"This film is a remake of the 1962 horror classic of the same name. The 1962 original was atmospheric, darkly poetic, haunting; its story a subtle balance between two alternate interpretations.This is none of those. This remake is a clunky mess, arbitrarily meandering through pointless scenes and aimless "monsters" lifted from JACOB'S LADDER. Aside from the monsters, a line, too, is lifted from JACOB'S LADDER. The one about demons and angels. This makes *some* sense, as both the original CARNIVAL OF SOULS and JACOB'S LADDER are inspired by Bierce's "Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge."The 1962 film had a beginning, a middle, and a twist ending. This 1998 remake has numerous beginnings, middles, and ends. Scenes switch back and forth as the lead character keeps "waking up" to indicate that all that went on before was a dream. If not for the rough road map provided by the original film, we'd have an even murkier idea of what's going on.Basically, a woman drives into the river, and at times seems to have escaped, at times is just now escaping, at times appears never to have driven into the river at all...Not clever, just confused and confusing. The original film's cool lead actress portrayed a young woman afraid of life, who "hadn't really lived." It was subtle, yet the point was made. In this new version, the character helpfully tells the audience that she "hasn't lived," in case we don't "get it."The pedophilia "update" to the original film's storyline doesn't add anything.This 1998 film's lead actress, Bobbie Phillips, guest-starred as the "bug woman" in THE X-FILES."
Turgid, tedious, coma inducing travesty of a remake
O. Khan | Cambridge, England United Kingdom | 01/10/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"a total sell out by Wes Craven by attaching his name to this unspeakably inept remake of one of the great cult classics of all time. This is as awful as Herk Herverys origianl is brilliant. Where as the original was creative, creepy and almost surreal, this one has an "artistry" that would shame Ed Wood let alone Wes Craven. It has the feel of a tacky tv straight to vid film which it undoubtedly was. The acting is worse than amateurish, the plot - a total shamble. There is not a shred of suspense or tension throughout the movie......and one only yearns for one thing, that it be over SOON. The best thing about the movie is its relatively short running time at less than 90 minutes. After the putrid Wishmaster.....now this over-ripe turnip. What can we expect from the "Wes Craven presents" next time around? new depths in the modern horror cycle. This is a true stinker.......stay well away and save up your pennies for the mouthwatering upcoming Criterion release of the original and marvelous CARNIVAL OF SOULS. due in March 2000 with any luck."
A good movie, for horror fans! I liked it!
game_one | 07/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you want ILM special effects, famous actors and to eat popcorn while watching - forget this movie. But if you like movies where the director left something to think for the audience and if you prefer psychologic horror and atmosphere - you will definately like this horror-puzzle movie!"
Not as good as the original, but it didn't suck as much as I
Zombilicious | Raleigh, NC United States | 07/09/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A young girl sees her mother violently killed at the hands of the live-in boyfriend (who also happens to be a carnival clown). Later as an adult she is haunted by her past when the carnival comes back to town.
I loved the original black and white Carnival of Souls movie and I'm usually a little skittish about remakes. I must admit that I was given some forewarning that Wes Craven changed the plot in this one, which probably helped my overall take on it. So from the start I wasn't expecting much.
In this version the girl and her sister own a bar. There is no church and no organ music, which takes away from the eeriness that we all loved. Hmm how to describe? In another review someone described the original b&w movie as being "darkly poetic and haunting," which can't be said any better. In this version, Wes Craven turns the carnival into a brighter, more chaotic and psychotic place. The ending is similar in the sense that everything is not what it seemed, but obviously with the different plot comes an entirely new scene.
Shawnee Smith is in this film, which is a definite bonus. Also Larry Miller plays a great sicko clown!
I'm giving the movie a 2.5. Compared to the original, the movie deserves a 1 or less. However, anyone who enjoys Wes Craven flicks and sees this movie before seeing the original will probably enjoy it enough to rate it a 3 or 4. So I'll be generous and rate in the middle.
Stink, Stank, Stunk!
C. Scott | Vallejo, CA. USA | 06/13/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This 1998 version of the 1963 orignal is a pathetic attempt to scare, with its mundane "slamming-door-type" effects and stolen Jabob's Ladder gouls! I was very disappointed by this cheap imitation to conjour the allure and intrigue of the original masterpiece. I expected more, because of its later date of production. The only pleasant thing I can say about this movie, save your money and buy the original version, whether it be re-mastered, colorized, or un-cut, but don't buy this!"