HEAVY TRIP **** Finland 2018 Dirs: Juuso Laatio/ Jukka Vidgren. 92 mins
Metal music is one of the few styles sufficiently secure in itself to let itself be made fun of. The mainstream example is Rob Reiner’s THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984). The Finnish made HEAVY TRIP or HEVI REISSU (2018) is a knock about romp on to the world of the small town music scene that doesn’t disappoint. The film is part road movie and part love story that connects well because the characters are genuinely, awkwardly human. Along the way you have a Viking attack with full swords, corpse robbing and the gore of killing reindeer, which is the chief business in the small village where the action takes place.
Turo (Johannes Holopainen) is the band’s front man. His day job is orderly in a mental institution, where he cleans up messes and gets flowers for inmates. He sports the metal look of long past the shoulders hair and drives a beat up pedal bike to and from work instead of a motor cycle. He gets harassed by the short hair home boys for his looks and (predictably) gets questioned about his sexuality. Turo pours his pain into a mic with his band that have been practicing for 12 years in the bottom of a reindeer abattoir.
The wild drummer Jynkky (Antti Heikkinen) is willing to try anything. He stuns the band by suggesting it’s time to play in front of an audience. The band gets called for dinner (reindeer meat). At the table bassist Pasic (Max Ovaska) says no gigs until they have a song of their own. Every time the guitarist Lotvonen (Samuli Jaski) proposes a riff, Pasi who remembers every song he has ever heard, tells him who played it, the year, the band and the album in a deadpan voice.
Inspiration is found when Lotvonen the guitarist is working in his father’s reindeer abattoir when a carcass gets caught in the grinding machine emitting a shriek and a chucking motion. Lotvonen phones the band members saying he has found the riff. The band is recording a song when they are interrupted by a Norwegian concert promoter (Rune Temte) in a black cowboy hat who has turned up looking for reindeer blood for the Norway Inferno Metal Festival. Accidents happen, blood is spilled and the demo is sent with the promoter.
The rumor begins that the band has a gig at the festival. A name is needed so various are put forth; and that name is finally settled on as being Impaled Rektum. They need a photograph, yet have no equipment, so they get their picture both standing by and speeding by the town’s traffic camera. Then they are off to the police to get the image.
Death, love, grave robbing and, swords fights with a Viking group and dodging weapons fired by the Swedish military that believe they are a group of terrorists are all part of the saga of Impaled Rektum. This romp leads to a vomit filled conclusion in front of a huge audience.
Turo finds love and courage from pretty florist Miia (Minka Kuustonen), whose father is the town’s sheriff. A sheriff and parent who hates all things metallic. Along the way they also meet a nasty local crooner named Jouni, who despises everything about their lifestyle.
The people of this film make you enjoy the story. We have seen the story before of local band makes good. The picture is filled with fine little moments, such as when Pasi the bassist is asked what kind of music they play he says “Symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal.” At one point he changes his name to Xytrax and emerges in KISS inspired makeup because that’s what ‘all the greats do.’
HEAVY TRIP (2018) has some dark moments. When Impaled Rektum are on their way to the border for the festival, also on the road is a van with four men heading to a harem themed bachelor party. The van is mistaken for the van of supposed terrorists. The Middle Eastern garbed men are stopped, pulled out and beaten in slow motion as the bands cruise by.
HEAVY TRIP (2018) is photographed and edited at a good pace. The gore is mostly from abattoirs, vomiting and animal parts in jars that are sold. Fun characters, lovely scenery and production values with a low key delivery of lines and physical presence that prove the point that comedy is best when played straight. Well worth a look. Metal heads will find it fun catching the references and characters they may have met. This is a cult film, but also a good film.
Review by Terry Sherwood
HEAVY TRIP is available now on ARROW: www.arrow-player.com