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Fantasia Review: In a Valley of Violence
There are so many things going wrong in CLOSED FOR THE SEASON that I’ll just start with the glaring offensives. First off, the scattered narrative is very confusing from the very beginning and that confusion never lets up—there’s nothing worse than not knowing what the f*ck is going on in a movie, like walking in half-way through a flick, even though you were on board from the very beginning. The flick starts with a dude being thrown from a roller coaster, then some chick is looking for her lost teddy bear, then some crazy f*cking clown is unleashing nightmares on folks but none of it is really happening—or is it? I don’t know if it was a conscious point to blur the lines of reality here, but I do know they did a fine job of mindf*cking me to the point where I didn’t know what the hell was going on from the get-go.
The main characters are just about as confused as to what’s going on as the audience is, and while they’re performances are about what you’d expect from a small budgeted flick like this, their undeveloped to the point where you really don’t give a shit if they live or die—and everytime they do “die” in their dreamworld, you almost wish it were for real so that the damn movie would be over already. The haunted clown guy did a pretty good job but more in the way of a Sid Haig type clown (from HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES), where he’s such a dirtball and yet he has clown make-up that it makes him all that much sleazier.
However, the abandoned amusement part was pretty cool and looked like the genuine real deal, which I gather is why the film was made in the first. They had an awesome location and they wanted to make a horror movie there because it’s so damn creepy (which I’m sure it really is), but they got there and quickly found out that the script they had was shite and dragged the viewers all over the place to the point where the location was utterly wasted by being in this movie.
The little props I will give this flick is the high production values the film appears to have—it looked pretty damn good, the lighting was descent, and it was extremely sharp to look at. And save for the weak-ass roller coaster ride all done entirely in crappy CG (looked like a PC game from the mid-90s), the effects (or rather, the practical effects) were done well. All in all though, the film is a huge waste of time, even if you’re a die hard fan of clowns or amusement parks in general.