In a marked change in tone from director Ben Wheatley’s fabulous Kill List, Sightseers is a dark comedy, the violence seems to have been saved though. It is the first time that Wheatley has directed a feature film that he didn’t write, Steve Oram and Alice Lowe are the two stars responsible for the script.
Sightseers is a bleakly funny look at relationships and minutiae of British life. Chris (Oram) takes Tina (Lowe) away from her controlling mother on the holiday of a lifetime – a tour of Britain’s less salubrious tourists destinations including the Keswick Pencil Museum and the Crich Tramway Museum. While undertaking this trip it suddenly becomes clear that Chris and Tina have no problem with murdering people that they feel are spoiling their trip.
The film is very bleak proving to be a true black comedy. The laughs are extracted through the mundanity of the locations and situations counterbalanced by the extreme violence perpetrated by Chris and, to a lesser extent, Tina. These two sightseers are not your usual psychopaths that think demons are controlling them or twisted killers like Hannibal Lector; Chris is a man that lets his anger over small details such as littering lead him to acts of horrific violence and Tina just tries to play along. The humour will not be to everyone’s taste as it is either subtle or derived from gut wrenching gore.
Sightseers is a black comedy of the deepest black. The protagonists are not sympathetic and perfectly nice people are butchered for little or no reason. It will be interesting to see how many cinemas pick up Sightseers for distribution. A comedy that is both subtle and outrageous. Not for the squeamish.
Watch the trailer for Sightseers here: