"The Tripper" is a better than expected slasher with a lot to like.
Preparing for a road trip, friends Samantha, (Jaime King) Ivan, (Lukas Haas) Jack, (Stephen Heath) Joey, (Jason Mewes) Jade, (Paz de la Huerta) and Linda, (Marsha Thompson) head to the California Redwoods for a special peace ceremony. When the local Sheriff Buzz Hall, (Thomas Jane) warns them about going off into the woods, they laugh it off and proceed to take in the wonders of the concert, imbibing in the usual amount of drugs and free-spirit-nudity that they can stand. As the night goes on, they get even more tripped out on drugs but are soon stalked by a relentless killer. Realizing that the killer is the prodigal son of a local woodsman who went insane years ago after watching a group of people in a similar fashion, they try to get away from the site before they end up being killed.
The Good News: This here was one of the more impressive slashers of the newer era. One of the best is that it does well as what it came across as, a drug trip. Since most of the characters in the film were on one substance or another for the bulk of the film, it gives plenty of times to go buck wild with the visuals and this one really runs with it. The flick's imagery, kinetic editing and distinctive cinematography, laced in one important scene where the entire sequence is seen through the eyes of an acid trip, were just that tweaked up. There's also the novel idea, which really scores big points for making the final girl inadvertently take acid during the climactic chase scene, as surely the only worse thing than being chased by a homicidal maniac with an ax is doing whilst you're completely tripping off. Witnessing a typical slasher unravel within such an LSD inspired setting helped in making these familiar grounds feel somewhat novel. This is really impressive, making something that is not a universal experience yet making it feel like something that can happen well-done. This is one of the few times that managed to capture what its like to be on drugs successfully. The fact that the killer comes along with creepy Reagan voice and mannerisms and a no bull approach as to doing the human laundry upped the enjoyment factor as well. Despite having a few moments where he mouths off some admittedly fine one-liners, the fact that most of the time is spent on the killer instead around the party with an ax and a will to kill, making for fun times. There's a lot of great kills in here, mainly through the use of an ax. They do get chopped up nicely, including plenty of disembowelments, dismemberments, being hacked up, decapitations and much more, giving this one a really obscene body-count total, passing the two-dozen mark that only a few have reached. The film also scores points for a virtuoso set piece where 'Reagan' crashes a hippie party, and proceeds to tear through the group with extreme vengeance, giving it plenty of gore and action to behold. That continues throughout the film, which has plenty of great, gory kills mixed with a lot of action. There's numerous stalking scenes in here, a spectacular final chase and a couple of fights to keep the action going. These here make the film incredibly interesting.
The Bad News: This here didn't have a whole lot of flaws but they were there. One of the bigger flaws is that the flick did put out a handful of political statements, for better or worse. There's just way too much poking around with politics and politics in general, which after a while eventually gets old. Even worse is that there's plenty towards a topic which not a whole lot will really care for, as the continuous use of the topic won't appeal to all out there. The only other flaw is that the flick had some considerable pacing issues, especially during its middle block. It features people doing drugs and humping like rabbits, more often than not at the expense moving the film forward. There was a definite feeling of less tripping out for more slashing, as the Reagan butchering hippies sequences kept getting pushed aside when they should've been brought to the forefront. As well, most of the subplots at hand didn't do much, as the ex-boyfriend and hillbilly encounters were just part of them. These here lower the film somewhat.
The Final Verdict: With just a few flaws and some wonderful parts to it, there's plenty in here to enjoy. Recommended for more modern-leaning slasher fans, big fans of the life-styles showcased or of the technical crew, while those who aren't that comfortable with the political issues should seek caution.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language, Full Male and Female Nudity, extreme drug use and several sex scenes
5 out of 6 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.