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Indie Movie Review – Death Trip

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Death Trip is not a good film. It’s disjointed, overlong, and unengaging. There are a range of mistakes ranging from the small (the four of them draw straws to see who’ll have to sleep in the “haunted” room but, after one person has picked one, he still has four in his hand) to the whole ending…which, obviously, spoilers prevent me from saying too much, about other than it is the least believable fight sequence I have ever seen.

The start of Death Trip is a collection of gory aftermath shots, showing internal and external blood splatter scenes and an abandoned car in a copse, which has a leg hanging out of the boot. This is all shown to the accompaniment of a sobbing woman. Then there is a quick cut to a scene of a young couple, in what seems like a dark room “enjoying each other’s company”. The woman (Kelly played by Kelly Kay, who with director James Watts wrote the script) then leaves and has a traumatic walk home.

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All this is, apparently, a dream, when Kelly is woken up and the friends meet up to drive off to the cottage.

If You Go Down To The Woods Today…

So we have the four friends (the aforementioned Kelly, Tatyana – Tatyana Olal, Garrett – Garrett Johnson, and Melina – Melina Trimarchi) driving off on their little break.  They do get stuck in the snow at one point and use a “No Trespassing” sign to get going again; whether or not that is significant I never noticed, but I’m guessing it was due to the lingering look and the fact that the tire marks don’t entirely obscure the words.

Before long, they arrive at an isolated cottage owned by Garrett’s parents and where his grandfather died a few months before. Well… I say isolated, but it manages to overlook the bedroom of the next door neighbour (Megan – Zoe Slobodzian), who either can’t afford or doesn’t know how to use curtains.

This leads to Garrett going round to check on her… or is it yet another dream?

See Them Gaily Gad About…

Throughout all this is the essence of what’s wrong with Death Trip.

There are snippets and jumps around that really don’t make sense. While the pre-title sequence is almost a trope in its own right, it is the fact that there are random “future echoes” showing the friends in different stages of distress and splatter. But while the random insertion of snippets from the later stages of the film is a bit confusing at least, they aren’t as dull as the interactions between the friends. I’m not sure whether the chat within the group was supposed to make you empathize with them or be amused by them — but it did neither. It could have been cut out completely to make the whole film a bit tighter. But, then again, so could the totally pointless party sequence; that did nothing for the story or for the entertainment factor.

So, for me, Death Trip was a bit of a dud, but I think there is potential.

Nearly all of the cast and crew are making their debuts here and, while it could be beginners luck, I think that there was definitely some talent on show.

More experience with things like storyline and editing, and a bigger budget, could turn this into something that doesn’t look so much like an ‘A’ Level Film Studies project.

Movie Grade: C-

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