September 5, 2014


Ben Wheatley, 2013
Couple Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) are excited to go on a holiday with Chris' caravan. But the romantic getaway that they are expecting to enjoy is interrupted by many unexpected elements which threaten their good time.

First off, at the time that this review was written Netflix happened to have this film streaming. But not quite categorized correctly. It was in the comedy section with a very vague description. You may make the same mistake and assume you are putting on a dark English comedy, like a rougher version of Albert Brooks' Lost in America. Not quite. In fact, the only similarity between the two movies is there happens to be two people in an RV together. Sightseers is a hostile piece, quite brutal at times. And sure, there are some comedic moments. But it's certainly a black comedy Brit-horror piece with the coldness of Harold and Maude combined with the unforgiving brutality of Red White & Blue.

Wheatley's road trip from hell with two complete sociopaths at the wheel is intriguing. You have Tina, insecure and passionate woman who early on appears to simply be a loyal girlfriend. You have Chris, who appears to be a burly outdoorsy guy eager to escape suburbia and set out for nature. But the tone is set early when you see Tina eager to escape the grip of her overbearing mother. Her mother, quite wretched and bitter, still blames Tina for the death of their beloved Jack Russell Terrier. There are no warm goodbyes exchanged as they depart for their trip. You soon discover that Chris has a short fuse, where a simple discarding of trash on the ground can set him off fiercely and quickly. You wonder for a moment whether Tina will discover these quirks and go her separate way only to find that no...she has her own issues involving violent impulses and jealousy. One of the most unsettling elements in the film is the horrible events that occur in such an innocent and natural setting. State parks, campgrounds, historic sites. We all find ourselves in places like this, and to think of someone like this crossing your path is unsettling. Of course Tina and Chris are completely fictionalized monsters, but there are people that exist that have a similar disregard for human life. Wheatley puts a nefarious couple on screen that will stick with you. Next time you decide to go camping, you will probably be more inclined to keep to yourself. 

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