Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Described by many as Tom Wirkola’s Norwegian answer to Quentin Tarantino, Fantastic Fest selection The Trip is mostly a bonkers good time. It took me a tad too long to get on this film’s wavelength, but when I did, I was sucked in by the energy and jet-black humor. I’ve only seen one other Wirkola film (2013’s insanely underrated fantasy horror, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), so I wasn’t fully prepared for what was in store. Actors Noomi Rapace and Aksel Hennie do a terrific job playing an on-the-rocks couple forced to team up in an impossible situation.

Awww Lisa (Rapace) and Lars (Hennie) are on the literal last legs of their relationship. Heading off to Lars’s dad’s cabin, each has a hidden agenda that quickly comes to light: they want to murder one another! Lars, angry about Lisa being unfaithful with Diego from her acting class, is desperate for the money he’ll obtain from her life insurance policy; Lisa views Lars as a gambling-addicted loser who put them deep into debt. Despite plans to “chop [Lisa] up into little pieces” and to kill Lars via a tragic hunting accident, the couple is forced to put their plans on hold. Three delinquents who have “liberated themselves from state supervision” have taken shelter in the secluded cabin, and desperately need money from Lars and Lisa to make a speedy escape. With threats of anal rape and torment, Lisa promises the trio her own personal stash of savings in exchange for their safety. Naturally, nothing goes as planned, causing an eruption of bonkers energy that supercharges the film’s third act.

The Trip is one seriously wild ride, as flashbacks derail the central narrative only to swing back around and make sense of what is occurring in the present. It’s a smart trick that the script utilizes several times over. It remains effective all the way till the very last occurrence. It constantly adds another layer just when you think you know the exact direction the film is headed. The over-the-top super gory violence works wonders on the fun element; it is certainly a rare and special feat for a movie to hit its stride in the middle, but that’s exactly what happens here.

In addition to the violence, the humor is clever and had me laughing out loud at certain points. While the fart humor/shit joke was off-putting, The Trip has a quick recovery. How can one not giggle at characters meeting that includes the line, “you shot my anus?” I loved that Lars and Lisa are forced to reconnect in a way to put their differences aside, and face a greater evil than themselves. The vibe between the two never grows tiring, and at almost 2 hours long, the pace never lets up once the three home invaders burst onto the scene. The beginning may have been slightly rocky, but I’m delighted to report that The Trip sticks the landing!

The Trip screened at 2021’s Fantastic Fest.

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