Carnage Park Movie Review
With a bigger budget and a bit more imagination, Carnage Park could have been great. But as is, it’s still a moderately entertaining B-grade horror-thriller.
A young woman (Ashley Bell) is kidnapped by two thieves, but after escaping she finds herself trapped in “Carnage Park,” a remote piece of property owned by a deranged Vietnam vet who likes to hunt his human prey. What ensues is a cat-and-mouse game of survival and sadism.
Bell holds her own as the protagonist, and the situations her hunter (played by Pat Healy) puts her in makes for some mildly nerve-racking sequences. Writer/director Mickey Keating establishes an unsettling atmosphere among the near-desert terrain of remote California and eerie junkyard settings, where you know at any moment the bad guy could pop out of a hole or pick you off from afar.
The plot isn’t particularly original, but Carnage Park had plenty of potential. Sadly, much of it is wasted.
While the film is naturally limited by what is presumably a low budget, the movie misses many opportunities for increased suspense. While most sequences are somewhat entertaining, they certainly lack the intensity you can tell Keating was going for—some tighter editing and injection of urgency at the script level would have helped considerably.
Keating also misses the mark with his villain. While Healy appears on screen quite a bit early on, and is serviceably creepy to boot, he largely disappears in the second half, with Keating resorting to using taunting voices over loudspeakers—an effect that works at first, but not so much in the redundant sequences that follow. Instead, Keating should have allowed Healy and Bell to physically interact on screen.
The climax is also rather lackluster, as Keating abandons the desert setting altogether and puts his characters underground, a rather unoriginal turn of events and one that leaves much of the third act in near darkness. After a while of not knowing exactly what was going on, I lost interest.
Carnage Park wastes plenty of potential, but genre fans will still find something to like—even if only for a fleeting moment.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.