A group of young adults with a chance for freedom learn that it comes at a price in this horror comedy that also brings a sense of social commentary.

Texas Governor Finn has issued a new state law where illegal immigrants are to be arrested and deported immediately. In addition, the children of those immigrants, regardless of being born in the United States, will also be arrested for abetting and aiding. Those who have been arrested include JP, his sister Lily, goth girl Camila, smart mouth Big Mac, smart-alecky Chris and bombshell Micah. The young adults have an opportunity for a shot at freedom after JP and Lily are forced to separate.

By volunteering at a local senior care facility, the group must attend to the locals. However, JP realizes something doesn’t add up. When one of the seniors goes insane and dies of a heart attack, JP and the other decide to investigate. When one of the other seniors attend to JP and get through to him, he discovers something extremely shocking. The facility director, Eddie, has been doing some strange experiments that further solidify and support Governor Finn’s new law. Will JP and the others be able to find a way out or will they become Eddie and the crew’s next lab rats?

For brothers Diego and Julio Havillis, they have a love of the horror genre, and they wrote this film, meshing a bit of social commentary with their love for their different genres of horror-comedies and sci-fi/horror. The topic of illegal immigration and the effect on American-born children of these immigrants is quite an important topic that has been plaguing the United States today, but in a move similar to The Forever Purge, we have the targets of immigration but here, the central characters are American-born children of immigrants.

Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is excellent in the main role of JP, who is introduced working at a fast-food restaurant where he confronts two racist customers who make themselves look foolish. It is after that moment where we learn about the new state law and seeing the scumbad Governor Finn, played with slyness by Brett Cullen. We are then introduced to the other central characters during an interrogation scene after he is separated from his sister. Carmen, the goth girl, is played by the new “horror queen” herself, Jenna Ortega. Allen Maldonado is the comic relief as smartmouth Big Mac. Jorge Diaz is the mouthy Chris while Bella Ortiz has that bombshell quality as Micah.

The first half slows down on the horror elements with the exception of what looks like it could be an homage to the likes of The Last Exorcist or even a demonic possession film. However, once a big twist is revealed as it pertains to one of the seniors at the center, things really pick up. To get things more interesting, certain characters go to a place they never existed while there’s a brief subplot involving how a side business has even added more to the law in a more underground manner, nevertheless pleasing the crazy governor. The finale is quite shocking and mindblowing that it just proves to make this a great film.

American Carnage is a great horror-comedy that boasts a young cast and while the social commentary is there, it is only more about the opening and focuses more on the horror-comedy aspect of things. Definitely a great film to check out!


Saban Films presents a Xolo Productions film. Director: Diego Hallivis. Producers: Julio Havillis and Andres Rosende. Writers: Diego and Julio Hallivis. Cinematography: Unax Mendia. Editing: Alex Marquez.

Cast: Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jenna Ortega, Allen Maldonado, Bella Ortiz, Jorge Diaz, Yumarie Morales, Catherine McCafferty, Brett Cullen, and Eric Dane.

The film will be released in select theaters, VOD, and Digital on July 15th.