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Like The Trip, but with puppy impalement instead of impersonations.

Ben Wheatley (UK, Vanguard)

Tuesday, September 11, 9 p.m.
Ryerson Theatre (43 Gerrard Street East)

Thursday, September 13, 12 p.m.
Ryerson Theatre (43 Gerrard Street East)

Thursday, September 16, 7 p.m.
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

Sightseers is a lot like Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip. Both films feature uproarious scenes of intimate, semi-improvised, pedantic banter set against a picturesque backdrop of British countryside. But where The Trip was highlighted by a string of brilliant impersonations, Sightseers serves up a puppy being brutally impaled, along with several savage, unprovoked bludgeonings, and at least two instances of vehicular homicide.

And yet, yes, it’s still very much a comedy—albeit one from the twisted imagination of Ben Wheatley, whose merciless Kill List was a revelation in last year’s Midnight Madness program. If Sightseers perhaps isn’t in Kill List‘s league, it’s nonetheless a weird and wonderful dark comedy gem, driven by performances from co-writers Steve Oram and Alice Lowe that are at once unassumingly naturalistic and deeply deranged.