If I can be vulnerable for a moment, some of the hardest films to review are independent movies. Specifically the niche selection of artists who purposely make those bad movies because it reminds them of the grindhouse days or Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It’s always my hope that those creators are just doing it to have fun. That they’re not aiming to be like Tommy Wiseau and make the next great American movie in The Room which ends up being fun but a train wreck. Those movies which don’t necessarily work as a drama or horror but work well as comedy. Unintentionally a genius move, in my opinion. Enter Carous Hell.
Carous Hell is a horror comedy that centers around a bloody thirsty carousel unicorn bend on revenge. The driving force for the vengeance? Wait for it. A young boy wipes boogers on him. Yes, you read that right. If there has ever been a movie which envelopes the word, ridiculous, it is Carous Hell. The film centers primarily on Laurie (Se Marie) and her younger brother, Larry or Lunchbox (Teague Shaw). The duo pair perfectly as brother and sister with an adventure of genuine chemistry and rivalry. Though it is Marie that is the real star of the show. Portraying a self-centered, boy-crazed teenager that perfectly lays the foundation of the film’s tone. Her early interactions between family give inside into just how ridiculous this film can be. She is absolutely hysterical throughout the film. While, Shaw, plays into some of the film’s bigger issues. He seems to only exist for the set-up of the film’s antagonist. Seemingly fading into random sequences of him eating after. Fading from plot point to white noise, Shaw ultimately delivers nothing to the narrative.
Alas, though, that’s how the narrative treats the majority of its’ cast. The backdrop to the film is the “party of the year” – where the film collides head on with multiple horror tropes. Though, their delivery make for some of the film’s funniest moments. Even when it’s something you’ve seen multiple times before, CarousHELL brings a layer of refreshing obscurity to those elements. Though, the characters are often two dimensional – they are sure to make you laugh and enjoy yourself. Among the two-dimensionality exists a character named Joe – played by writer/director, Steve Rudzinski. Rudzinski plays the pizza man who takes his job extraordinarily way too seriously, is obvious to flirting and just wants payment for his pizzas. Out of all the characters within the film, you wouldn’t think the pizza man would be among those who are the most fleshed out but he is. Rudzinski ultimately becomes the backbone of the film. His chemistry with Marie only solidifies that statement all the more.
Aside from overwhelming nature of its two-dimensional cast, Carous still has a multitude of other problems stacked among it. While the film is over the top and hilarious in that regard, it falls victim to a shorter run time. Clocking in at a mere 70 minutes – CarousHELL feels like its’ robbed of its voice. Completely stripping away its potential to be a better film. Not to mention, some of its’ budgetary issues play into the final result. With a left-field ending, Carous could have better used its’ narrative to set it up its hero. Its’ well-crafted delivery of characters like Duke (the unicorn), Marie & Rudzinkski demonstrate that Rudzinski, as a writer/director, knows how to develop such characters. With the film spending time on throw away characters versus its’ protagonist, the ultimate flow of the movie falls extraordinarily short of its’ potential.
Overall, CarousHELL, is a fun little horror film. The outlandish narrative and comedic delivery constantly create jokes that will have viewers gasping for air. The film’s leads in Se Marie and Steve Rudzinski not only craft terrific chemistry but the driving force of the movie. The humor of the film is well crafted thanks to Rudzinski’s script. Though, the film never reaches its’ true potential, leaving viewers wanting more. A short runtime, strange transitions and bizarre pacing – may have some viewers wanting off this ride. Still, CarousHELL, as strange as it can get is fun and worth the ride.
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Credits: CarousHELL is property of CarousHELL. We do not own nor claim any rights. Official selection of Creature Feature Weekend 2019.