The Devil’s Carnival (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2012)
Strike one: Darren Lynn Bousman is the guy who took over from Wan and Whannell, and turned Saw from a single excellent film into the laughable crap franchise that it had become by the third movie.
Strike two: you put together a cast of this caliber, both of actors (Dayton Callie, Bill Moseley, Paul Sorvino…) and musicians (Ogre, for pete’s sake), and then you put Emilie Autumn, a second-rate goth-rock wannabe, at the top of the list? What on earth are you thinking? Worse, one of IMDB’s trivia bits strongly suggests Bousman had always conceived of Autumn as the movie’s top billing: “Darren Lynn Bousman ‘stalked’ Emilie Autumn online and convinced her to be in the film.”
We’ll have to wait for strike three, but given (a) strike one and (b) the end of this short making it obvious that this is going to be a series, the chances that it’s not going to come are pretty much zero.
All of this is frustrating, because there are some really good ideas in Terrance Zdunich’s script, most of which are undercut by Bousman’s workmanlike-at-best direction. None of them is allowed to do more than peer up at the surface, however; this is worth watching only if you are a major fan of one or more of the principals here, and even then, prepare to be disappointed. **
The full short is now available on Youtube.