Carnage Park (2016)

Carnage Park
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer: Mickey Keating
Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat HealyAlan Ruck, James Landry Hébert, Michael Villar, Bob Bancroft, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Joe (James Landry Hébert) and Lenny (Michael Villar) just robbed a bank and took Vivian (Ashely Bell) hostage. They are able to lead the police led by Sheriff Moss (Alan Ruck) on a merry chase and finally get away in the desert, where Lenny dies. Joe and Vivian end up on Wyatt’s (Pat Healy) and Wyatt doesn’t take lightly to trespassers. He shoots Joe outright and what should be Vivian’s salvation turns into her biggest nightmare.

Carnage Park starts off really strong, but then it gets rid of everything I liked about it and becomes the most standard of slashers and I just couldn’t get into it. I would have preferred a film about the bank robbery.

The beginning of the film is good. I liked the chase, and I liked the bank robbers as characters and their dialogues and Vivian’s chemistry with them and her defiance. It is too bad that their entire story is only a segue into the story of Vivian trying to escape Wyatt. We may have seen many films about bank robberies gone wrong, but at least they’re funny more often than not. All of those “weird hillbilly killing his way through the desert” are dreary more than anything else (not to mention classist and in this case ableist as well).

But okay, even an old clichéd story can be done well if you know how to use the clichés and take care in the execution. But that’s not the case here, unfortunately. Instead of scary and tense, things quickly become ridiculous and annoying and simply predictable.

I was also irritated by the fact that the film tries very hard to pass itself of as a real story that actually happened. That came across as an affectation that added nothing the film or the story it told and just rubbed me the wrong way.

The film’s saving grace is its cast who play their heart out, even when their characters are flimsy. But unfortunately that’s far from enough to make the film work for me.

Summarizing: despite a strong beginning, it doesn’t convince.

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