Directed by: David Arquette

Starring: Jamie King, Thomas Jane, Lucas Haas, Jason Mewes, Paul
Reubens, Courtney Cox, Balthazar Getty

Synopsis: A music festival’s free-loving attendees are viciously targeted by
an axe-wielding serial killer obsessed with Ronald Reagan.


I had a fantasy as I was watching The Tripper. Mind you, this isn’t
something that often happens when I’m watching a movie, particularly if
the movie doesn’t suck, but this time, my mind was wandering freely. I
imagined David Arquette sitting on his couch in his underwear, in a drug-
laced stupor with his wife Courtney Cox and a few of their random friends.
They are passing around a box of wine, some tablets of LSD, and chasing
it all with some hits of peyote for good measure. In the height of this
hallucinogenic bliss, David has an idea for a slasher movie. It involves
hippies. It involves copious amounts of drugs. It involves a psychopathic
murderer dressed like Ronald Reagan. Because who can possibly have more
disdain for hippies than a conservative Republican? Before the drugs can
wear off, David grabs a notepad and scribbles down the screenplay. In
crayon. No revisions are made.

Grabbing whatever actor friends and family owe him favors, he assigns
them a part in his brainchild and instructs them not to act. For the editing,
he chooses his 4 year old kid and gives her complete creative freedom. And
this, ladies and gentleman, is how The Tripper is born. Of course, this
fantasy didn’t start immediately. I waited until I was at least 20 minutes in,
after watching the killer (in his younger, formative years) take a chainsaw
to the neck of an environmental protestor who was standing against the
logging of a redwood forest. Several years later, the Free Love Music
Festival brings peaceniks and all of their drugs from far and wide. Among
them are our protagonists, Ivan (Lucas Hass) and his girlfriend Sam (Jamie
King). The Gipper… er… The Tripper, his dog Nancy, and his pig George W
(yes, that’s its name) are waiting.

Thomas Jane, in the role of the town Sheriff trying to scoot the hippies out
of town when it becomes clear that someone is axing them to death, wins
my greatest sympathies and the “Guy Who Most Obviously Loathes His
Presence in This Movie” award. Now, one would think that this is a pretty
cut and dry (so to speak) formula. Ronnie mows down all of the flower
children, and we can laugh at the cleverness of a clearly wasted David
Arquette for making a simple political satire. But the writing quickly loses its
way and becomes about as incoherent as Ronald Reagan’s final thoughts
probably were. The killer doesn’t have a taste for just hippie blood, but
also for the requisite rednecks they piss off along the way. One of them
cries for mercy: “But… I’m a Republican!” The Tripper is not swayed.

This is a movie that doesn’t seem to have its politics straight. Does
Arquette have contempt for the politicians or the hippies, and if the killer
isn’t going to focus solely on the hippies, what is the point of the satire? If
Arquette is attempting to deliver a straightforward message here (and it
seems like that’s exactly what he at least intended), I’m still trying to piece
it together. It’s not as if he’s the first horror movie director to attempt to
make social commentary. At that, George Romero was king. But it would
benefit Arquette (and those of us attempting to slog through his “work”)
to try to deliver his messages a bit more deftly, and also to not mire the
down the plot in stupidity of the non-entertaining kind.

Overall: 5/10
Genres: Horror

Rated: R

Country: USA

Year: 2006

Runtime: 93 minutes

Studio: Coquette


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Review done by:  Dark Allie
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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