Running Time: 88 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom
For those, like myself, who spent their childhoods holidaying in the North of England, there always seemed to be something missing. I always thought it was consistent weather, out of the ordinary experiences and bikini babes but according to Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, it turns out it was just a bit of harmless serial killing.
This brilliant British black comedy stars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram as Chris and Tina, an oddball couple who escape Tina’s domineering mother and go caravaning across the North of England. What starts as an adrenalin-fueled tour of such incredible sights as the Crich Tramway and Keswick Pencil Museums snowballs into a gruesome killing spree that could end up making or breaking their holiday.
Sightseers starts pretty shakily but it more than sufficiently recovers by following a full-blown policy of escalation. The comedy gets darker and darker and the plot gets wildly out of hand as every drop of substance is wrung out of not just the serial killing Average Joes storyline but also classic Brits on holiday situations. Every time you think that Wheatley and Lowe and Oram, as writers and stars, have pushed the boundaries as far they can, they go further but always in a unique, very humorous and strangely believable way.
There’s also the impressive cinematography which is understated but also very well executed as the tour through the Lake District proves an excellent accompaniment to the action, spectrum of classic English scumbag characters and incredible on-the-ball dialogue. As was seen with Skyfall recently, there’s something unique about the pairing of the British countryside with drab weather that can be so atmospherically and aesthetically pleasing and which you just don’t get in the usual locations that are bathed in that fiery ball some call the sun.
Get past the opening sequence, let Sightseers immerse you and you will laugh.
It's Got: Very funny dialogue, originality, lovely cinematography
It Needs: A little open-mindedness and patience to get into the good stuff
You can’t get any darker than this excellent British black comedy that immerses you in a holiday that’s much more interesting than yours.