Written by James Cullen Bressack and Zack Ward this movie instantly reminds of House on Haunted Hill (1959) with a modern twist. The story revolves around Balthazar Kane (Tim Abell) a once famous Horror circus magician who sends a group of social media stars a special invitation. This invitation states that any individual who can make it through Balthazar’s own private walk through residence will win $250,000. The social media stars quickly accept but they find out that the game isn’t the only thing on the line during this experience. Their lives are too.
As a whole I didn’t hate Circus Kane, it does what it needs to do and at the end of the day it’s low budget Horror with low budget thrills. I admired the intricate and vibrant cinematography and the set design was beautiful throughout the house but something didn’t feel right about the rest of the production.
Stereotypical actors were placed in their sterotypical roles and whilst i’ve read some reviews saying that their individual backstories were detailed. I thought it to be quite the opposite. There really wasn’t any indication as to who any of them actually were other than their job title and a brief overview as to why they were there. This limited dwelling on the individuals backstory had me routing for the horrors lurking in the house to kill them all. If a film can’t hook me in on their characters i’ll always side with the bad guys. The quicker they get chopped (literally) out of the script, the better.
So, whilst I couldn’t give a damn about anyone in the movie it was still nice to just sit back and enjoy the ride. I love haunted house and walkthrough experiences so to imagine an attraction like that with real killers inside, is exciting to watch. Tim Abell puts in the best performance of the feature as Balthazar Kane, but this wasn’t a difficult feat to achieve.
There are many winks and nods to classic Horror films throughout Circus Kane. If it’s not the characters quoting famous film quotes, it’s the method in which Balthazar Kane is challenging his contests that displays flashes of Saw movie brilliance. The references to classic movies run riot throughout the movie and it’s almost a game in itself to spot each and every reference throughout. I think that may be the only thing that would encourage me to watch this film for a second time.
Beautiful visual style and cinematography save the piece, in addition to cool and inventive kills. The music adds a wacky and circus tone to proceedings as the movie eventually reaches it’s rather tense climax. A nice twist ending that I didn’t see coming (for a change) actually finished the movie with style and grace. At the same time however the ending did feel as thou everything else I had just watched was all for nothing. There wasn’t much explanation as to why the stars were invited in the first place. If I had to guess it was a very sinister sense of what one would do for social immortaility and a sure fire way of eliminating one’s competition. Nevertheless an interesting ending that is open to speculation but a film that I won’t be seeing again anytime soon.
Circus Kane will be available on Video on Demand September 8th, 2017.