The year is 1978. After botching an ill-conceived bank robbery in a desolate California town, two wannabe crooks named Scorpion Joe and Lenny flee the scene with a hostage, Vivian, and lead the local lawmen on a dangerous high-speed chase.
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This is not pastiche. Keating may be often accused of it, but he's certainly much less compared to Tarantino and similar directors. Despite having some obvious nods (the text prelude and outro from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,) it's often neither direct nor harmful. My problem with Carnage Park is that Keating has many scenes that could've worked much better, but due to their contrived predictability they fall flat.
A film that has so many voices that it doesn't have one of its own. Mickey Keating seems to be taking the "best of" moments from all of his favorite films and directors and amalgamating them into a soulless homage. One moment, it's Hooper, then Lynch, then Raimi and Noé. The script is so paper-thin that the characters adapt to whatever the movie needs of them at that moment. At least it's entertaining.
First three quarters are great. I love the way this was shot and I recognize the homages. The practical effects and gore are more than enough to reel in any fan of this mostly dying genre. However, it is very clear Keating wasn't entirely sure where to go with not only the story but the techniques he used to tell them.
A decent watch that is almost without an identity of its own. The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wolf Creek and a bunch of other movies are merged together into this one. The visuals, the score and the acting works just fine and because of that it is such a shame that the script is so second rate. Could have been a good one, now just barely decent.