Tuesday, June 18, 2013


By Chuck Graham, TucsonStage.com


Don’t you just hate it when your week-long camping trip with a friend turns murderous almost accidentally? Then once that person dies, well…the first olive is out of the bottle, isn’t it.

That’s when the trip can sort of slide into a two-lane blacktop journey of serial murders that keep developing momentum until…darn it…now you have become a killer, too.

And then the truly scary part is discovering how killing someone becomes a real rush.

So if you have read this far, know that you will enjoy British director Ben Wheatley’s latest outrageously black comedy, playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

After “Down Terrace” (2009) and “Kill List” (2011), Wheatley adds a camping trailer and such annoying roadside inhabitants as the compulsive litterbug and the park site enforcer who insists dog owners clean up after their pets.

Anyone who has been on a family road trip has met these vacation vexing types and, yes, admit it…wanted to throttle them joyfully.

Enjoy some vicarious vigor while watching  red bearded Chris (Steve Oram) and his ever so polite girlfriend Tina (Alice Lowe) learn to enjoy each other, then trust each other, then depend on each other while taking a metaphorical journey that pushes them deeper and deeper into the

“Apocalypse Now” of their very British souls.

Both actors are professional comedians using a deadpan style to mask their social commentary with laughter. Anglophiles will find more complex meaning in the actions of Tina and Chris, by observing the ones who annoy them and what it all means.

Oram and Lowe work together as a comedy team. Many of the campsite scenes began as comedy sketches worked out by the duo, who grew up in the Midlands area where the movie takes place.

So the travelogue aspect feels real enough. The foggy battlegrounds of England’s epic history, the narrow back roads scarcely wide enough for one modern car pulling a spacious camper, the feeling of real sites and real people.

All this truly hauntingly  bucolic authenticity goes well with the murders (never gory or gratuitous) which begin justifiably enough then go spiraling hilariously out of control.

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