The very definition of a black comedy Sightseers will have you laughing out loud the whole way through… even when it’s freaking you out. Sprung from the mind of Alice Lowe and Steve Oram (who also star as the main characters) it was developed into a feature film with the help of Kill List director Ben Wheatley, and was screened at Cannes as part of Directors’ Fortnight.
Sightseers tells the story of Tina and Chris, two 30-somethings in the first flush of their new relationship, who decide to go on a caravan holiday. All’s very hunky dory and British as the pair wander around the northern countryside under a murky grey sky until Chris ‘accidently’ kills a litterer by running over him with the caravan.
Oh well, these things happen after all, no reason to let it ruin the holiday, as Tina puts it, so off they go again. Except every time the young couple bump into someone who rubs them the wrong way they mysteriously end up dead. Finally Tina catches on and instead of running screaming to the nearest police station decides there are a few innocent people she’d like to get one over on as well!
As you can image a lot of humorous yet disturbing events transpire as Sightseers effortlessly swaps between quirky couple arguments and serial killer bloodbaths. Both Alice Lowe and Steve Oram embody the unusual couple so well that, should I ever meet them, I think I’d struggle to relax at all and would be constantly on guard for any signs of murderous intent.
Wheatley’s style of directing, which leaves the actors to improvise their lines, allows Lowe and Oram to act out the unique personalities of the characters they know so well and it really is mesmerising to watch. Despite the comedy element to Sightseers their violent actions are never trivialised, as proved by the tingle down my spine as they casually do away with their ‘annoyances’, and many of the scenes are very graphic.
As much as I loved the film, it’s a bit too British to ever be a success internationally but if you’re in the mood for a homespun film (and even if you’re not) definitely check out it out. Its twisted British humour, quirky British characters and rainy British countryside will hit the spot every time and take you on a roller-coaster of laughs, thrills, fear and sometimes even nausea. This is one low budget film that’s worth seeking out.
Sightseers will hit UK cinemas on the 30th November.