Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back soundtrack CD review

Bear McCreary delivers a soundtrack to a film that's, by most accounts, entirely forgettable. But how will the music fare?

By all accounts, Rest Stop: Don’t Look Back, is utter bilge. The direct-to-video horror sequel to the direct-to-video horror film, Rest Stop: Dead Ahead, it tells the story of Tom Hilts on his journey to find out what happened to his brother Jesse. For the purposes of full disclosure, Jesse and his girlfriend ended up pitting their wits against a serial killer while on a road trip in the first film, and while I’ve not seen it, it’s probably a fair bet that it didn’t end well.

Anywho, this 20-track soundtrack album to the second film is out now, vying for your attention. As well as featuring music from that film, it also features six bonus tracks from the original movie, included here because they are, according to the blurb in the booklet, the composer’s favourites from that score.

The composer in question is Bear McCreary – a truly fantastic name that could surely only belong to an American – who has previously composed scores for the reimagined series of Battlestar Gallactica and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, among other work. I haven’t heard his work on those scores, so this is my first introduction to Bear.

Technically, you can tell that Bear knows his onions. The composition of most of the tracks included here is undeniably strong, evoking the eerie, creepy atmosphere of a low-budget, gritty horror flick. The opening track Rattlesnake on the Highway is a particular highlight, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Unfortunately, the album falls down because there’s not enough variation throughout its running time. You could easily swap one song for another, especially toward the second half of the album, and not notice a difference.

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Worse though, is when the album does attempt to change direction, on the tracks performed by the Rev. Buford “Buck” Davis and His Minstrel Singers. There’s one on the main album from them and one within the bonus tracks, and both are truly awful. Obviously the ‘humour’ relayed within the lyrics is meant to be ironic – making fun of hick towns and the mentality of the southern states – but it comes across as silly and, frankly, annoying. You’ll definitely find yourself skipping them whenever you listen to the score.

The real saving grace for this album are the five other bonus tracks included here, in particular, one including input from his brother, Brendan. While the main score is a bit samey, these bonus tracks (no doubt because they’re from a different soundtrack originally) do inject something a little different to the mix.

As a result, if you’ve got the score to the first film, I really wouldn’t bother with this. However, if you don’t own that album, or indeed anything else by Bear, then this is worth consideration and you can add another star to the score below.



2 out of 5