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‘Christmas on the Carousel’ review: Great characters & setting in passable Christmas film

A little early?

Christmas on the Carousel may seem a little misplaced arriving in October. That being said, there are plenty of horror movies that come out during the holiday season. Plus, director Erik Bloomquist is no stranger to genre cinema. So, there is something of a balance. The premise is definitely more suited to a less spooky time of year. Four friends are meeting for their last college winter break before heading out into the real world. Sloane (Madeleine Dauer) reveals that her family is moving after the holidays. The already difficult get together becomes a powder keg of emotions and regrets. 

A formulaic plot is not a big problem for a Christmas romance movie. These types of stories are big on feelings and not necessarily originality. Christmas on the Carousel often has the right ideas, it is just unable to execute them. Audiences know where it is going, but when it gets there, it does not really mean anything. Much of this is due to the short run time that does not allow for the emotional impact needed.

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A great example are the characters. They are an enjoyable bunch filled with charisma. The script requires them all to alternate between comedy and drama, which they are able to do well for the most part. Where they tend to suffer is as individuals. Christmas on the Carousel does a great job with the dynamics of the group, but struggles to keep things interesting when focusing on just one or even two of the friends. 

Bloomquist (who also stars in Christmas on the Carousel) succeeds in bringing a tone not often seen in movies set around Christmas. Everything is a little more muted and less cheerful. This does not mean the film is a study in December misery; it is a much more intimate story that does away with the bombast that surrounds this time of year. It makes for an interesting watch despite some missteps.

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