In a year where the inferior “Bohemian Rhapsody” promises to storm awards shows in 2019, “Heavy Trip” is a movie that’s far more deserving of audience attention. Like most of the best music oriented drama comedies, it’s an engaging, and very funny tale of a band with grand aspirations and have to literally fight to break out of their small home town in hopes of making it in the larger world they want to be a part of. “Heavy Trip” is centered on a group of aspiring death metal musicians from Finland, and you’d think a movie with a focus on that music genre would be more niche than anything, but Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s drama comedy is basically for everyone and anyone who has had a dream at one time or another.
Turo is the front man for a death metal band that he formed with his three friends. They’re stuck in a small town, consistently ridiculed and chastised by locals, all of whom view them as weird and freaks. Nevertheless, Turo is anxiously trying to find the band’s own unique sound, and ends up finding it in the most unlikely places. When his band mate Lotvonen comes across a promoter for a very popular Norwegian Death Metal music festival, they hand him their demo and on the basis of their small meeting, they become instant celebrities. But when the fate of their gig comes in to doubt, Turo must keep the secret, maintain the momentum and figure out how to get to Norway with band mates Jynkky, Lotvonen and Pasi. “Heavy Trip” is a refreshing outside the box coming of age drama comedy that channels the likes of films like “Airheads,” “The Blues Brothers” and “Sing Street.”
It’s a tale of music lovers trying to find a way to turn their love for the art in to something that can drive their lives, and their mission to break free from the restraints of their home lives and small town prejudice amounts to a wonderful and occasionally moving drama comedy. Despite the cultural difference, Jukka Vidgren, and Juuso Laatio’s film presents a very relatable setting and abundance of eccentric characters. This town could be literally any town in the world, and the foursome of rockers have to figure out if they ultimately can decide their own fate or give in to the idea that they’re fated to just be simple farmers and butchers. The comic direction and ace performances make “Heavy Trip” a surprisingly funny film that relies on the death metal aesthetic time and time again.
The world these four live in surrounds death and blood, and they take no shame in worshipping the very idea of death and mutilation, especially when they begin finding an identity for their group. The directors manage to stage some of the weirdest and funniest comedic bits around a vat of blood, projectile vomit, and animal body parts. “Heavy Trip” is a movie that spotlights the death metal lovers for once, embracing the whole art of performing the sub-genre, and how their love for the music inspires these small town guys to go as far as they can. They risk life and limb, and even break a few laws for the sake of finding their chance to show what they can offer the world, and there are plenty of laughs and tears to be had. “Heavy Trip” is such a surprise out of the gate, it’s a universal tale of big dreamers and music lovers, and despite its slight horror aesthetic, it’s a gem deserving of a larger following.
Featured on the DVD is a reel for bloopers and bonus scenes. There’s also an original song from “Flooding Secretions,” and a segment featuring real bands reacting to the song by Impaled Rektum. There’s also the segment featuring Heavy Trip being shown in Texas, and finally Jouni Tulkku & The Star Mustaches Karaoke. There’s no word yet if “Heavy Trip” will get a blu-ray release, but it’s obviously going to happen soon.