AMERICAN CARNAGE (2022) Reviews of darkly comedic horror movie

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‘No one escapes the daily grind’
American Carnage is a 2022 darkly comedic horror film about undocumented teen immigrants forced to work in a strange eldercare facility.

Directed and co-produced by Diego Hallivis from a screenplay co-written with Julio Hallivis. Also produced by Rocco Giamatteo, Julio Hallivis and Andres Rosende.

The movie stars Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Jenna Ortega (X; Scream 2022), Allen Maldonado, Bella Ortiz, Eric Dane, Jorge Diaz, Yumarie Morales, Catherine McCafferty and Brett Cullen.


After a governor issues an executive order to arrest the children of undocumented immigrants, the newly detained youth are offered an opportunity to have their charges dropped by volunteering to provide care to the elderly.

Once inside the eldercare facility, the volunteers discover the governor and the facility’s supervisor have cooked up a horrifyingly depraved conspiracy that endangers both the young and the old…

In the US, American Carnage will be released theatrically and on Digital and On-Demand (VOD) by Saban Films on July 15, 2022.

Our review:
If you happen to be a fan of Jordan Peele‘s films, you will probably have a great time with American Carnage, a new supernatural thriller from director Diego Hallivis which was clearly inspired by Peele’s work while also being memorable and unique in its own way. At the same time, American Carnage additionally features a prominent message about respecting shunned members of society, so its heart is clearly in the right place. This is clearly a film which wears its morality on its sleeve, and that alone makes it worth your time.

Jorge Lendeborg Jr. stars as JP, a determined and sharp-witted fast-food worker who does not seem bitter over the fact that he is stuck in a dead-end job. Upon learning that his sister, Lily (Yumarie Morales), has been accepted into a prestigious college, JP and his family decide to throw a celebration, only for armed police to burst into their home and arrest all of them for supposedly being illegal immigrants, due to a new directive from the state’s far-right gubernatorial election candidate. JP is then given the option of remaining in an inhumane detention centre or participating in a work placement program in an elderly care home where things are clearly not as they seem.


Most of the residents within the alleged care home appear to be either completely senile or too heavily sedated to be anywhere near coherent, so they require endless help in order to have their basic needs met. On top of this, a string of strange occurrences also takes place within the facility, including the mysterious disappearance of staff members and one of the residents dying after his body somehow contorts at impossible positions. After some investigating, JP soon uncovers a mysterious conspiracy operating from within the depths of the building, but the perpetrators try to finish him off before he can blow the whole thing open.

As previously mentioned, the films of Jordan Peele were clearly a heavy influence on American Carnage, so the focus on secretive organisations committing crimes against ethnic communities will come as no surprise, and there is also a Soylent Green homage thrown in for good measure. The gradual revelation of the facility’s real purpose will keep most viewers on the edge of their seats, with the final twist being too shocking to even comprehend. And it hardly comes as a surprise to learn of these unspeakable acts, because the care home building itself fittingly looks like something straight out of an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, making it the last place anybody would want to spend their final years.

JP proves to be a likeable and honest character who strives to make the most of his unfortunate situation, with Lendeborg’s strong performance also helping to win viewers over to the character’s side. And thankfully, the resolute JP was not alone in his fight to uncover the truth, as he received assistance from Big Mac (Allen Maldonado), a witty and often hilarious detainee who delivers some great one-liners, making us cherish every moment he appears on-screen.

As you have probably guessed, American Carnage is not a film which hides its left-wing political agenda, which actually comes as a welcome relief in an age where entertainment strives to be apolitical for fear of otherwise alienating viewers. Not only does American Carnage begin with an opening credits sequence played against a backdrop of extremist statements from Donald Trump and Fox News presenters in an effort to condemn the acceptance of radical viewpoints, but the plot also focuses heavily on the dehumanisation of immigrants and the way in which society often shuns the elderly, which are topics which certainly need to be addressed.

With its dedicated performances and its refusal to shy away from addressing taboo issues, American Carnage is definitely a film which deserves to reach a wide audience. And needless to say, its staunch left-wing agenda may be off-putting to more conservative viewers, but anybody who is not afraid to challenge their beliefs should seek this film out immediately. The shocking twists and the brutal violence in the final act will also appeal to horror fans, who may well come to view American Carnage as an admirable cult classic.
David Gelmini, MOVIES and MANIA

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