Sightseers is a 2012 British dark comedy horror thriller film directed by Ben Wheatley (Kill List; High-Rise) and is written by and stars Alice Lowe (Prevenge; The Ghoul; Kill List; Hot Fuzz) and Steve Oram (A Dark Song; The Canal; The World’s End), with additional material from Amy Jump. It was co-produced by director Edgar Wright (The World’s End; Shaun of the Dead).
The film was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and it was nominated – along with Berberian Sound Studio and Skyfall – as ‘Film of the Year 2012’ by the London Evening Standard.
Chris (Steve Oram) wants to show Tina (Alice Lowe) his world and he wants to do it his way – on a journey through this sceptred Isle in his beloved caravan. Tina’s led a sheltered life and there are things that Chris needs her to see – the Crich Tramway Museum, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Keswick Pencil Museum and the rolling countryside that separates these wonders in his life.
However, it doesn’t take long for their rural idyll to fade. Litterbugs, noisy teenagers and pre-booked caravan sites, not to mention Tina’s meddling mother, soon conspire to shatter Chris’s dreams and send him, and anyone who rubs him up the wrong way, over a very jagged edge…
There’s nothing in Sightseers to match the extremely discomforting and hysterically funny meltdown suffered by Keith in Nuts in May (1976), perhaps the film’s most obvious influence. That said, it’s a highly enjoyable, offbeat romp where wry intelligence consistently underpins the outrageous silliness – even where the tearful Tina writes a heartfelt note using a four-foot novelty pencil!
Ade Furniss, MOVIES and MANIA
“A weak justification is given for each killing: dropped litter, noise in a restaurant etc. It thinks it’s making some sort of socio-political point but in truth the unlikeable killers are as naffly middle class as their victims. The humour is laboured and forced, the characters all distinctly one-note and much of the dialogue just non-sequiturs. Like a weak comedian playing to a group of drunken friends, this is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is but some people will find it hilarious.” MJ Simpson, 21st Century British Horror Films, Volume 2: White Settlers and Women in Black, 2021
“Ben Wheatley just keeps making great movies. Furthermore, they keep getting better. Continuing in the naturalistic direction of his first two films while softening the sharper edges, Sightseers is Wheatley’s prettiest, funniest, and most mature film yet.” Sound on Sight
“At first Father Ted cute, but then League of Gentlemen cruel – a combination that Wheatley never let’s curdle – this is a dark little delight.” Total Film
“The comedy in the movie is great, and not just revolved around killing, whether it’s Tina’s self-made knitted underwear which includes open crotch knickers, or just their blatant disregard of normal behavior. Sightseers is wrong on so many levels, and that is what makes it so good.” Views From the Edge
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