CLOSED FOR THE SEASON (2010)
Directed by Jay Woelfel
Written by Jay Woelfel
Starring Aimee Brooks, Damian Maffei, Joe Unger
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CLOSED FOR THE SEASON has a great deal of things going for it: creepy locale, creepy carnie caretaker, creepy monsters creeping around the surrounding woods. There’s a lot to like in this film and if anyone has ever been to one of the carnivals featured in this film, you know there’s an air of danger that lingers about it that is palpable to all who enter. Though the smiles on the clowns are big and red, there’s something disturbing going on behind it. And though the rides are sure to be secure, all it would take would be one loose bolt and catastrophe occurs! CLOSED FOR THE SEASON understands this air of terror and takes advantage of it in its occasionally confusing story.
While watching this film, all I could think about was CARNIVAL OF SOULS. Though not a remake, the dream within a dream-like atmosphere permeates the entire story. Most of the time writer/director Jay Woelfel does a good job of keeping the reader along for the ride, but occasionally this rollercoaster of a film skids off the tracks and becomes somewhat repetitive when it comes to the onion layers of reality it peels away. There are a lot of moments where someone wakes from a dream and even more moments of two of the same people talking and talking and trying to figure out this predicament they find themselves in. These are necessary, but the scenes become a bit tedious after a while.
Character actor Jon Unger does a great job hamming it up at the evil yet whimsical carnie who appears in different clown get-ups throughout the film. I remember the actor from LEATHERFACE: TCM3 (one of my favorites), but he’s instantly recognizable and offers up a lot of good to this film. In the end, it has a lot of good ideas with a somewhat decent execution. Nice use of atmosphere and some fun performances make up for some lulls and repetitious moments in story.