Kill List in a Caravan
Kill List creator Ben Wheatley returns with this inhumanely immoral, but insanely funny, provincial black comedy in the countryside.
Prepare to join a modern-day Mickey and Mallory Knox in Wheatley’s satirical Natural Born Killers-esque serial killing spree, as Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) embark on a rollickin’ ride through the rolling hills of
pushing people off cliffs and stealing their dog.
Aspiring writer Chris takes his new girlfriend Tina on their dream caravan holiday to Little England to show her the wonders of his world. But one fatal ‘accident’ at the
changes not just Tina’s holiday itinerary, but her life forever. Having led a
sheltered life with her overtly meddling mum Carol (Eileen Davies), a
vulnerable Tina is soon vacuumed into the wicked side of Chris’ world- beyond
the normal-seeming boyfriend and his touristy trips to Crich
Tramway Museum and Ribblehead
Viaduct. Keswick Pencil
Caravan parks are certainly not a holiday haven where the new couple are pitched, and their daily antics certainly don’t conclude with a family game of Cluedo (not the board version anyway.) Little do fellow holiday-goers and hill hikers know that they’re walking down the valley of the shadow of death with the sinister duo at the hands of their demise. Tina and Chris’ romance abnormally blossoms, deluded about the immorality and depravity of their murderous hobby, and developing it as a mutual common interest to interact and understand one another. “They are not people Tina, they’re Daily Mail readers”, Chris justifies as he repeatedly smashes the face of an interfering walker on the ragged rocks. It sounds funny off the page, and its delivery clinches the deal….over and over again.
After starring in Kill List, Oram and Lowe return this time to lead the cast of Wheatley’s third feature, as well as take on scripting duties. Co-writing the screenplay- with Wheatley’s wife and creative partner Amy Jump as an additional writer- the trio create the perfect balance of disturbing good fun and playful, observational characterisation, which uncompromisingly walks a fine line between horror and ludicrous absurdity. In its very first few minutes we chuckle our way through our first encounter with Eileen Davies as Tina’s mother, as her wilfully dependant demeanour, grumpy stubbornness and tactless conversation with her daughter and new lover sets the sweet and simplistic tone. The mind-baffling marvels of Chris and Tina are no-doubt breakthrough roles for Lowe and Oram, and the consequential creations from the collaboration of their previous comic roles. Though their on-screen chemistry and bold hilarity is both enthralling and engaging, it inevitably enters a period of dying momentum in it’s final stages as the nature of the two protagonists’ nonchalant attitude to their sins runs its course.
Not only do we guiltlessly divulge in the skull cracking and bone crunching, we root for the eventual success of their relationship. Wheatley’s achievement lies not only in his perfect blending of horrifying fun and shocking indifference –tempting us to both laughter and tears- but also in his refreshing ability to veer a bloody direction for romantic comedies, right where NBK’s Oliver Stone left off eighteen years ago.
VERDICT: Delighting in its darkest direction and authentic moments of jet black humour, Wheatley provides a testament to the existing originality of the black comedy and a solid template that raises the bar for the subgenre’s future success. A monument to be preserved by the National Trust.