SXSW Film Review: Heavy Trip

A future cult classic, this Scandinavian export lacks the killer riffs

This Finnish black metal comedy has its heart in the right place (severed from the body, of course, and served on a stake), but never quite transcends its quirky humor to become the epic it sets out to be.

Life in a small village in Finland can be a bit of a drag, especially if you are in a “symphonic postapocalyptic reindeer-grinding, Christ-abusing, extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal band." Life for Turo (Johannes Holopainen), as the lead singer to his group of childhood pals is a slog. By day, he’s cleaning up shit as an orderly at a mental institution, but in his off time, he’s screaming into the microphone as the singer of a metal band, eventually dubbed Impaled Rektum. The other members of the band have their particular eccentricities – the drummer keeps dying (homage to This Is Spinal Tap?), the bassist has an encyclopedic memory concerning all things metal, and the guitarist works at the family business, a reindeer slaughterhouse, in which the boys practice their music in the basement.

When a music promoter stops by to purchase some reindeer blood for a Norwegian music festival, the boys get their chance to hit the big time, tentatively securing a place on the main stage. The whole town buzzes with the prospect, including local florist Miia (Minka Kuustonen), who serves as Turo’s love interest. After a happy accident involving a reindeer carcass getting stuck in a rendering saw giving birth to a killer riff for their first original song, the band attempts to head to Norway, even as their prospects diminish.

Heavy Trip is a sweet and quirky comedy, reminiscent of Taika Waititi’s early work (specifically Eagle vs Shark), with each character having their own idiosyncrasies that play out to general comedic effect. But the film plays out like a Wayne’s World-lite, lacking all but the nondiegetic guitar sounds that accompanied that film (at one point, a character says, “We’re on a mission from Satan.”). But with corpse-stealing, Viking ships, and an awful lot of vomiting onstage, the film knows its audience, and its odd humor will surely find a home in your favorite metalhead’s collection.

Heavy Trip

24 Beats Per Second, World Premiere
Tuesday, March 13, 10:30pm, Alamo Lamar C
Friday, March 16, 4:30pm, Alamo Ritz 1

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Austin Institution Saxon Pub Survives in SXSW Documentary
Austin Institution Saxon Pub Survives in SXSW Documentary
A glimmer of hope amid Austin development in Nothing Stays the Same: The Story of the Saxon Pub

Doug Freeman, March 8, 2019

Kathy Bates, Marc Maron, and More Confirmed for Texas Film Hall of Fame Ceremony
Kathy Bates, Marc Maron, and More Confirmed for Texas Film Hall of Fame Ceremony
We know the winners, now who'll be running the show?

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 14, 2019

More by Josh Kupecki
Master Gardener
A lesser study in collapsing masculinity from Paul Schrader

May 19, 2023

Wild Life
Biography of the millionaires saving millions of acres of mountains

April 28, 2023


SXSW Film, SXSW Film 2018, Heavy Trip, Jukka Vidgren, Juuso Laatio

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle