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Film Review: Carnage (1984)

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SYNOPSIS:

After moving into a new house a newlywed couple discovers that it is haunted by the homicidal ghosts of the couple that lived there years earlier.

REVIEW:

Let me just start off by saying that despite the fact that it seems to be universally hated by most people that have seen it I actually liked Carnage. I’ll admit that it isn’t a perfect movie and it has its share of flaws, but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as some of the online reviews I have seen claim it to be. Yes, it’s hokey as hell at times, the acting is pretty bad, and the special effects leave a lot to be desired, but there was just something about it that I liked that I can’t quite put my finger on. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t my new favorite movie or anything but I didn’t think that it was that bad and it was better than a lot of other movies I’ve seen over the years to be honest. I actually had a pretty good time watching it and can’t believe that it took me this long to check it out.

The premise is simple enough but it works. The film opens with the murder/suicide of the couple that lives in the house and then skips ahead a few years later when another couple is moving into the same house. Before you know it strange things start happening (such as objects moving by themselves) and people start getting killed off by the ghosts of the people that appear in the film’s opening. While it isn’t the most original idea in the world and has been done over and over again in other movies I didn’t mind and genuinely enjoyed the ride.  It’s pretty much just your basic haunted house movie and while I wouldn’t say that it was particularly creepy or even remotely scary I still thought that it was a fun little movie regardless.

As I said the plot’s pretty simple but that’s okay because sometimes I like when things are simple and I don’t have to think too hard about what is going on. Carnage is a straight forward movie without any twists, turns, or a shock ending and that’s fine because I don’t think that any of these things would have really worked and would have just come off feeling forced in my opinion. What you see with this movie is what you get, so if you go into it expecting there to be some sort of amazing plot twist at one point you are going to be very disappointed. On the other hand if you just want to watch a fun movie that has ghosts running around killing the hell out of people then this film is definitely for you.

I liked the fact that the movie has a pretty decent body count as well. We don’t get a ton of death scenes or anything but there are several and I thought that most of them were pretty cool. We get a decapitation with an axe, a flying meat cleaver to the back of the head, an electrocution, and my personal favorite that involved someone being cut open and having his guts ripped out.  The ghosts in this movie don’t mess around (or I guess I should say the ghost doesn’t as it is really just the female ghost that does all the killing) and I had a blast watching them take out their victims.

As I said earlier, the movie isn’t without its problems. The acting is pretty bad for the most part but I was able to tone it out (though in a way it was bad in a good way as it made me enjoy the film a little more as a whole). The special effects aren’t so “special” so to speak and look mighty bad, especially when it comes to the objects moving or flying through the air (I’m pretty sure that I saw a wire attached to some of the objects from time-to-time).  A lot of the dialogue is quite terrible as well and I couldn’t help but laugh at some of it even though I wasn’t supposed to (The whole “Drink your breakfast!” bit comes to mind immediately), and there were times that I actually felt bad for the actors when they had to deliver certain lines because they were just that poorly written.  Still, despite the fact that it does have these (and other) issues I found myself liking the movie overall. What can I say? I’m a weird guy.

After everything was said and done I would have to say that I actually dug Carnage. I went into it totally expecting to hate it and was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. It isn’t for everyone and I am sure a lot of people will think I’m nuts for saying so many positive things about it, but I honestly didn’t think that it was that bad. There was a lot about it that I liked and I think that if people gave it a chance they would too. It isn’t an amazing film by any stretch of the imagination and certainly won’t ever be recognized as one of the greatest horror movies of all time but it is at least watchable and is entertaining in its own weird way. Check it out if you get the chance to do so, you may have as much fun watching it as I did.

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