deathmask and Hideous Dancer, Cassie requests that Matt take her home to her mother. Instead he drives Cassie to the club, saying that he wishes to pick up Annabel. Cassie follows him but gets lost, eventually finding Annabel with an androgynous creature called Raven with precognitive powers. When he tells her to leave —or die—Cassie makes her way back to the parking lot. There Matt drunkenly insists on another 'goodbye forever' kiss, but Cassie pushes him out of the car and drives away.
In a scene resembling the original accident, Cassie wrecks the car. She again comes to in the hospital. On a gurney next to her is Raven, who speaks a few words of comfort before dying. Father Jude arrives and asks if she would be willing to die in order to save Sean's life. She agrees and he then asks her if she would be willing to live for him. Cassie says that she doesn't want to die.
An episode follows in which Deathmask and Hideous Dancer strangle her with her protective medallion, from which Cassie wakes to find that everything she has experienced has been a sort of coma-dream: in the original accident, Cassie and Sean had survived, while Matt and Annabel were killed. The occupants of the other car — Raven, Deathmask, and Hideous Dancer — were also fatally injured. Cassie has spent the course of the film in a half-dead, half-living state, wherein those who were killed in the accident attempt to keep her with them. Father Jude, and Cassie's visions of Sean were what brought her back to life.
CastMelissa Sagemiller as CassieCasey Affleck as SeanEliza Dushku as AnnabelWes Bentley as MattAngela Featherstone as RavenLuke Wilson as Father JudeAllen Hamilton as Dr. HaverstonKen Moreno as Hideous DancerCarl Paoli as Deathmask
Filming took place in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Some scenes were also filmed in Gary, Indiana.Filming started May 1999 to September 1999
ReleasedSeptember 7, 2001 December 13, 2001 January 11, 2002 May 10, 2002 20 September 2001 1 November 2001 8 February 2002 7 June 2002 14 June 2002 13 July 2002 (Tokyo) 9 August 2002 (video premiere) 22 August 2002 13 September 2002 11 October 2002 5 September 2003 28 October 2006 (TV premiere)
Soul Survivors was panned by critics, with a 4 percent positive rating on review-aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.