Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Jessica Lowndes, Terrance Zdunich, Briana Evigan

After seeing Bousman and Zdunich's last collaboration REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA I had a general idea of what to expect from THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL but other than both being a similar type of rock musical they are in fact quite different.

THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL follows three people who are sent to hell after perishing in circumstances which mirror their personal sins. John (Flanery) commits suicide due to his grief over the death of his son, Tamara (Lowndes) is killed by her abusive boyfriend due to her misplaced trust (I would debate whether that is really a sin or not but whatever) and Ms Merrywood (Evigan) is shot by police after being caught stealing. Each of these characters are taken through the carnival and tested by an array of peculiar characters. Tamara deals with The Scorpion, Ms Merrywood with the Twin & Hobo Clown and John eventually faces Lucifer (Zdunich) himself. Their stories are told by Lucifer through the use of Aesop's traditional fables.

Personally I'm not much for musicals but it's easy to see that fans of REPO! will most likely love this movie. The singing and dancing is almost non stop and the film is a visual smorgasbord. The carnival characters as you might expect are very colorful and the costumes and make-up are all very detailed and well crafted.
Although there is nothing special about the cinematography and I found the sound mixing to be not that great, the film's relatively short running time (around 55 minutes) and the ever shifting story makes sure that you don't have too much time to dwell on its flaws.

I found the performances to be quite mixed but there are a few standouts including Terrance Zdunich's portrayal of the enigmatic Lucifer. Unfortunately fans of Nivek Ogre and Bill Mosely will be disappointed that they both have relatively small roles in the film but I have been told that these characters will be further developed in the next installation in what is to become a series.

As much as I disliked REPO! I was surprised to find this film to be a lot more enjoyable despite its similarities. The carnival setting is a great backdrop and a perfect excuse for some of the weird and wonderful characters who inhabit it. And the odd way in which Hell is portrayed strangely as a kind of almost moralistic place with its 666 rules is an interesting idea too. THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL isn't exactly my cup of tea but it is an enjoyable film and it will be interesting to see what its follow ups can produce.
I know it's a musical but I still think it could do with a little less singing and dancing though.

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