AMERICAN CARNAGE (2022)
Comedy/horror finds the children of an undocumented immigrant family taken into custody and forced to work at a retirement home after their parents are deported. It’s the only way J.P. (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and his sister Lily (Yumarie Morales) will be allowed to stay in the country. Being this is a horror, there is something very sinister going on at this particular rest home.
Directed by Diego Havillis from his script with Julio Havillis, this is an awful movie. Movies with a message are more than welcome but Havillis bludgeons you over the head with his commentary about undocumented immigrants, and how they are treated, so hard that you become numb to it very quickly. This is the opposite effect a filmmaker should want when trying to say something. These messages are also delivered with no wit or finesse and grow tiresome rather than become thought-provoking, as such relevant and contemporary issues should be. Add to that that this is a tedious and dumb horror with Lendeborg being a dull and lifeless leading man, and you have a 98-minute movie that is a slow-moving chore to sit through. Even Jenna Ortega (Scream 2022, X), who brings some feisty energy to her Camila, can’t give this sinking ship any buoyancy. It’s a shame, had the film focused on Ortega and made the messages a part of the story, instead of clumsy narrative-stopping exposition, this might have been a little more fun and given us something to think about on top of it. Instead, it’s a tedious bore that not only dulls the effect of its meaningful commentary but wastes the charismatic Ortega and isn’t even a good horror movie either. No wonder Lionsgate dumped this quietly into release despite Ortega‘s current star-power. Also stars Brett Cullen as a racist governor.
Flick is currently available on VOD and in limited theatrical release.