Metal fans don’t have much to choose from when it comes to flicks that much of a positive light on them. Outside of WAYNE’S WORLD and its sequel, TENACIOUS D AND THE PICK OF DESTINY, the BILL AND TED movies, DEATHGASM, and ZERO CHARISMA, metalheads are usually terrible people or the punchline of a joke. HEAVY TRIP grabs that idea by the horns and skullfucks it down a cliff, then rides its corpse to Valhalla. This treat from Finnish directors Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren is about a Black Metal band in a small town who get a chance to fail upward to a spot onstage at a major Metal festival in Norway. Turo (the singer), Lotvonen (the guitarist), Pasi (the basist), and Jynkki (the drummer) get the opportunity soon after cutting their first demo. They’ve been practicing for 12 years (!) and decided that now was the time. Lotvonen works in his family’s reindeer slaughterhouse (the band practices there), and gets the idea for a guitar riff while a reindeer’s carcass is stuck in the grinder. The band agrees that it’s an awesome sound and a few minutes later, they have a demo tape. Coincidentally, a concert promoter shows up to buy reindeer blood. As he checks out the band in the basement, Lotvonen accidentally knocks over the drum of blood he’s carrying. It spills all over the promoter. Only on the promoter. Understandably pissed, he leaves… but Jynkki gets to him in time and they trade a demo tape for a business card. Jynkki gives the card to Turo since he’s the frontman, which sends the band down a road of lies and misadventures that ends with them getting happily arrested after they play.
One of the many things I love about HEAVY TRIP is how authentic the Metalheads are (see my review of THE RANGER for talk about Punk authenticity), and how nothing feels either forced or show-offy (see Adrien Brody as a geek in SPLICE). Well, there’s a scene when Lotvonen tries coming up with new riffs while Pasi rattles off the songs he’s ripping off that seems kinda flaunty, but it fits the moment. The band’s name is another authentic stroke of genius. They spend a chunk of the movie trying to think of a name and find a very Black Metal one: Impaled Rektum. They even take a promo pic by pissing off a speed camera. And Pasi has the longest, greatest description of a genre when people ask him what kind of music they play. All the actors really singing and playing is also a thing I loved. We’re two decades after THE MATRIX set the standard of making its cast learn intense fight choreography, so it’s great that this cast learned the intensity of a Metal performance. If they didn’t know already. There are also these rising levels of absurdity that fit the movie so well. I don’t wanna ruin the fun, but the reindeer blood is most normal thing that happens. Some others are the story of a death van, messy stage fright, picking a fight in a zoo, “terrorists,” and crowdsurfing.
This is gonna be a great eventual buy from Music Box’s Doppelganger Releasing label.