Carnival of Souls (1998)

Rating: D

Dir: Adam Grossman
Star: Bobbie Phillips, Shawnee Smith, Larry Miller, Paul Johansson

I’m a sucker for films which blur reality and hallucination, and this remake, produced by Wes Craven, does it right down the line. However, unlike Jacob’s Ladder, etc., the underlying story falls well short of being strong enough to support the audacious blasts of visual manipulation. The heroine seems to be troubled with flashes relating to a nasty incident from her past involving a carnival clown, who is now a) released from jail, and b) dead. That’s about it. When it’s going on, the movie is intriguing, but the sudden ending fails to justify itself in any way and you’re left holding nothing but a rapidly deflating balloon. It’s obviously a problem doing a remake of a film regarded, for no reason I can fathom, as a classic, and the director struggles manfully. However, in the end he appears to be pandering to those who love it or those who’ve never seen it, and not those who saw it ten years ago and wondered what all the fuss was about.