Carny starts with a man being killed by another man striking him on the back. That’s not how the body works so it’s a good start for a movie about carnies, a carnival, the Jersey Devil and a sheriff played by Lou Diamond Philips.
The carnival has just arrived in Philps’ town, and he is amused by the curiosities and human oddities it holds. We got all the standards: a small person, a big person, jugglers, contortionists, geeks, that guy from The Thing when the creature was duplicating his head. Everything you expect.
And yeah, the Jersey Devil. The Jersey Devil is a modern cryptid that started making it big in the early 20th century with a string of sightings. It either looks like a wyvern or a demonic kangaroo. It lives in New Jersey and like Big Foot, doesn’t seem to do much except being seen occasionally.
I’m always interested in the reactions characters in films have to otherworldly things. Take for instance when the sheriff is shown the Devil. He just wants to make sure they are keeping it safe and away from people, but this is obviously a very dangerous creature not known to science. Like, wouldn’t you call up a university or something? It’s not like the film is set deep in an African jungle or something. It’s in South Jersey. To be fair, the local scamps react by throwing peanuts at the demonic creature, so everyone is just a moron.
The movie is actually fine. The creature’s design is rad, and they didn’t skimp on its budget. The CGI looks good, and it makes appearances throughout the film, eating up unsuspecting townspeople. Lou Diamond Philip always gives his best and the other actors are good, too. Still think he should have called somebody, though.