Parents' Guide to

American Carnage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Satirical horror about racism falls flat; gore, language.

Movie R 2022 101 minutes
American Carnage Movie: Poster

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This promising satire/comedy-horror movie winds up spreading itself a bit too thin, never fully committing to any of its components. Even its skewering of racism feels blunted. Beginning with an incendiary opening credits montage, American Carnage boldly sets itself up from the start. The montage runs through images of Latino heroes, Latino stereotypes, and politicians and media outlets naming Latino people as enemies, being told to "go back to where you came from." And as the movie gets fully underway, JP uses his quick wit to shame two privileged, White racists at the drive-thru window. But not long after that, things start to soften up, sliding into goofy -- but far from hilarious -- comedy.

JP and his four new buddies might have been lifted from any raucous high school comedy. They seem more concerned with causing trouble than solving problems. The movie's horror elements come in late and only sporadically. They feel tentative, as if unsure whether to fall on the side of funny or scary. The final reveal (foreshadowed by an out-of-place movie poster in JP's room) is handled in a routinely surface way. It brings back a little of the racism commentary, showing how the villains can't even see Latino people as human beings, but it still feels cheapened by one-note dialogue and silly visual effects. Ultimately, American Carnage fails to live up to its promise: It's too bland to be incendiary and too soft for true carnage.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 15, 2022
  • On DVD or streaming: August 30, 2022
  • Cast: Jorge Lendeborg Jr. , Jenna Ortega , Allen Maldonado
  • Director: Diego Hallivis
  • Inclusion Information: Black actors, Female actors, Latino actors, Multiracial actors
  • Studio: Saban Films
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 101 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: some disturbing violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, nudity and drug use
  • Last updated: February 19, 2024

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