While “Heavy Trip” may not be what we call horror in the conventional sense, Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s dark comedy musical has a lot of the DNA of a horror movie, right down to satanic worship, blood baths, and plenty of vomit. It’s not often you get to see an underdog tale of a band struggling to make it set to the tune of death metal, but Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio tap in to a distinct crowd that’s gone woefully overlooked. “Heavy Trip” will definitely stand out in the memory of their audience who are in the mood for something wholly unconventional but surprisingly crowd pleasing.
Set in a small village in Finland, Turo is the front man for a death metal band that is consistently ridiculed and dismissed by locals and their own family. Despite being pushed around, Turo is trying to find his own signature sound for his group. By chance, band mate Lotvonen comes across a promoter for a popular Norwegian Death Metal music festival, and after handing him their demo, they seek to hone their skills. But when their potential gig falls in doubt, Turo has to figure out how to keep the secret while figuring out how to get to Norway with fellow band mates Jynkky, Lotvonen and Pasi.
“Heavy Trip” is very much an underdog coming of age tale where the foursome struggles to build themselves up as a band, all the while enduring a ton of obstacles. This includes a jealous lounge singer competing for a girl Turo is in love with, and a town that is putting enormous pressure on the group to become a success. Directors Jukka Vidgren and Juuso Laatio create a bonafide crowd pleaser, one that challenges the conventions of the sub-genre with some scenes that aim to satiate the Death Metal fans. The film definitely conjures the soul of the music within its seams, picturing the genre as potentially universal and appealing to just about everyone looking for a voice. There’s a great scene where Pasi is challenging his guitarist to grab a new riff on his guitar as he recites the names of various metal bands with shocking skill.
There’s also Turo’s confrontation with a violent mental patient that is thwarted thanks to an unlikely element. The performances by the ensemble cast are fantastic, especially Johannes Holopainen who is empathetic as the aspiring musician struggling with his destiny. As well Max Ovaska is hilarious as the group’s straight faced founder who is militant about finding a new sound. The writers also build a slew of engaging characters that are easily relatable and their journey is immensely funny and surreal. “Heavy Trip” will keep fans talking for days sparking a slew of memorable scenes and quotes, from a great gag involving deer blood, to the hysterical finale involving LARPers. I also sense many viewers will be reciting the film’s best line (“Symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal”) for days.
“Heavy Trip” is a genuinely entertaining, heartfelt, laugh out loud film for just about everyone, from the death metal enthusiasts, aspiring musicians, dreamers, weirdos, outcasts, and yes, even horror fans.
In select theaters beginning October 5 including NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Seattle and more. It will later be available on VOD beginning Oct 12th