Mr. & Mrs. Lars Meets Petter
The Trip is a Norwegian dark aspect of life horror comedy about a couple’s “romantic” weekend getaway. Lars, (Aksel Hennie) a struggling film director and his wife Lisa (Noomi Rapace), a lackluster actress, are a deadly combination treading on rocky waters in the city. Still the couple decides to pack those failing careers and their financial problems into a BMW to take a trip to the family’s remote cabin in the woods.
A Battle Line Formed at the Lake
The Trip has a good plot that nicely lays out the couple’s “I hate you” backstory foundation. Within the first seven minutes of screen time, before arriving at the cabin on the lake for a romantic getaway, all key cast members have been introduced, while all the necessary cornerstone plans for future story payoffs have been laid before all the electrifying fun knocks the viewer in their face.
Lars and Lisa commuting to the cabin shows their growing criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling before the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear to answer why marriages succeed or fail.
Lisa, while gum popping and eye rolling, shows the gross contempt she has for her husband. Whereas Lars, with every dismissive sigh, shows his deadly desire to rid his life of Lisa. It does not get any better once the couple is at the cabin when Lars’ squeamish nature comes to light. Lisa greets his punkish behavior with cold stares of disgust and sarcastic tones when she helps him put the bloody steaks in the pan. During dinner their financial problems surface and how repulsive the couple finds each other’s film talent gets introduced.
During the drive up to the cabin and their first night there, any viewer who lived through or witnessed a bad marriage coming to an end will cringe and empathize with both Lars and Lisa.
The hammer falls on the couple’s plan to kill each other with a shocking slight of the hand when simple-minded Viktor (Stig Frode Henriksen), one of the four Horsemen arrives. Let the horrific- laughter of fun begin…
A Great Mix of Genres
The Trip’s director, Tommy Wirkola, does a great job bringing the screenplay by Nick Ball, John Niven, and himself to life while balancing the humor and drama as body parts fly and gallons of blood gush. It has the same hate-driven, playful feel of watching Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) with a touch of the gleeful dreams of Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger, all taking place at a cabin on a lake with three special guests.
The laughs don’t stop when the couple’s attic crap brings three other Horsemen stooges Roy (André Eriksen), Dave (Christian Rubeck), and Petter (Atle Antonsen) into the lives of Lars and Lisa. At this point as a viewer, you may ask yourself if there is something wrong with you because you can’t stop laughing at this disgusting, gory stuff.
The Diagnoses is Flee Her or Him
The story starts to really shine once Lars and Lisa are both in danger and under the control of three serial killers.
Lars and Lisa’s characters succeed through lines seesawing between solution-problem, solution-mystery, peace-conflict, safety-danger, confession-order, dilemma-decision, all taking place during the hero’s flight or fight moments. It leaves the viewers uncertain if the couple will ever form an allegiance under the motto “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” or will they “run Forest run” for self-preservation. That question is truly never answered, even at the end.
Avoid the Nightmares
A plus for any viewer is that they will be able to skip weeks of nightmares or gory visions of blood flying because The Trip will leave you laughing out loud for days. Just thinking about it brings a silly grin to this critic’s face. Don’t get it twisted, this is not due to the lack of guts, blood, sexual innuendo from both sides of the fence, racial bigotry, and gore.
The Trip even has a few of Geico’s funny horror moments like “why can’t we just get in the running car?” or “run for the cemetery!”. Jude Dry of IndieWire, said it was devilishly fun, with a whip smart script that brought out brilliant performances by its cast.
If you are an English speaking viewer, the only drawback is that Norwegian is the primary language. However, if you are a Netflix junkie who has come to accept that English voiceover has become a permanent fixture on the platform since the huge success of the Money Heist series, then you won’t be bothered.
If you work in any area of the film industry, the career backstory makes this a must watch. Its comedic take on the ups and downs of a movie industry career seen from the eyes of the worker and the people that tell us to get a real job is refreshing. The film industry falls under the third largest industry in America, employing over 16 million with seven of the top 20 fastest growing industries being in the leisure and hospitality section.
The Trip was nominated at the Norwegian International Film Festival’s Amanda Award for Make-up and a People’s Amanda. While it did not take home either, it is a huge honor for a horror movie to be nominated for make-up.
The Trip is currently streaming on Netflix.
The Trip (2021) Official Netflix Trailer