Carnage Park

Musical Score By: Giona Ostinelli

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Set in 1978, Carnage Park is a crime thriller/horror film starring James Landry Herbert and Michael Villar as to wannabe bank robbers.  After a failed heist, the two escape to the California desert with a hostage.  Unfortunately, they have stumbled onto land owned by a Vietnam Veteran sniper (Pat Healy) who challenges them to a game of survival.

                The musical score of Carnage Park was created by Swiss-Italian composer Giona Ostinelli whose career in music began at an early age, learning to play the drums at five years old and piano by the age of nine.  A graduate of Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Scoring and of the University of Southern California Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television Program, Ostinelli was a protégé of film composer Alan Silvestri.  His break into film score composing came in 2009 with Ecoviews: Three Stories from the Chesapeake Bay.  Since then, he has created musical scores for a number of films and television series, including Darling, The Boat Builder, Carter High, POD, SXSW, Indigenous and Ritual.

                The Carnage Park Soundtrack features some rather strange sounds.  According to Ostinelli, “I wanted to write a score reminiscent of a traditional Western, however reinvent the genre at the same time.  To achieve that, there was a lot of experimentation involved: I recorded an acoustic piano and fed the signal through an amp, I blew onto the piano strings and recorded the resonance, I recorded my breath and utilized it as a rhythmic element, I recorded a string quartet and then transformed its sound into something completely disturbing and terrifying - I wanted to demonstrate how frightening and sinister a string quartet could be as a sound.”  The resulting score often grates on the nerves as the distorted strings edge higher and higher in octave and volume.  As you listen to some of the tracks containing percussion-like sound, you can almost picture the characters running hell-bent-for-leather, trying to get away from the psychotic sniper.  The rocking tracks at the end – Bank Robbery and Screeching Tires – are bonus tracks that feature electric guitars and percussion and really don’t seem to go with the rest of the album.

                Giona Ostinelli wanted to create a score that would be unique to the horror genre.  While I applaud his methods, I can’t really applaud the outcome.  The Carnage Park Soundtrack feels like a collection of noises and sound effects rather than an actual score.  It probably goes well with the visuals, heightening the sense of fear and adrenaline, but as a standalone album for fans of musical scoring, I think it disappoints a bit.


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