Why are British directors so good at making gritty and brutally comical films? That’s what we get in Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers. It’s a horror-comedy about a couple, Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe), who go on a cross-country road trip, and unleash their homicidal rage on anyone who rubs them up the wrong way.
Chris and Tina are about as odd a couple as you can get. Desperate to escape her domineering mother (Eileen Davis), Tina sets off in a caravan with her new boyfriend. And when I say new boyfriend, I mean she’s only known the guy for three months. At first, Tina is a naive and innocent bystander in the relationship, unaware of Chris’ twisted nature. It’s when she discovers what Chris truly is, that she goes bat-sh*t crazy.
Despite being a homicidal maniac, Chris actually manages to have a moral code of conduct, even though it’s a twisted one. He likes to keep things efficient and as tidy as possible when he does his business, whereas Tina, as the film progresses, gets more out of control. Ultimately, they both have a very low tolerance and violent disdain for people who get on their nerves.
Sightseers is full of sharp wit and great one-liners. The script was in fact written by the lead actors. The film isn’t laugh out loud funny and I’ll be honest, I did expect it to be a lot funnier, but the riveting dialogue keeps the film’s spark alive.
The film does run out of steam slightly towards the end. Random silliness runs riot and you kind of just want the film to hurry up and get to the resolution. The film is definitely not for everyone and will primarily appeal to those who enjoy black comedy and have an appreciation for obscure films.
I’m always on the look out for unusual, quirky films that challenge the viewer. Ben Wheatley is the kind of director that seems abide by this principle, so I have a deep appreciation for his work. He’s not the most widely-known director, but he has produced a number of good indie films, so I highly recommend checking out his movies. While Sightseers lacks the same intrigue as Wheatley’s previous effort Kill List, it is still a memorable and highly confident piece of work.
Quoted: “If the caravan’s rockin’, don’t come a-knockin'”
Director: Ben Wheatley
Stars: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram
Distributor: Studio Canal (UK)
Run Time: 88 min
You also might be interested in my review of the obscure comedy-drama The Lobster, which you can read here.