Sightseers (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/11/2012

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Hugely enjoyable, almost painfully funny British comedy-horror that strikes the perfect balance between laugh-out-loud humour and brief bursts of gore thanks to a terrific script and superb comic performances from co-writers Alice Lowe and Steve Oram.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ben Wheatley, Sightseers is a British comedy/horror co-written by Alice Lowe and Steve Oram with input from Wheatley's regular collaborator Amy Jump. Lowe stars as downtrodden Tina, who's about to embark on a caravanning holiday in the Midlands with her new boyfriend Chris (Steve Oram), despite the vociferous protests of her disapproving mother Carol (Eileen Davies). However, after Steve runs down an annoying fellow traveller, Tina's dream holiday takes a decidedly murderous turn.

The Good
Lowe and Oram are hilarious as Tina and Chris and their use of Birmingham accents is an inspired touch of genius, helping to both ground the mundaneness of the story, while making every line that much more deadpan. Similarly, the script crackles with quotable, very funny dialogue; it's the sort of film where you feel the lines will deservedly seep into popular culture, like with Withnail & I or Spinal Tap. Indeed, the film plays like a psychotic version of Mike Leigh's Nuts In May, another film whose dialogue is well-known by camping enthusiasts.

Wheatley's direction is assured throughout, striking the perfect balance between character humour and brief but effective moments of surprisingly shocking gore; as with Kill List, he is careful to show the messy real-life effects of violence, rather than glamorising it. To this end, he is aided by some impressive special effects work and his own skilful editing, alongside co-editors Amy Jump and Robin Hill.

The Great
Somewhat perversely, despite the comedy value of including real-life attractions such as the Crich Tramway Village or the Keswick Pencil Museum (complete with their real-life staff), the film actually serves as a surprisingly effective tourism incentive (watch the attendances to the Tramway Village and Pencil Museum soar as a result), with Laurie Rose's cinematography showcasing some genuinely beautiful scenery. There's also an inspired soundtrack (notably the use of Season of the Witch) and a suitably atmospheric score by Jim Williams.

Worth seeing?
Sightseers is a hugely enjoyable, genuinely hilarious comedy-horror with a brilliantly written script and terrific comic performances from Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. Placed beside Down Terrace and Kill List, it also confirms Ben Wheatley as one of Britain's most exciting and talented new directors. Unmissable.

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Content updated: 23/10/2017 05:21

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