Saturday, January 28, 2017

Carnage Park

   Carnage Park is probably one of the worst movies I've seen in a long while. It recklessly bounces back and forth between rip-off, homage, and pastiche so furiously that it's impossible to give a shit about anything that's going on. This is a 77 minute wankfest to the tune of Tarantino, Peckinpah, and Rob Zombie. And honestly? The only thing that carries it is the the strength of the actors. Everything else is god awful. The editing is mind-numbingly bad, the story is convoluted, the plot goes virtually nowhere, and the ending is horribly anti-climactic.

   The Netflix blurb promised a survival thriller as a bank robber and his hostage have to evade the crosshairs of a psychotic sniper. This sounded really cool to me, and I was sure I'd enjoy the movie. If anything it was bound to be entertaining on some level. Right? Nah. The more I watched, the more irritated I got. The movie makes no good use of it's villain- who apparently spends all his time making weird traps and setting up voice recordings everywhere. Remember he's supposed to be a psychotic sniper? But, as the movie goes on, it just keeps heaping tropes on there in a 'kitchen sink' mentality. Not only is he a sniper, he's a redneck hillbilly, who has a brother in the sheriff's dept. and who's a criminal mastermind/serial killer who's been doing this for years. COME ON!

   There's brief glimpses of a good movie in here, or even a fun one, but it's all washed out in bland cinematography, trite dialog, boring characters, amateurish plotting, and a general waste of potential around every corner. The first act of the movie sets up the bank robbers as main characters, and they're ENTIRELY out of the picture once the movie finally picks up steam. It's Tarantino-esque predilection for flashy introductions and non-linear storytelling is furiously at odds with the rest of the movie, and comes off as annoying if anything. The whole misleading first act is even more frustrating once you realize the movie has nothing else good up its sleeve. Once things 'get going', the movie becomes even drier and more rote than you could imagine.

   Also, I realize that the people who seem to be enjoying this movie, are the ones looking for a horror fix. They're also the same people who call Green Room a disappointment because it was a thriller and not a horror movie. Carnage Park is split right down it's unsightly middle as a haphazard and sophomoric blend of (not-)true crime thriller and bullshit Rob Zombie horror aesthetic. Yet, unsurprisingly, it does neither well. BUT HEY, HORROR FANS, AT LEAST THERE'S GORE AND A MASKED KILLER WHO LIKES TO LAUGH CREEPILY AT PEOPLE. The climax drags on and on, slowing to a crawl and a pitch black screen, the movie winds down as the protagonist stumbles around in an abandoned mining tunnel with no light.

   ...Which is exactly how I felt as a viewer. Except instead of being consumed with hopelessness and terror, it was annoyance and disbelief.

As the heroine finally escapes from the killer's terribly improbable gauntlet of horrors, and every horror cliche in the book has been dutifully checked off (from creepy laughing doll, to killer who wears a gas mask for no reason, to an endless slew of jump scares... ugh) she stands there in frantic relief, crying, laughing, and gasping for breath. I couldn't even see the character at this point. It was instead, the actress herself who had just survived this grueling shitfest of a movie. I'd argue that the director was the real villain here.

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