The Devil’s Carnival (2012) Review: A Shaky Nightmare

Synopsis: Lost souls enter The Devil’s Carnival where they are each faced with the sins they committed in life.The Devil's Carnival (2012) Review Poster
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Calamity Brains:

The Devil’s Carnival is a very shaky piece – which is no surprise, considering it was shot in only seven days and runs less than an hour long. But even with the frequently poor audio mixing and often unremarkable songs, there are enough good moments and interesting choices to keep viewers engaged.

The Devil’s Carnival is all afterlife allegory, using a madcap and sinister carnival as well as Aesop’s Fables to tell the stories of the newest arrivals (Sean Patrick Flanery, Briana Evigan, Jessica Lowndes). It’s more dream than story, and dream rules apply. Though the audience might recognize some familiar names from Repo! (Terrance Zdunich, ohGr, Alexa PenaVega, Bill Moseley), they are unlikely to recognize faces, only adding to the twisted world of the movie.

The Devil’s Carnival excels in one area: atmosphere. The atmosphere is effectively nightmarish, if not precisely scary. The darkly saturated visuals, elaborate sets, and off-kilter performances all play their parts in presenting a dream world where anything seems possible – especially danger.

Like Repo! The Genetic Opera, the first piece by Bousman and Zdunich, this movie will not be for everyone. It’s more uneven than Repo! As well, meaning that even among the likely fans, it won’t be a crowd-pleaser. But the atmosphere, visuals, and content of the piece create something interesting, if only barely. At under an hour run-time, you may as well give this one a chance if you liked Repo!

Note: Stick around after the credits – one of the best songs in the score plays as they roll, since Bousman and Zdunich couldn’t find a place for it in the movie.

Calamity Brains’ Rating: C+

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Calamity Brains

The Codex Mortis Horror Hosts (Ludwig von Stroodle and Calamity Brains) are married and live in West Virginia. Pretty much everyone who sees their cabin agrees that it would be an ideal setting for a horror movie. Their pets include a black widow spider, a smart dog, and a stupid dog. When they aren’t watching horror movies, they can be found at whiskey festivals, Renaissance fairs, and board game nights.

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