Travellers (18)

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Review byMatthew Turner14/01/2011

One out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

This low budget British thriller has its moments but is ultimately let down by a confused script, unlikeable characters, poor direction, some incoherent editing and a laughably pretentious ending.

What's it all about?
Written, directed, shot and co-edited by Kris McManus, Travellers is a low-budget British thriller that begins when four laddish City Boys – posh Dan (Alex Edwards), Territorial Army fanatic Andy (Tom Geoffrey), sensible Chris (Shane Sweeney) and wisecracking Jon (Ben Richards) – stumble upon what they think is a deserted caravan while on a camping weekend. When Andy defaces the caravan with graffiti (misspelling “pikeys” into the bargain), he angers the caravan's owners, a group of travellers that the City Boys had riled up in the pub earlier.

The travellers promptly kidnap Dan and tie him up inside the caravan, where he meets a young traveller woman (Celia Muir as Lucy), who turns out to be the sister of bare-knuckle boxer Martin (Dean Jagger). Meanwhile, the other travellers chase Chris, Jon and Andy into the woods but things quickly turn nasty when Jon is attacked by an unseen assailant.

The Good
The performances are fine, with Jagger and Sweeney slightly edging it over the rest of the cast, though Geoffrey is pretty good as the closet psycho. However, the film is most notable for its sparsely-used but nonetheless effective gore effects (one in particular), which are particularly impressive given the film's obvious low budget.

The Bad
The problem with the film is that the characters are deeply unsympathetic so it's impossible to care what happens to any of them. The script is seemingly aware of this and attempts a certain level of ambiguity on the 'Just who ARE the real bad guys here?' level, but this is badly thought out and simply ends up creating confusion.

Though a couple of early scenes are nicely handled, the direction and editing become increasingly choppy and incoherent as the story takes off in increasingly baffling directions, such as Martin suddenly deciding to enter Chris in a bareknuckle boxing match. Similarly, the ending of the film (note to film-makers: stop using YouTube in your closing scenes) is so laughably pretentious that it completely robs the climax of any residual impact it might otherwise have had.

Worth seeing?
Despite a couple of effective gore sequences, Travellers is ultimately let down by a poorly conceived script, unlikeable characters and a ridiculously pretentious ending.

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Content updated: 20/07/2018 12:03

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