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The Tripper
cast: David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Thomas Jane, Balthazar Getty, and Lukas Haas

director: David Arquette

87 minutes (18) 2007
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Imagine a mini-Woodstock at which an ex-American president goes ape and starts slashing the hippies with his big axe. There you have the plot for The Tripper, an all-American slasher movie marking the directorial debut of David Arquette; best known for being Mr Courteney Cox and as the policeman in Scream.

The Tripper is a bunkum film so filled with clichés that it will make your eyes bleed. It is low budget and lowbrow. It seems that Arquette is trying to take his Scream rep one stage further by stealing the worst bits from movies such as Friday The 13th and early Wes Craven offerings. Even the cover mimics The Shining with the emboldened font proclaiming "Heeere's Ronnie."

However, it all ends up in a gory mess. The crazy neo-con slasher, dressed as Ronald Reagan with mask to boot, serves only to remind the viewer of the classic Frankie Goes to Hollywood video for the 1984 hit Two Tribes. I half expected Chernenko to come in and save the day. Clearly Arquette's contacts have been extensively utilised in the procurement of the cast, there are appearances from his wife, of Friends fame, of course, and there is also Jay and silent Bob's Jason Mewes.

The general plotline is that a bunch of hippies are having a pseudo-festival in the woods near a small town but their peace is shattered by the aforementioned presidential doppelganger that is waging a war against drugs in a most delightfully direct fashion. Of course, the spiralling body count must not get in the way of the show and the cash conscious promoter (played by Paul Ruebens) shows scant disregard for the mounting number of dead bodies by insisting that the show must go on.

It is hard to tell if The Tripper is trying to be clever and make some sort of delayed political statement against some of Reagan's politics, clearly there are some subtle nuances in the film and the policies of Reagan and other such politicians can be brought into focus by a film like this. Perhaps 25 years ago it would have been strong political statement. Today it simply feels like an excuse to get gory. It is possible that The Tripper will receive minor acclaim in genre circles but its patchy production, crude dialogue and scrappy plot make it a take it or leave offering.

DVD bonus features include the theatrical trailer, and an 18-minute long Cast On The Tripper. You can also view the theatrical trailer here.
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