Written by Puño Estupendo
Sometimes a moviegoer strikes out. For whatever reason, you find yourself in the distasteful position of having just watched a complete piece of shit movie. It lingers in your brain with thoughts like, “Someone actually put up a lot of money to make that horrible waste of time?” and you scratch your head in disbelief. Same thing goes for an actor or actress that blows you away at how untalented they are and you just can't believe that they have any sort of fame whatsoever.
Keeping these things in mind, take to heart the name “David Arquette” and let your hopes of life having a fair-and-balanced reward system be completely dashed against the jagged rocks of failed cosmic karma. As if knowing he's out there as an actor isn't heartbreaking enough, now the man is writing, producing and (stab my eyes!) directing.
This brings us to his film The Tripper. Touted as a horror/comedy, I feel it very safe to say that it doesn't come close to being either scary or funny, but it definitely is disturbing. With a mixed cast of head-scratchers and good-enoughs, Arquette attempts to tell a tale about a serial killer with a Ronald Reagan-fixation who is killing modern-day “hippies” that are gathered in the forest for some sort of music festival. With a staggering amount of Reagan-era references that are just a little outdated, Arquette tries to make some grand statements about politics and social themes that are neither new or even, in this case, particularly well done. Mix in some awful attempts at gore and murder and you're pretty much caught up to speed on what to expect.
Now the truly sad thing is that some of the people in front of the camera are pretty good here. Jaime King is very likable in this, as is Lukas Haas, and you get surprise appearances by Paul Reubens and Thomas Jane. What they're doing in here kind of baffles me more than a little bit and leads me to think that Arquette must be a pretty charming guy to have talked these people into this movie. There's enough in the on-screen charisma amongst the cast to suggest to me that everyone involved in the making of this flick enjoyed themselves quite a bit. In the supplemental behind-the-scenes feature, everyone interviewed speaks kindly of him and are really positive about their involvement, but it's just not enough to make this thing work on any level.