2012 Running time: 88 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4

Synopsis

In a serial killing yarn that puts the gore into Gore-Tex, Kill List director Ben Wheatley returns with another black comedy, this time resetting Natural Born Killers in England's tourist hot spots. Our guides are psychotic young couple Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram), who leave a trail of victims stretching all the way from Castleton's Blue John Cavern to Keswick's Pencil Museum. This darkly humorous journey into the mind of the anorak will ensure you never, ever carelessly discard an ice cream wrapper at Crich Tramway Museum.

Director

  • Ben Wheatley

Cast

  • Steve Oram

  • Alice Lowe

  • Seamus O'Neill

  • Jonathan Aris

  • Lucy Russell

Review

"I just want to be feared and respected. It's not too much to ask from life, is it," asks - not especially unreasonably - woolly-pullied amateur historian and mundane Brummie daytripper Chris (Oram).

Except that there's nothing reasonable about wanting to be feared...and Chris - during a low-key tour of northern England's less visited tourists spots - uncompromisingly displays why he shouldn't just inspire concern but be avoided like the plague.

He's a rage-fuelled serial killer whose bloodlust can be triggered by the unthinking disposal of an ice-cream wrapper (the head of the unrepentant offender ends up crushed beneath the wheels of Chris's Abbey Oxford caravan).

During a tour which takes in Crich Tramway Museum, Mother Shipton's Cave and Fountains Abbey, Chris's cagoule-clad despatch of those who incur his wrath - published authors, National Trust busybodies - act as an aphrodisiac on his girlfriend Tina (Lowe), who is tempted to have a bash herself when she pushes a potential love rival and hen party slapper over a cliff.

Their's seems to be a marriage made in hell...but all is not well and dark thoughts begin circling when Chris gets a little too pally with eco-travelling dopehead Martin (Glover) the inventor of the pedal-powered cara-pod.

Director Ben Wheatley's previous outings - Down Terrace and Kill List - have seen him performing writing duties but this malevolent mash-up of Nuts in May and Natural Born Killers was scripted by the two leads themselves.

It's a wickedly funny comedy-horror, subverting the rose-tinted view of traditional rainy British bank holidays with a dark vision of resentment festering in the mind of the apparently mild-mannered geek.

Oram and Lowe plundered biographies of the likes of Dennis Nilsen, drew on Badlands and Breathless and then married their grim findings with childhood memories of British holidays to concoct - as they put it themselves - "good, sick fun."

Luckily, it is good. And it is sick. But most of all it's fun.

Tim Evans

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