Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The carnival is coming to town, which usually means fun times, but considering this here is a horror movie doing double duty as a Sci-Fi Channel original feature… there will be no good times.  For nobody.  That theoretically includes you and me sitting on the other side of the television. 

The man from New Jersey rides into town, this town being someplace I can't remember, but I know in reality its Canada.  So this guy rides into town in his cargo van and in this van is a monster that he captured in New Jersey and then proceeds to sell it to Cap the scurrilous carnival boss (Alan C. Peterson).  Since this monster is from New Jersey, it stands to reason that it has to be the legendary 13th child, the New Jersey Devil itself.  Personally, if I had just captured a monster I would cut off its head and stick it on my wall then put the rest of it on the grill because there's nothing like lightly seasoned Jersey Devil medium rare, but then that's just me.   

Cap is so happy to have this new edition to his carnival that he kills the guy who delivered it.  Why did he do this?  I do not know.  I mean is he going to run and tell his friends that he just sold a monster to the carnival and we can't have that?  But then Cap is showcasing his new monster attraction for all in town to see so it's not like it's a big secret.  I guess the reason is that Cap is just an asshole. 

Lording over this town is hardworking Sheriff Atlas (Lou Diamond Phillips) and he's not too terribly concerned that the carnival is in town, I mean it's just Ferris Wheels and soothsayers and freaky people, but Pastor Owen (Vlasta Vrana) swears that this carnival is the work of Satan himself, will bring society to ruin and needs to be shut down immediately.  Pastor Owen clearly hates freedom, though in retrospect he was totally right about this.
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Since the pastor is such a blowhard, Atlas makes his way down to the carnival to check it out, sees the freaks, meets Samara the hot French soothsayer (Simone Elise-Girard) and then Cap shows him the monster.  Atlas asks "Is this safe!"  Cap assures us it is and the party is on.

So the carnival is a going, folks are having fun, but the main attraction is the monster and the monster is pissed the f@#k off being stuck in its cage.  Then the pastor's badly misbehaving son had to go and throw popcorn at the monster, clearly not aware that monsters DO NOT like to have popcorn thrown at them.  A monster would rather you pee on it than throw popcorn at it.  How did he not know this?   Now the Jersey Devil has busted out and it's flying around the countryside causing a ruckus.  First order of business?  Eat that punk that was throwing popcorn at it.  Next order of business?  Hang out in the woods out of sight and growl a lot.  A lot.  Final order of business?  Ruin the fun event because monsters hate fun events.  We could ask why folks were at the fun event when they knew full well that there was a murderous, carnivorous monster flying around, but we won't ask that.  Hopefully Sheriff Atlas and the hot soothsayer who sees stuff that nobody on the planet can decipher, including herself, until after everybody is dead when it becomes clear, can save the earth.  Worst fortune teller ever.

'Carny' was directed by one Sheldon Wilson whom, much to my surprise, I'm on the verge of becoming a Sheldon Wilson completist.  The man has made like eleven movies and I've seen all but two of those, one of which hasn't even been released as of yet.  Of course most of this is because Mr. Wilson sits in the chair of a lot of Sci-Fi originals such as 'Snowmageddon' or 'Kaw' or 'Killer Mountain' or 'Mothman', thus me and Sheldon have a long, sordid history together. 

Thus we have 'Carny' which we had to watch since we are attempting to watch every Sci-Fi original film ever made and the question would be 'Is Carny a good movie?'  No, it is not.  Then is Carny a bad movie?  No, not really, at least in the sense that we've seen worse.  Thus what we are stuck with is a completely rudimentary, run of the mill, thrill-a-twenty-minute monster yarn.

I did like the way the monster looked, though it was kind of small.  I'm sure some CGI was used on occasion but this is one of those rare instances where the CGI didn't look like total ass.  LDP is the only 'name' actor in the movie and he, like most of the performances in the movie, were like the movie on the whole, that being run of the mill, or adequate for what they were asked to do.

There were a few funny bits like the boy throwing the popcorn getting eaten by the monster, which I'm sure would've had an audience standing and cheering if this movie had played in a theater somewhere.  Then there was the popcorn boy's BFF who survived the monster attack only to get eaten later when his mom pulled over, in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, to tell the boy how much she loved him.  Yup, the Jersey Devil ate 'em both 'cause his mom is dumb.  The truly awesome part about this scene was that mom was driving a Chevy Monza.  A freaking Chevy Monza.  How in the hell did the special effects team get that car moving?  At first I thought it was stupid that she pulled over in the middle of nowhere, but I'm pretty certain the Monza was on the verge of overheating anyway, so death was inevitable.

While 'Carny' was almost a complete waste of time, at least in the sense it wasn't good and it wasn't bad enough to be entertaining, I did see a moving Chevy Monza.  That has got to be worth something.
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