Now, that may seem like an indepth set of themes there, but don't be fooled. There's not much depth to this film.
Basically, we meet Jake Gray (Jensen Ackles, the reason I even bought this film!), a college student who is being haunted by disturbing flashes of him murdering people and also mutilating himself. Flashes he can't explain, but compulsions that he fears and kind of enjoys. We meet his two weird friends, Dakota (Dominique Swain), a pretty, blonde, alternative chick, who's *cough* 'flirtatious' nature has gotten her into an uncomfortable arrangement with her lecherous lecturer, and Conrad "Conny" (Teach Grant), a stoner, layabout non-achiever.
Conny has become a little off-kilter recently.... well, he's bought a gun and seems to be intent on using it. Jake questions him on it, and Conny tells him that he's begun playing an online RP-game called "The Pathway", where you give it all your details, it periodically phones you and gives you 'challenges' which allow you to progress through the levels. Only, these 'challenges' generally involve murder, mayhem and suicide. Oh, and Conny has signed Jake up as a birthday present. What a nice friend!
Jake meets a girl, Marisol (Shannyn Sossamon), when he 'fixes' her laptop for free, costing him his wages and job in the IT shop. As Conny and Dakota begin to get wrapped into the game and then commit suicide (I did like the gruesome suicides!), Marisol and Jake work to free Jake from "The Pathway" and its satan-worshipping creator's grip.
There's some low-budget special effects, fire, shouting, demonic revelations, log cabins, pentagrams, satanic rituals... satanic incest.... you want it, it's there.
The script is not the best, the characters are 2 dimensional and disposable, the plot twist is just weird, but they did have quite a good satan-lady outfit, so they get points for that.
It's not a good film, but Jensen's performance keeps it going, although he did seem to get over his satanic discovery pretty quickly...
All in all, I've seen MUCH worse, and I'm not exactly going to take it to the charity shop, but it's not a scary film, and may only be fun for 'Supernatural' fans and B-movie lovers.
[Picture: Bigel Entertainment]