A carousel horse, sorry I mean unicorn, named Duke is tired of being disrespected by little kids. When Lunchbox (whose real name is Larry), a nice little kid turned fedora wearing prick takes a ride on Duke he finally snaps – especially when Lunchbox starts rubbing his boogers all over Duke’s eye. After that, Duke breaks free of this hellish carousel prison and heads out to exact his retribution on Lunchbox – killing everyone he encounters along the way.
CarousHELL starts out with a ridiculously amazing angsty narration by Duke (Steve Rimpici), “the prettiest god damn unicorn in the world.” before delving into the story set up for our two main characters: the stereotypical teenage girl Laurie (Sé Marie) and likeable little kid, who turns very unlikable very fast, Lunchbox (Teague Shaw).
It’s a very basic premise with them: their mother has to go work all day so Laurie has to take care of her little brother, whom she lovingly calls Lunchbox. When she decides to take him to an amusement park so she can visit her boyfriend, the brat wipes boogers on the time bomb tempered unicorn and dooms their fates right there and then. Not too long after Lunchbox goes to the park and rides Duke, Duke snaps and breaks off of the carousel ride and starts murdering anyone and everyone as he hunts the kid down, eventually arriving at the house party full of hysterical, characters he’s been dragged to. Thrown in an amusement park sheriff character with a very important job, and some of the best kills and effects I’ve seen from a micro-budget slasher flick – and we give you CarousHELL!
From the opening monologue, CarousHELL establishes itself as a funny, dark, and witty film that will leave you have you laughing hysterically for the duration of its running time. The strength of the film’s comedy lies in its characters; their exchanges at the party are phenomenal. Preston (Chris Proud) and Sarah (Haley Madison) love their unicorns, but Sarah loves them perhaps a little too much, and is by far the most adorable and genuinely well-written character here. Sé Marie portrays a teenage girl in today’s social media obsessed culture with satirical brilliance. The pizza guy, played by the film’s director Steve Rudzinski, is also chock-full of moments of outlandish comedy gold.
This movie oozes passion and love. Writer/director Steve Rudzinski (Everyone Must Die, Super Task Force One, Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan) and co-writer Aleen Isley obviously have a huge passion for the horror genre and know their stuff. The writing is consistently superb with all the characters being fully-realized. You can tell that there is obviously back story behind every character, even if it’s not stated on screen. The constant one liners from Sarah and Duke are phenomenal and the dialogue from the rest of the characters is consistently funny. On top of that, the kills and effects brought to life by special effects artist Cody Ruch (Demon Tongue) are glorious. In slasher slasher films, kills and effects can make or break a film, and CarousHELL delivers when it comes to the gruesome delights.
As is to be expected with most micro-budget horror, CarousHELL is far from perfect. But it really is an incredibly unique beast from start to finish and deserves plaudits for surpassing its budgetary constraints with a strong script, brilliant acting and impressive special effects. Overall, CarousHELL is a freaking weird movie that delivers on all fronts, especially when going in with pretty high expectations having read its premise beforehand. It’s short runtime ensures that it doesn’t outstay its welcome and moves at a terrific pace throughout. Everything feels right with this movie and Rudzinski proves he is a talent to watch out for both behind and in front of the camera. CarousHELL is hands down one of my favorite horror films of 2016 and I implore all lovers of dark comedy to add it to their to-watch list.