Ben Wheatley exploded onto the scene last year with his amazing Kill List, and he’s back to put his dark spin on, Sightseers, a comedic tale of murderous lovers on vacation through the English countryside.Sightseers follows couple Chris and Tina while on holiday. Chris is taking a sabbatical from work while Tina is looking to escape from her overbearing mother that she lives with. Their vacation quickly turns sour when a fellow bus passenger litters and refuses to pick it up. Chris fixes this by “accidentally” killing him with his car. Chris’s victim tally rises and as Tina picks up on his secret lifestyles, she doesn’t object to it, but instead joins in. This is when the true fun begins as Tina becomes a true pro and both of their jealous sides start to come through.
Chris (Steve Oram) comes off as a likeable fellow, and there’s something so charmingly innocent about Tina (Alice Lowe) as a 34 year old homebody living with her mother. Oram and Lowe also co-wrote the film with Amy Jump, and played the roles perfectly, making the couple all the more relatable. Yea, they’re psychotic murderers, but they’re also British and who could ever not trust a Brit? These are just lonely people looking for love, and aren’t we all just looking for that homicidal special someone in our lives? Chris is the one who starts all of the murders, but Tina picks it up in no time and I’d argue that she’s even more unsettling than her partner. Tina was so sheltered before going out with Chris, that once Chris starts his killing spree, Tina acts like it’s a completely normal way of solving one’s problems. She pulls them off so easily and matter-of-factly with such disregard for human life.
Going into Sightseers, I didn’t know much about it, but I thought it was going to be a lot like last year’s God Bless America. And while it features the same central premise, Sightseers took the much darker path and in doing so made the film a lot more memorable. That’s not to say Sightseers isn’t funny because there are numerous laugh out loud moments within. Tina supplies most of the humor with her self-crocheted lingerie and her helpless accusations of another man forcing her to wear poo lipstick. The locations and look of the film were also impressive. Each trip through a different part of the English countryside looked so beautiful, yet there was an air of sinister shrouding each of the sites.
Ben Wheatley has himself yet another hit on his hands. With his impressive and diverse resume, Wheatley can no longer be labeled as “up and coming” and now demands every fan’s attention. His dark tone he effortlessly layers over any type of film is right up my alley and I cannot wait for his next entry in the genre. Sightseers runs the full gamut from horrifying to hilarious to heartfelt and even though it starts to peter out toward the end, the finale makes for a perfect finish. If you’re a fan of dark comedies, Sightseers is a must watch.
Sightseers is available in limited theaters May 10, and available through VOD starting May 13.