Directed by Ben Wheatley
It's a comedy as dark as a puddle of blood—the kind that might pour from the mouth of a man who's been crushed by a trailer, or that might spill out of a smashed skull, or ooze out of someone who's been dumped off a cliff and splattered. Those are just a few of the ways the heroes of director Wheatley's latest dispose of those who cross their path. The seemingly normal couple head out on a holiday, an "erotic odyssey" through the English countryside, and pretty quickly the bodycount begins: first, when a litterer at the Tramway Museum, who particularly rankled Chris (cowriter Steve Oram), ends up underneath his RV. Oh, you think, maybe it really was an accident. Or maybe these two are like the avengers of common decency. And then Chris, for no reason, bashes a man's head with a rock. Oh. The world's not crazy—they are.
They quickly become serial killers, savages of England, tearing through the country with a long trail of bodies in their wake. (It's sort of like if Bonnie and Clyde were a comedy about modern relationships: the way a disorganized woman, just trying to please her man, can aggravate a highly organized killer and upend his routines.) The two offer different rationales for their actions: like, it's green if you think about it, reducing the world's total carbon emissions; or, it's a class thing, the revenge of the serf all these generations later. "He's not a person," Chris tells Tina (cowriter Alice Lowe) about one victim. "He's a Daily Mail reader." But the movie isn't really about the environment or the proletariat: it feels more like a rebuke of nostalgia for pastoral England, for strawberry jam and all its different varieties. The casual way the two murder their problems away, and use it as foreplay, is shocking to us because today violence is never casual. But you should've been around in the old days.
Opens May 10