SXSW Film Review: Heavy Trip
A future cult classic, this Scandinavian export lacks the killer riffs
By Josh Kupecki,
1:30PM, Mon. Mar. 12, 2018
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.
24 Beats Per Second, World Premiere
Tuesday, March 13, 10:30pm, Alamo Lamar C
Friday, March 16, 4:30pm, Alamo Ritz 1