This gritty British horror based in the oh so lovely countryside is bursting with fresh ideas but is sadly let down by a poor script, some shoddy acting and a low budget. That said, its an enjoyable survivalist tale, even if it does feel incredibly pointless and desperate at times. Four friends have decided to hire a patch of land off a dodgy “geeza” in a local pub for a nights rest as they do some travelling around Britains countryside. The local pub is full of big skinheads with tattoos and lots of gold and don’t seem to take too kindly to strangers. It also doesn’t help that the four lads seem to have an attitude problem as one of them decides to mouth off about the locals being inbreds. Not a good start!
Openly talking about their hate of pikeys, they come across a caravan and one of the group, the one who has been on T.A weekends and knows how to “survive in the wild and be at one with nature” decides to graffiti the caravan with the words “pikey scum”. The Piekys return, clearly pissed off and instead of all running, one of the group of friends decides to wait behind and talk to them. Duh!! Stupid mistake number one! He gets taken captive and beaten, tied up in the caravan and teased by one of the Pikeys sisters. The rest of the gang go on the run and seem to spend the rest of their lives running around these woods with no plan, and no common sense. Stopping often to see if they are still being chased, or just stopping all together, it makes no sense. No one seems to want to save their friend, and no one really seems that desperate to leave. They just run round in circles as the Pikey’s chase them brandishing shotguns and big knives. Its all a bit daft really, and to keep things interesting we keep going back to the helpless guy tied up and how the sister makes bizarre converation and even tries to seduce him. Just to add to the menace, the brother of the sister is outside the caravan, getting more worked up as he pops his head, and his fists, in from time to time. He is due to take part in a bare knuckle boxing match later that night.
Things do take a slightly darker edge as the guys being chased end up in worse and worse situations, like being pissed on, stabbed or, heaven forbid, almost hitching a ride with two strangers. The chase through the never ending woods take up almost an hour of the film and starts to feel incredibly drawn out but things do improve as events turn nasty and some of the friends start to show their true colours. The violence is cleverly handled, whilst not showing too much, it manages to be quite vicious in places and slightly disturbing. The level of threat and menace from each situation and the way the camera is handled all make up for the poor quality, in fact, you start to get used to the poor quality and it starts to give the film a nice edge. However, the script is terrible. We lead to an almighty bare knuckle boxing match which, in real life, would have left a normal person dead. Again it is drawn out and even gives Rocky a run for his money, but it is still quite gritty and nasty to watch.
For all its flaws, Travellers does counter balance them with the odd moment of clever and interesting ideas and some decent plot twists. You get used to the bad acting, and somehow the characters really grow on you and become quite believable. The pace is incredibly drawn out though, and you do get a real feeling of desperation and running out of places to take the story at times. Never the less, Travellers deserves some recognition for some original and at times frightening ideas that just might get under your skin and unsettle you, then again it might not. Give it a go, you just may be surprised.