SXSW Film Review: Manson Family Vacation

Posted in Film, Reviews, SXSW
By Sam Bathe on 21 Mar 2015

J. Davis’ Kickstarter-funded debut is an intriguing road trip movie that’s far better than it ever deserved to be.

Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips play your stereotypical disparate brothers. One a responsible family man, the other a hapless dreamer, when Conrad returns from the life on the road to disrupt Nick’s family life, Nick agrees to one last zany idea. Only Conrad’s idea is for them to spend the day on a tour of Manson family tourist spots.

On a micro-budget, Manson Family Vacation is a tremendous success. Looking far out of their production bracket, and with the two stellar talents in Duplass and Phillips acting off against each other, it’s a recipe for success. Phillips’ zaniness is encapsulating and pulls off what could have been a silly, unbelievable character. You’ll hate Conrad – and Nick – at times, but they do enough to bring you back around.

The  film is gently funny, if a bit too slow, but the bizarro story line takes it to unexpected places and doing something different in the film industry right now is a much needed thing.


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