FEARNET Movie Review: 'Sightseers'



It's not easy to maintain a firm sense of humor in a movie about two people who fall in love while corpses keep piling up, but I'm not at all surprised to learn that the British madman known as Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List) has found a way to pull it off. The man's latest effort will be a big hit with genre geeks who remember cult films like Eating Raoul (1982) and Psychos in Love (1987), but Sightseers is still clever enough to appeal to general movie-watchers. 
And by "general movie-watchers" I mean people who don't normally see romantic comedies in which a half-dozen people get murdered in casual yet amusingly gory fashion. 
Simple synopsis for an enjoyably simple movie: Chris (Steve Oram) and Tina (Alice Lowe) have been dating for three months, and (much to the chagrin of her hilariously unpleasant mother) they've decided to get away for a long weekend in his caravan. (Note for American audiences: "caravan" means "RV" or "Winnebago.") Chris has a checkered past but seems like a perfectly sweet guy; Tina seems a little goofy but certainly sweet enough to romance... so off they go.
Let's just say the lovers' little road trip quickly becomes, well, littered with corpses. I'll just leave it at that. Sightseers has a few fun surprises in store, but even if it didn't, this 82-minute black comedy would be worth seeing solely for the droll and wonderfully appealing chemistry between the two leads. Co-writers and co-stars, Lowe and Oram work off each other like a veteran comedy team, and some of the movie's funniest moments have that sweet spark of natural improvisation.
The material seems a natural fit for Ben Wheatley and his team. The film plays like a straight-laced romance, complete with lovely landscapes and witty banter, and when things take a turn for the worse (as in all those murders I mentioned earlier), Sightseers doesn't linger on the horror too long. The matter-of-fact tone of the look, feel, and sound of the movie is what makes the shocking bits work so well.

Not only does Sightseers satisfy in a sly and very quick fashion, but it also stands as a testament to what you can pull off with no money, a few good ideas, a handful of talented people, and some really pretty locations. Whether or not Sightseers contains any deep or symbolic insights about the ironic nature of "the average idiot" is up to the viewer to decide. I do know it's quite a bit smarter than your average comedy/horror combination, but mostly I just really enjoyed the trip.