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The Tripper
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The Tripper (2006)

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Plot Summary:
"A Ronald Reagan-obsessed serial killer targets a bunch of hippies who are heading to a weekend-long concert."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 24 July 2009 My Rating: out of 5


Modern hippies (Lukas Haas, Jaime King, Marsha Thomason, and Jason Mewes) attending a concert are targeted by a nutjob in a Ronald Reagan costume, who has a deep-rooted hatred of hippies. Thomas Jane is the supposedly heroic police chief on the case, Paul Reubens is the sleazy concert promoter.

A vanity project for director/co-writer/co-star David Arquette with a little help from his friends, this horror-comedy certainly has the goofy, laidback (if not stoned) persona/stamp of its creator all over it. And itís also likely the only horror/comedy with a killer Ronald Reagan, directed by a one-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion (sorry to remind you, my fellow wrestling fans. Thank God I was AWOL around that time in Wrestling history!) youíll ever see.

It also features one of the better obscured severed head scenes Iíve witnessed, usually Iím not a fan of hiding the gore, but done in the dark here, it looked somewhat cool. The gore is far more convincing than in many bigger-budgeted films, with a nice massacre scene to rival the one in ďFreddy vs. JasonĒ. Best of all, the cinematographer is the only one here totally on his A-game, itís a really well-shot film.

Those are its strengths. Itís flaws are numerous, but the lazy screenplay is the chief one. Why are there hippies in a film set in modern times? Why are they such underdeveloped, uninteresting clichťs spouting horrible dialogue? And just what is your political point here, Mr. Arquette? You seem to be sitting on the fence, giving the crazy old Reagan-esque killer a sympathetic back-story, yet having the hippies as our chief protagonists.

The idea of a Reagan mask-wearing killer is a fun one (though this dude looks more like James Brolin, IMHO), with the impersonation/one-liners being quite amusing (if unconvincing), but by then, itís too late.

Not without interest, but Iíd have sent the script back for a re-write to correct its flaws. Dopey in every (negative) sense of the word.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 04 April 2008 My Rating: out of 5

This David Arquette directed (he also wrote the screenplay, produced and co-stars here) horror comedy has finally been released in the UK and itís a surprisingly enjoyable slasher romp.

The film follows a group of hippies on their way to an outdoor music festival who find themselves being stalked by a Ronald Reagan obsessed psycho with an axe to grind.

Despite itís opening quote from Reagan himself and a montage of real-life footage of dead bodies, devastation and destruction caused by war, the film manages to get itís point across without force feeding audiences with the political views of itís writer/director.

Benefiting greatly from a very talented, recognised and respected cast The Tripper is obviously a labour of love for Arquette and co. as the film really is a polished piece. The characters are fun and the actors obviously had fun with the material, itís technically competent and then some and the excessive gore is a welcome addition too. I also really liked the locations, score and the cinematography.

The Tripper was quite different to the majority of the horror movies Iíve seen lately and for that very reason alone was a very welcome watch in todayís over saturated remake climate. It may play on 70s and 80s horror formulae but it does so refreshingly.

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