The Trip (2021)

This is one of the craziest movies I’ve seen. It is constantly twisting and turning. It zigs and zags every minute. It’s darkly funny, and shockingly frightening. It’s streaming on Netflix if you have a strong stomach.

The movies opens with Aksel Hennie, playing Lars. He’s a Norwegian TV director. He appears to be a disinterested hack on set. He only fully engages when telling everyone who will listen that he’s going to the cabin this weekend, and his wife wants to go hiking in the mountains all by herself despite how dangerous it is. It slowly becomes clear that Lars is planning something nefarious for his wife during this weekend getaway to the cabin. It also becomes clear how abused and put upon Lars is by everyone in his life.

Once at the cabin, Lars and his wife Lisa, played by the ever excellent Noomi Rapace, bicker and argue and fight. She picks at him like a scab. He lashes out against her like a kicked dog. This relationship is clearly beyond saving. Lars takes the hammer he just bought and approached Lisa from behind. As he raises the hammer to kill her, she turns and zaps him with a taser.

This is just the first of many twists. We flash back to see Lisa’s plans and preparations. She was planning on murdering Lars this weekend too. As they compare plans, they each point out the flaws and the strengths, and it becomes clear that they each have complimentary strengths and weaknesses. If this couple could work together instead of try to kill each other they might have a chance. As we’re realizing this, a new element is introduced that twists the plot on its head. After another five minutes another new element is introduced that flips that. A minute later there’s another new twist. A couple minutes later there is another new twist.

This movie twists so often it becomes dizzying, but it always feels organic and earned. The twists never feels cheap. They are either well set up beforehand, or a flashback is introduced that explains and sets up everything. It’s a really fun and entertaining ride… until it isn’t.

The first half of this movie is one of the funniest and craziest dark comedies I’ve seen. At about the halfway point, this movie takes a turn that makes everything serious and introduces a very scary new component to the film. This becomes one of the most intense scenes I’ve seen. It is horrifying and unsettling how long it goes on and the implications it has. It is funny until it isn’t. Then it’s very unfunny. Then it peppers some well deserved jokes and laughs here and there to break the tension.

This movie was a fascinating and very enjoyable experience to have with no expectations. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was delighted throughout. I think that’s a great way to experience this movie. I will throw some caveats out. It is extremely violent and bloody. There is murder and beatings and torture. There is blood and guts galore. There is comic horror violence, like someone getting stabbed in the foot. There is terrifying horror violence like when someone ends up in a lawn mower blade. This one is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart.

The twists and turns could turn some people off. It’s hard to follow the movie if you don’t know what to expect. It is really forging its own path sliding between horror and comedy. That balance isn’t always an easy one for some audience members. It worked for me all the way through, but I understand it might not work for you.

All in all, this movie was a very fun ride. I really enjoyed it. It was my cup of tea. A

Spoilers

So after Lars tries to murder Lisa. She tases him and ties him up. They argue. As she’s about to kill him, Hans, Lars’ accomplice shows up. He hits Lisa with a shovel, knocking her out. They ties up Lisa, and the tables have turned. Lars has promised to split Lisa’s life insurance with Hans. Once Lisa wakes up, she tells Hans that Lars is holding out on him. The life insurance is worth three times as much as Lars has promised. Hans then turns the gun on Lars. Lars and Hans fight. This results in Lars getting his hand shot off. The tables have turned yet again. Lisa escapes and the whole situation is screwed.

As the three descend into chaos, Hans ends up dead. Lisa and Lars end up fighting over a shot gun. The gun blasts a hole in the ceiling, from which a cry of pain echoes out. Lars and Lisa stare in disbelief as the ceiling caves in and three strangers fall on top of them.

What????????

Backing up, these three are escaped criminals who are hiding out in their attic. There is an extended poop joke here that really didn’t work for me. It’s a real low point in the film. Totally unworthy of such a clever script. But I digress.

These three criminals take Lars and Lisa hostage. They tie them up in the basement and demand money in exchange for their freedom. When the money isn’t enough, the three threaten the couple with sexual violence. This is where the movie shifts into horror territory. Up until now, these three are just dopey criminals. As soon as sexual violence enters the picture, the movie becomes very scary indeed. Lisa is terrified of what they will do to her. However, knowing this movie, another reversal isn’t far. A twist is coming. They don’t want Lisa. They want Lars. They hold him down and prepare to do horrible things to him. They make him beg. They shame him. They decide to rape him anyway.

Lisa stops them by promising them more money. They tie them up and leave them alone. At this point Lars and Lisa come to terms with their own failures and mistakes. They also face up to the way they’ve let their marriage disintegrate over the years.

At this point, Lars is ready to fight for himself and his wife. He hatches a plan and takes down one of the three criminals. A wild series of fighting and back and forth ensues. It’s an insanely bloody game of cat and mouse. Many people are dispatched in bloody and horrifying ways. There are some huge laughs and some major scares. In the end, the villains are dispatched and the couple reconnect. They fight for one another and put each others needs first and relearn how to care for each other. It’s such a weird story of a couple coming back together, but it worked for me.

I don’t have time or space to describe every twist and turn, but the movie is full of them. It is so much fun to watch a movie that can genuinely surprise you. It was a great pleasure to be laughing, shocked, and horrified all at once.

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