“American Carnage” shows Juan Pablo Valdes volunteering at an old age home in order to get his immigrant mother out of prison. But soon, he finds out that the typical boredom inside the home breeds sinister “patty” intent, one that has him and his friend volunteering on the list as well. Whether he will be able to make his escape or fall prey to the supervisor’s scheme is what the film is all about. The concept of the film is, frankly speaking, fantastic and really appalling. And that is why it manages to hold on to the viewer’s attention. You might not like it, but you will want to wait to find out what happens at the end.
‘American Carnage’ Plot Summary
Juan Pablo Valdes (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), aka, JP’s happy family life, is turned upside down when a sudden state of emergency is declared by Governor Harper Percy Finn. Widespread arrests across the state of illegal immigrants and their children who were born in America take place. All the children of such immigrants, illegal or not, are arrested. So JP and his sister Lily (Yumarie Morales), are put in incarceration. The only way for JP (a natural-born American) to save his mother from being deported to Mexico is to claim her as a member of his biological family. But as long as JP is in custody, he can not do that. So he has to volunteer for a senior citizen program and help care for the elderly. All the charges will be dropped if he completes the program.
At the old age home, he meets Sammy McDonald (Allen Maldonado), aka Big Mac, Camila Montes (Jenna Ortega), Chris Morales (Jorge Diaz), and Micah Fuentes (Bella Ortiz). They, along with the other children, are introduced to Eddie Davis (Eric Dane), the founder of the Elderly Americans Tolerance and Understanding program, who is also the supervisor. But as time passes, JP realizes that something is not right. An elderly woman has the same tattoo as that of his sister Lily, a weird operations officer, an abnormal death, an old naked lady and her message: “Virgil will set you free”; all these signs tell him that something fishy is going on. Ultimately, he finds out that the place is not really for the elderly but one where they turn young people old using chemical injections, kill them, and then use their meat to run a burger chain that also belongs to the governor. Will JP be able to save his sister and his friends, and escape from the hell-hole? If he does, there will have to be “carnage.”
The “Patty” Old Age Comes to Us All
“American Carnage” takes the culture of old age homes and plays around with it. The presumption of an old age home is that of a place where the elderly stay and are taken care of. Thus, evidently, it is not a “happening” place. But the film takes such an old age home and turns it into what can be called a meat shop. The old people are sedated with some kind of hormone that converts “lean muscle to tender meat.” This meat is then used as a patty in the burgers of Governor Finn’s Lady Liberty Burger chain. As shockingly gross as it sounds, “American Carnage” literally puts it up on the screen for all to see, but not explicitly. Do you see the meat? You see the dead bodies of elderly people in plastic bags hanging. And you get the idea. That is the motive of the film. The film almost makes us rethink old age and how horrifyingly true its underlying message feels. Old people do lose the leanness of their muscles, and they get soft and tender, pretty much like the patty we like to have in our burgers. “American Carnage” takes this up a notch and gives it the shape of something that is eaten and loved almost everywhere around the world.
The above explanation leads us to understand that no matter how well our elderly are taken care of in old age homes, it is our responsibility to visit them, talk to them, and remind them that they are never alone and that they are loved all the same. Family is what matters at the end of the day, and this is something “American Carnage” shows as well. It is the love between the siblings, Lily and JP, that gives JP the strength to fight his way out of the place. No matter the age, love remains the same. The film makes use of ailments that affect old age, like weakening of the bones, dementia, night terrors, paranoia, and, in some cases, even violent hallucinations. Old people become slow in their movements and confused and disoriented. As much as we hate these, they are all-natural. And by addressing the elderly as the “perfect livestock,” the film seems to be mocking the viewers and reminding us of the importance of taking care of our elderly and ensuring that they feel loved and not left out.
The Meat of Racism Exists
There is a hint of racism in “American Carnage.” An American governor declares the arrest of all immigrants, including their children, for the sake of votes. JP is addressed racially at work by one of the customers as well as by James, one of the operation officers at the Elderly Americans Tolerance and Understanding program. We do not know if all the old people at the Elderly Americans Tolerance and Understanding program were once young kids who were injected with the chemical that turned them old. But it does seem like it, in which case Governor Finn has been responsible for either acquiring kids, irrespective of their racial background, by unfair means, sending them to the program, turning them into old people and finally into meat; or this arrest of the immigrants is his way to win his votes while keeping his burger chain running since the end result of the arrest is turning people into the meat.
Again, if not all of the elderly are young people-turned-old, the fact of the matter is that the Elderly Americans Tolerance and Understanding program has legit elderly people whom they are killing and making their meat out of. This is equally horrific. If Finn had continued this without bringing in the immigrants, his burger joint would still be running. Perhaps it was providence that Finn ordered the arrest of immigrants that ultimately led to the shutting down of his burger chain. He, too, flees the country while the order for the arrest of the immigrants is suspended by the Supreme Court.
‘American Carnage’ Ending: What About the Old People Who Escape?
JP, Lily, Camila, and Big Mac, along with many other old people, escape the place at the end of the film. But will they remain old or, in the case of JP and Camila, half old and half young, throughout their lives? It is shown that researchers are looking for a way to reverse the effects, but it will take some time. Considering that they have their hands on the formula that caused the damage, it will not be tough to find the antidote.
“American Carnage” can be a binge-watch option as it has its thrills and revelations. It rightfully claims its place as a thriller and offers a fair amount of morbid excitement if you like that sort of thing. Overall, it’s satisfactorily entertaining.
“American Carnage” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Diego Hallivis.