Everybody has a Summer holiday. Doin' things they always wanted to...
When Chris (Steve Oram) takes his new girlfriend Tina (Alice Lowe) on a caravanning holiday, what was initially planned as an 'erotic odyssey' through Yorkshire soon turns into a murderous rampage.
Part Nuts in May, part Badlands, director Ben Wheatley's third film after Down Terrace and Kill List is an absolute triumph. Written by its two leads, this black comedy has the confidence to mix sharp humour ('He's not a person, Tina. He's a Daily Mail reader') with daft sight gags (Tina trying to write a heartfelt letter to Chris with a gigantic novelty pencil) and somehow balances the two aspects perfectly. Add to that some lashings of brutal violence and what's not to love?
Picture: Visually Sightseers is very much akin to Ben Wheatley's previous films. As such, it regularly opts for a more naturalistic look borne out of the film's digital photography.
On the downside this sometimes makes the AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode appear rather drab, thanks to some pallid skintones and washed-out black levels. But it also ensures that there's plenty of detail in the photography that gives the image a real sense of depth. And taken together it often results in some truly striking visuals, such as the sight of Chris stalking a victim through the dawn mist in Chapter 4.
Audio rating: 4/5
Audio: The disc offers a choice of a DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack and an LPCM 2.0 downmix, and while the multichannel mix represents the film's original sound design, no one will be shocked to hear that Sightseers isn't going to push your speaker setup particularly hard.
Most of the mix is focused on the front of the soundstage and the quality is very good. Dialogue sounds natural and there's a heft to the thuds of stone and wood on skin and bone during the murder scenes.
While rear activity is primarily limited to subtle atmospherics, the mix does open up on occasion to give some scenes a more dynamic feel. Examples include the cars racing to get the last camping spot in Dingley Dell in Chapter 3 and the wind and hail battering the caravan during Chapter 10's storm.
Audio rating: 3/5
Extras: StudioCanal's Blu-ray presents holiday-makers with a modest but informative selection of extra features that do a thorough job of exploring the film's background and production.
Ben Wheatley joins actors Alice Lowe, Steve Oram and Richard Glover for the first of two audio commentaries included on the disc. For those of you who find this track a bit too jokey and flippant, Wheatley also sits down with director of photography Laurie Rose for a more technical chat-track.
The Blu-ray also includes an amusing 36-minute behind-the-scenes featurette (worth watching just to see the typically dreary British weather the cast and crew had to deal with while shooting in the middle of nowhere), 12 minutes of outtakes and a pair of theatrical trailers.
Extras rating: 3/5
We say: This attractive package should help Ben Wheatley's black comedy make a killing on Blu-ray
StudioCanal, Region B BD, £23 Approx, On sale now
HCC VERDICT: 4/5
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