Carnival of Souls is a movie I have heard so much about. It’s been described as “whimsical,” “chilling,” and “upsettingly creepy.” So naturally, I was excited.
Our story begins with a car full of women who are driving and approached by another car who challenges them to a race. This race leads to a single-lane bridge that they both cross at once – and of course, our ladies vehicle flies off the bridge and flips. Hours pass by and nobody is found as the police and fire crew attempt a rescue. When they are all about ready to give up, one woman emerges from the muddy water – Mary.
Mary is a little traumatized (I would be too), and she goes to a local bed & breakfast to get some work done. As she spends her time at the hotel, she is visited by a creepy man with black eyes on numerous occasions. Nobody else seems to notice this gentleman, which makes her even more terrified when he does appear.
Just outside of this town is an abandoned carnival. She drives by it many times and has a strange fascination with the place. She eventually visits it with a creepy neighbor (a practically rapey neighbor), and she encounters the man again. This happens many times before we reach the films conclusion.
And not to sound like a debby-downer… but that’s pretty much it. It’s a film where nothing really happens. But to make matters worse, there is a lack of atmosphere – which I felt certain would exist given the premise, and then there is a predictable plot twist. And the icing on the cake is the two main characters whom we spend so much time with… she is lifeless and cold, and he is a fucking creep. I was not invested in either character or this story at all. I couldn’t wait for it to end, but I was persistent to do so so I could satisfy my curiosity.
The ending has some chilling images, but nothing truly imaginative.
You certainly don’t need this in your life, but if you insist, it is available for streaming on The Criterion Channel.
‘Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra