AMERICAN CARNAGE (2022)
Release Date: 07/29/22 [Cinemas/VOD]
Studio: Saban Films
"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."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
American Carnage sets the tone for the movie immediately in the opening credits. It contains a montage of news clips discussing immigration including clips of the cages at the border. It’s a particularly stylistic credit sequence. We are then introduced to JP (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) who works at a burger place and is close with his sister, Lily (Yumarie Morales). Their family party gets interrupted after a politician issues an order to round up immigrants and their families. Lily and JP are taken to a detention center where they are separated. JP is given the option to either take his chances in court or to voluntarily opt into a project called Elderly Adult Therapy and Understanding, where he'll work with elders.
He is joined by a group of others who decide to opt into the program. He falls into step with Camila (Jenna Ortega), a tough self-labeled activist, Big Mac (Allen Maldonado) who is a jokester, Chris (Jorge Diaz) who is anxiety ridden, and Micah (Bella Ortiz) who is instantly alluring to JP. The group sticks together as they are introduced to the senior living facility and meet the man in charge, Eddie (Eric Dane), who is sleazy from the beginning. They have ankle bracelets that track their whereabouts and strict rules about not leaving the building. But this facility is not exactly what it seems as strange occurrences begin happening. The residents are creepier than normal and JP is accosted by a naked lady telling him, “Virgil will set you free.”
Big Mac witnesses a man contorting into unrecognizable shapes as something sinister moves underneath his skin. When a resident begins acting odd, the staff is quick to come around with some type of sedation stick that immediately renders them unconscious. The whole place feels incredibly off but information only comes in drips, leaving you plenty of time to surmise what’s happening on your own. The verdict won’t be what you expect.
American Carnage is a blended horror-comedy that will remind you of a less impressive version of Sorry To Bother You (2018). There are plenty of fun moments with a scant amount of scary ones. The social commentary is important, discussing how the American system is in disarray and highlighting the struggle to live here if you are Latinx. There are many remarks throughout the movie that spell out the theme for you rather than letting it unfold organically. Solid performances from Lendeborg Jr., Ortega, Ortiz, and Maldonado help drive the movie forward. Overall American Carnage is a fun watch with some important commentary on the state of the world.