STUDIO: Genius Products

MSRP: $13.49

RATED: Unrated

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes


The Pitch

Lou Diamond Phillips
needs to pay his mortgage, so you get to watch
another sub-par SyFy original movie.

The Humans

Director: Sheldon Wilson
Writer: Douglas G. Davis
Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Alan C. Peterson, Vlasta Vrana, Simone-Elise Gerard

Lou Diamond Phillips does his best Clint Eastwood impression. That cup of coffee is
a punk, and it’s feeling lucky.

The Nutshell

The owner of a
carnival purchases a new addition to his traveling freak show and
unveils it in a small town. This isn’t a deformed person, though, it’s a
creature that resembles a flying Chupacabra. His specialty? Ripping out
necks and eating faces. The only person in town who seems to know this
carnival isn’t a good idea is the local preacher. Too bad this town is
full of smart people who don’t listen to crazy old preachers, am I
right? But hey, Lou Diamond Phillips is here to save the day as the town
sheriff. Your day just got better.

The Lowdown

We all know the SyFy movie drill at this point, and Carny is no
exception to that rule. Where most SyFy originals go nuts on the bad CGI (Megaladon, I’m looking at you), I can
assure you that Carny takes a more subtle and almost unheard-of approach. I’m not telling you that Carny is a good movie. It simply isn’t. But it relies more on practical effects, which make the kills more fun to watch. Sure, the monster is all CG, and the director relies heavily on darker environments to mask any signs of cheap effects. One of the best parts is when the monster attacks a young man and the camera does a close-up on his dead face. Oh wait, what face? There’s a giant hole where that man’s face should be.

Too bad that’s all there is to Carny. Some cool deaths and great practical FX work, but zero story and horrible dialogue. You know a movie is bad when it makes Lou Diamond Phillips look like he deserves an Oscar. An example of the award-winning dialogue:

“You don’t have to do this!”
“This is just something I have to do.”

I didn’t know Eric Stolz was in this. Guess we know what happened to Mask.

If you love that genius-caliber exchange, you’ll enjoy many more like it when you pop in Carny. I’m not sure why the film is called Carny. I assume it’s a reference to the freaky carnival people, but I was under the impression it was the name of the monster. If so, why call it Carny? Is he the head carny of all the carnies?

With a name change and in more capable hands, Carny could be a pretty cool little horror flick. There’s too much time spent setting up the story, and a horrible rip-off of Jurassic Park in the beginning, but with some nips and tucks, better dialogue, and a scarier looking monster, this movie might have been pretty effective. Bottom line: don’t go in expecting much. This is one of those movies you watch on a Saturday while you’re hungover because you’re too lazy and weak to press the buttons on your remote.

The Package

There are no special features at all. Not one single extra. No trailers, TV spots, previews of upcoming SyFy films, or even a PSA from Lou Diamond Phillips on the dangers of interacting with CGI creatures. Nothing!

Lou Diamond Phillips doesn’t want you to be gentle. This isn’t his first pony show.

1.5 out of 10