Jarv’s Schlock Vault: The Tripper
Ever heard of the trickle-down effect?
Jarv’s Rating: 2 Changs out of 4. Nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, but compared to some of the slashers that I’ve seen recently it is at least passable.
This is a bloody strange piece of schlock. Seriously, it’s like a group of B-list types gathered together, got completely off their tits, and then decided to make the dumbest slasher movie that they could. Seriously, the cast to this is, well, brilliant for this type of film: Thomas Jane, David Arquette, Courtney Cox, Jason Mewes, Richard Gross, Luke Haas, Paz de la Huerta, Balthazar Getty and so forth. I mean, really, what the fuck? What are all these people doing in an immensely stupid film about hippies at a shitty Burning Man knock-off getting slaughtered by a lunatic in a shitty Reagan Mask? I mean, seriously, what the fuck is going on in the world?
I suppose that I should pretend to review this properly, but I’m struggling and it’s beyond simplistic. The Tripper opens with an astonishingly stupid flashback to a hippy protest that’s going to shut down the local lumber mill. A kid takes matters into his own hands and gets busy with a chainsaw. Unsurprisingly, he’s banged up. Fastforward to the present day and we’re introduced to the hippies- who include Jason Mewes and Luke Haas. They’re on a mission to ingest as much in the way of illegal narcotics at some fucking heinous music festival as they can. They have a few run-ins with “pig fucking red necks” (Arquette) and the local sherrif (Thomas Jane), there’s some nudity and whatnot, then everyone is messily murdered by a nutter in a Reagan mask. Survivor girl, Samantha (played by Jaime King) kills the nutter, or does she…
Well, no, she doesn’t as he’s still got time to polish off the music promoter.
The acting in this is completely and utterly acceptable. Every single actor puts in a decent performance, without any of them hitting real highs. With one exception: Thomas Jane is sporting the most ludicrous moustache since the 70’s. It’s a mighty handlebar effort and hogs the limelight to such an extent that if his performance was good- it’s OK- then it would be wasted because the ‘stache has a life of its own and blows everything else off the screen.
There’s the odd laugh to be had from the script- the occasional amusing line, or comical moment, but I think the problems in this film start at this level. These are hippy tossers, and obvious drug addled hippy fuckers at that. Therefore to listen to a stoner’s opinion about George W. Bush being the worst president in history (might be true, I don’t know or care) is just a boring distraction. Seriously, as if these fucking tossers are remotely politically aware. Just fuck off. Also, on that note, I’d like whoever wrote this to take the rest of the half-baked social commentary running through this film and frankly jam it up their ass. If you can’t do it properly don’t do it at all. It’s supremely aggravating, because there are severely awful mixed messages here: on one hand, there’s a clear anti-capitalist message in the behaviour of the promoter and the mayor (shades of Amity Island, actually), then on the other there’s a clear pro-capitalist message in the depiction of the hippies as retards, protest as useless and that the area has been economically deprived since the mill shut. So which is it, bastards?
Gore wise, there’s a fair amount. Ronnie does his job lopping off limbs and heads, and he’s also got a neat line in eviscerations. On that note, while I’m thinking about it, he’s not fussy about weaponry- he’ll use anything capable of stabbing, slashing or otherwise cutting bits off people. This is fair enough, but there’s nothing remotely original in it- you’ve seen all these kills before, even in shite like the Friday 13th Sequels. Still, I watch these films for the gore to some extent, so it’s not all bad.
Then there’s the nudity. There’s fucking loads of it. This is really fair enough, considering the subject matter, but it is kind of surprising when you discover that the one person who doesn’t shed her clothing in the film is Jaime King. What? If she’s going to keep her top on, then what’s the point of her in a film like this? There are millions of more suitable Survivor Girl type actresses out there. It’s daft, sort of like casting Megan Fox as Ophelia- just completely strange and pointless.
The Tripper, though, does have one trump card that most modern slasher films don’t- Arquette directed, and everyone does seem to be having a blast. It’s really played completely straight and with some real relish. So while it is unimaginative, and it isn’t a fraction as clever as it imagines itself to be, it rocks along with a reasonable sense of fun and it does rock along at a fair old lick.
Overall, compared to the absolute dearth of slasher movies out there this is a gem. The Tripper isn’t a dreadful film, and there is the odd chuckle to be had out of it, but by no means could it possibly be described as being any good. It’s an exercise in mediocrity, and the relentless, lack of imagination involved really sours what is an otherwise competent piece of schlock with a simply exceptional cast.
Until next time,