That brings me to the work of Bear McCreary. His score far outshines the rest of the film as it presents something unique in sound, creative in execution, and devoid of typical horror movie score moments. That is to say the Rest Stop sequel's score avoids the screeching moments where everyone is expected to jump on cue as well as the typical slow build of quiet strings to a build the suspense up to the screech moment. Don't get me wrong, some of those scores are quite good and effective, but it is the expected path and Bear does not go down it.
The score for this movie is a lush composition built on electric bass, de-tuned banjos, fiddles, and an overall Southern rock in hell atmosphere. It has an off-kilter approach that sounds fresh and keeps you wondering just where he might be going. It is quite unlike anything I have heard before. Listening to this makes me want to hear what he could have done on something like Rob Zombies The Devil's Rejects, basically, take this sort of approach with a good film.
Here is an interesting quote from Bear in an interview with iF Magazine: "They (cliches) were easy to avoid because I loathe contemporary horror scores. When I was hired on for both REST STOP films I made it clear early on that I had no interest in doing the cliched "orchestral-screaming" score, the kind of Ligeti / Penderecki rip-offs that dominate almost every horror film out there. The instrumentation for both REST STOP films is pretty unique, basically a blue-grass band. I knew I had to raise the musical stakes this time around and incorporated a full rhythm section. The sound I was going for was "Lynrd Skynrd Trapped in Hell." I don't know if that's where I ended up, but it was my starting point.
That sounds just about right. This is what makes him such an intriguing new voice. He knows just how to approach a project, create something new, and push the boundaries of what is typically accepted for the genres he is working in.
In addition to the score, Rest Stop: Don't Look Back also includes a couple of original songs of Bear's creation. The first song is the opening credits track called "Rattlesnake on the Highway." It is a Southern rock song that is all right, but not as good as later songs here. The other tune from this film is "Jesus, He Forgives You Too," combined with the final track on the CD, "Down Home Salvation," which appeared in the first film, are a couple of traditional bluegrass spirituals with completely demented lyrics, which were a collaboration with the Rev. Bufurd "Buck" Davis. Not great songs, but definitely entertaining to listen to.