Who wants to see a good horror musical? This genre seems pretty obsolete, which is why Darren Lynn Bousman’s, The Devil’s Carnival, is a refreshing horror film. The premise is that three sinners have died and now enter a horrorific carnival run by the devil himself. I initially imagined a devil much less forgiving than the one in the film. He and his minions bait the individuals into making bad decisions. If they make the right choices, it is implied that they won’t die at the hands of the devil. The fact that these individuals do have a choice makes the film much more engaging from a storytelling perspective. In fact, this movie relies heavily on the art of fables or parables. All three of the individuals' stories are told in narrative form from a book labeled Aesop’s Fables. This is interesting, since this book is quite real and isn’t usually connected with hell. In fact, the use of this book merges into some of the negative aspects of the film.
Since it is a musical, it's necessary to feel uncomfortable at times. The singing is very dramatic and the lyrics are over the top. Furthermore, this movie has a bit of a political edge to it. Heaven is regarded as a place not necessarily drenched in golden paved streets. On the other hand, the carnival itself, while creepy, doesn’t necessarily come off as terrifying. This blurs the lines between good and evil. It is impossible not to appreciate the artistic quality of this film. The costume designs, lighting, and overall carnival theme is intriguing and tantalizing from a visual point of view. Since this film is so unique, it is difficult to rate within the spectrum of horror. While this film is unique and crafted well, it is hard to give it a high rating due to its lack of scare quality. This movie makes you feel uncomfortable because it is a musical and horror themed. Still, it doesn’t make you scared, just squeamish. Not every horror movie needs to have creepy things sneaking out from corners, but this movie has so much music and happy carnival settings that it seems to outweigh a feeling of dread. On the other hand, this film needs to be applauded for its originality and exploratory quality, which could result in more horror musicals being created.
Horror island is receiving a devil that isn’t what most people expect him to be. Singing throughout the streets of horror island, this devil likes to dabble in debauchery and the arts. So well-crafted and cunning, this devil is worth recognizing due to his appearance alone.
If you liked The Devil's Carnival, you might also like The Exorcist or The Devil Inside.