Soulful is an all-over-the-place mix of spirituality, supernatural horror, urban crime, soap opera, musical and softcore pornography. I think that the Christian elements are supposed to supersede all others, but the fact that there are fewer church scenes than there are scenes of doggystyle sex acts makes that a hard sell.
The scattershot story opens in 1987 with three adult sisters attending the funeral of their parents. Two of the ladies, Janet and Diamond (who lost the family’s name lottery), turn out to be hookers, but all three have “visions” — mostly of the future, sometimes of the past, sometimes of the present (which really isn’t very impressive). They all also have an irritating tendency to break into song at any given time.
When Janet’s boyfriend/pimp Randy loses a game of Three-Card Monte and has to let three guys run a train on her, he starts to reconsider his life choices. Suddenly, he’s a born-again Christian. Janet, who inexplicably takes him back, soon joins him in his newfound faith, but not before having another foursome with three OTHER guys. Dear Penthouse Forum…
Meanwhile, Satan, who looks like an old white pervy dude, pays Diamond to have sex with him. While he’s at it, he gets her hooked on crack as well (as she smokes, he wrings his hands in the background like Snidely Whiplash). Diamond gets pregnant and makes a deal with Satan to let her baby, Rachel, be born healthy (i.e., not hooked on crack). In exchange, the Devil takes the kid but then just ends up giving her to Janet to raise. Diamond also gives her non-Satan-spawned son, Anthony, to her other sister Anita before disappearing for no good reason.
Nineteen years later, Rachel (Jamie Knight) is known as Soulful because her singing voice is so damn irresistible. She sings at weddings but starts to have visions of each groom (Why never the bride?) doing bad things: cheating, beating his wife, even forcing his daughter to go down on him — head bobbing and all. Unwittingly under Satan’s guidance, her talent develops into making people die when she sings. Meanwhile, Soulful develops feelings for Anthony (rapper Omillio Sparks), not realizing that he’s her brother. She thinks he’s just her cousin, which is apparently not an objectionable form of incest for her.
There’s a bunch of other useless plot about drugs and music recording, the latter of which helps to give EVERYBODY a reason to sing or rap at some point, but nothing ever really gets resolved in this ambitious mess. With the sexual subtlety of a Larry Flynt film, it’s surprising to find that Soulful is actually written and directed by a woman, Sarah C. Poindexter — which goes to show that women can be just as lewd as men. Hooray!