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Review: Sightseers

Ben Wheatley's third film brings black comedy to the Caravan Club. Alfie Packham reviews.

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Director: Ben Wheatley
Starring: Steve Oram, Alice Lowe
Length: 88 minutes

Ben Wheatley presents two starcross'd Redditch lovers as they embark upon a blood-soaked caravan odyssey, leaving a trail of mangled victims behind them on the run from the law.

At first glance, a West Midlands couple on a camping holiday may seem a concept lacking in potential for even mild interest, let alone for the boldness that Sightseers attains. But this is a Ben Wheatley film, and as such, any preconceptions are soon clubbed over the head when Tina (Lowe) becomes embroiled in her new boyfriend Chris' (Oram) chain of grizzly serial killings. Each murder is rendered with increasingly explicit gore as the couple are brought closer together, with skull-crunching which would feel at home in a scene from Drive.

Fortunately, Wheatley's calculated shifts from violence to (pitch black) comedy will prevent audiences from feeling a bit ill. It's the deadpan delivery of sharp and understated dialogue that makes this flick something special; "He's not a human he's a Daily Mail reader", Chris explains matter-of-factly following the homicide of an obnoxious rambler.

The story is underpinned by sympathy for Tina as she is trapped between a bleak domestic existence with her elderly mother and death in the name of love with Chris. Although the film feels at times a little stretched towards the commercial 90 minute mark, the culmination of their relationship gives way to an emotionally striking finale.

Wheatley revels in the stark contrast between pitching tents and pitch black comedy in this witty yet haunting trip through rural Britain - certainly a sight worth seeing.

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