Movie Review: TRIPPERCoquette Productions

“But I’m a Republican!”

A bunch of neo-hippies gather together in the middle of a Redwood forest for a weekend of music, drug and sex-fueled debauchery. There to harsh on the fest attendee’s mellow are local rednecks, disgruntled loggers, an unscrupulous promoter…and a homicidal maniac dressed as former President Ronald Reagan…

In this volatile political climate nowadays, it’s like everyone who has any kind of ties to the entertainment industry considers themselves a political expert, using their “art” as a mouthpiece to voice their opinions on the government and such. There’s a difference between political and social satire and thinly veiled soapbox propaganda. The Tripper falls somewhere between the two. At its heart, the movie is a deliciously raucous slasher flick brimming with dark humor. As writer, director, co-producer and actor, David Arquette has gleeful fun with the material, as any horror geek should. A psychotic maniac mowing down hippies and rednecks dressed up like Ronald Regan — brilliant. Loved it to death (no pun intended). That in and of itself would have prompted me to check this out, no matter who was doing this. The actors chosen for the rolls brought some serious meat to the movie, and not in the “kill fodder” sense. Not a bad apple in the bunch, and everyone seemed to have real fun with the rolls they were given. Jason Mewes plays essentially himself, and that’s a good thing. Jamie King was great as the girl trying to escape her past and trying to stay sober in the middle of the drugs and craziness. Thomas “The Punisher” Jane was a great choice as the local Sheriff, as was Paul “Don’t Call Me Pee-Wee” Reubens as the show promoter.

I should point out that the majority of the movie was shot on location in the redwood forest, during an actual festival held there, which resulted in some really beautiful scenery. And the contrast between this and the brutality of the kills is very effective. And kudos on taking the time to build up the characters to make ’em more than just redshirts.

As far as the political soapboxing — well, it’s there, but there’s little of it, and taken care of at the beginning. That’s what I was worried about, having to sit through a bunch of Bush hating bandwagon crap. But no, outside of the “Bush is the worst President!” whining at first, followed by a shot of rednecks gushing about how great Bush is, the political sentiments are more tongue-in-cheek. Really, the only character I found annoying (besides the hippies; you can bet I was cheering their demise on with gleeful abandon) was the ex-boyfriend of Jamie King’s character –basically stuck in 80s Wall Street mode, with a license plate that read REDS8TS and toting a pistol because he loved Charlton Heston. And he was abusive. Imagine that.

I guess someone can look at The Tripper as a blatant slap against Republicans. I, however, found this a refreshing take on the slasher horror genre amidst movies full of cannibalistic mutated hillbillies. If you find yourself taking this too seriously…well, the word “therapy” springs to mind. Otherwise, great slasher horror that goes beyond the sum of its parts. Recommended…