Monday, July 18, 2016
Carnage Park (2016)
DIRECTOR: Mickey Keating
WRITER: Mickey Keating
James Landry Hebert
When two bank robbers who have just botched their latest bank heist go on the run from law enforcement. They decide to go and kidnap a local woman while trying to plan their getaway. While trying to evade the police that are still in pursuit of them. They decide to take a turn off onto a back road that unknowingly puts them into the path of a psychotic ex-military sniper and onto his private piece of land that is known as Carnage Park. They will need to fight for survival against an enemy who knows the land and can spot them from a mile away.
At the beginning of Carnage Park. We are shown a title card that says the movie is 'based on one of the most bizarre true crimes in the annals of America's history.' I decided to do some research on the story of Carnage Park. I was unable to find one single article about any of the true crimes that were depicted in this movie. So I'm under the impression that when they use the term 'True Story,' that you'll need to take what happens in this film with a grain of salt.
Carnage Park begins with a man running through the desert who is shot dead by our psychotic sniper. We suddenly cut to a frenetic pursuit with our two bank robbers who are trying to flee the police. I've seen reviews compare this to 'Quentin Tarantino.' I assume they've gone and given this comparison based on the bloody car interrogation from Pulp Fiction that ends with the hilarious yet gruesome gun going off and we see an explosion of brain matter. Stylistically, I can see a few little nods, but that's about where the comparisons end for me.
Once our robber and the kidnapped woman enter Carnage Park, this is where the shit really hits the fan. The movie from this point on, right up until it's third act is a pretty intense ride and never really stops moving when it comes to its pacing. I was pretty much on board for a vast majority of the films running time. It had me right up until our final girl enters the mines and this is where the movie sort of lost points for me.
During the movies first and second act is where it delivers most of its shocks. I was expecting certain characters to stay alive a lot longer than they did. When they are dispatched, which is usually in bloody fashion. I was left with my mouth agape and wondering where things were going to go with the story. Being a Horror film, though, the film eventually gives way to familiar genre tropes, and I was left annoyed with character decisions that lead into Carnage Parks somewhat dissatisfying final.
The third act of Carnage Park is where the film loses most of its points. The movie ends with a mine shaft that sees our final girl try and survive as she is hunted by our psychotic madman. I mentioned earlier in my review of reviews referencing Quentin Tarantino. Here I thought I saw homages to Silence Of The Lambs during the blackout scene. I even saw some House Of 1000 Corpses and My Bloody Valentine thrown in for good measure. The most significant issue with the ending is that it's an ending that's been done countless times. The 'possible sequel' reveal also felt tired.
The acting in Carnage Park is standout. Ashley Bell is an actress who I know from the Last Exorcism gives her most frantic performance. People will say over-acting, but all I got was sheer on the edge of your seat panic from her performance. Pat Healy as our psychotic sniper is also excellent. He spends a vast majority in full military getup and a mask. Without the mask, he's just as menacing. Lastly, we have Alan Ruck in a smaller role who gives a decent performance as well. I loved his scene where he sits in the car, practising his reaction for when the cops nab his brother who is played by Pat Healy. A fantastic cast.
Carnage Park is one stylized looking indie film. We have a lot of frantic cuts, we have scenes of slow motion being used, the blackout scene in the third act and the film is drenched in browns and yellows to give it that retro, throwback seventies feel. Micky Keating delivers a great looking film. I need to note the choices of music used in this movie as well. The use of what I believe to be Asian songs gave the film this bizarre quality that may be the most bizarre element in this movie.
Lastly, Carnage Park is pretty intense as I mentioned earlier. The film at times had me on the edge of my seat. The highlight being a scene where our main female character is standing by a sign and we can hear the pop of a rifle in the distance and it suddenly hitting next to her head. I thought this scene was top notch. Regarding being scary, the film isn't scary at all. This is more adrenalin-fuelled suspense than all-out creepy jump scares. For the most part, it works on that level.
DEATH TOLL: 5
BLOOD AND GORE:
- People are shot with a sniper rifle.
- An up close shot of a bleeding gunshot wound.
- Someone is shot in the head.
- A corpse with face blown off.
- A hand is completely crushed by a rock.
- Lots of bodies are found.
- Someone is shot in the chest.
- Head smashed in with rifle handle.
- Foot caught in a bear trap.
- Someone is stabbed in the throat.
- Corpses are found in a tunnel.
- Someone is crushed in a mine cave-in.
Carnage Park is at times intense, stylized, and offers a few substantial shocks during its running time. The movie also features solid performances from its cast. The movie loses points for it's somewhat overused and predictable ending, a few silly character decisions and the inevitable return to familiar genre tropes. The film is still worth a watch for merely unearthing this apparent odd true story which I'm still yet to find any reliable evidence on.