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Apparently, if you’ve seen one exorcism, you’ve seen them all. The versions that are offered in Lost Souls have the guttural roars, acrobatic thrashing, and poltergeistian mayhem that befit a satanic ouster. Unfortunately, that’s all that the movie manages to get right. Winona Ryder plays Maya, a formerly possessed woman who gets chummy with the band of priests who helped deliver her from Evil. They believe that another possession is about to take place. A mental patient has predicted—through an elaborate numeric code that clever Maya cracks—that, just as God took the form of man, Satan is going to be paying the kingdom a visit in the body of one Peter Kelson. Turns out that Peter (Ben Chaplin), beyond being the subject of the kook’s prophecy, has another surefire characteristic of a future Man in Red: As the film’s opening quotation informs us, “A man born of incest will become Satan.” (There’s a reason why Peter’s uncle, Father James—Philip Baker Hall, forever Seinfeld library detective to me—is so close to his nephew.) Maya finds Peter, a best-selling author specializing in murderers, and tries to persuade him that he has only until his 33rd birthday (tomorrow!) to—well, she doesn’t actually mention any way to prevent the devil from moving in, short of Peter’s death (“If you die, Satan can’t stay!”). Peter eventually accepts Maya’s story, along with the fact that he essentially has less than 24 hours to live, and expresses his grief in true cinematic fashion—by not-so-passionately trashing his room. (Maybe it wasn’t such bad news after all.) Chaplin’s controlled outburst isn’t the only instance of listless acting: Ryder is twice seen disarming a would-be attacker, and the slow and perfunctory manner in which she slaps aside the weapons and escapes harm makes me think even I could be a superheroine. The movie’s biggest surprise is that Meg Ryan is one of the producers. I’m guessing that, after audiences see Lost Souls, Ryan won’t consider Russell Crowe her only dreadful mistake. —Tricia Olszewski