A remote cabin in the woods, somewhere in California. A husband and wife retreat to their isolated abode with the aim of revitalizing their marriage. Another couple soon arrives with an endless supply of red wine and similar ambitions for enlightenment. Entwined with nature, this curious foursome progresses from innocuous games and partner-swapping to breathing exercises, cleansing rituals and competitive spiritual gambits that approximate the threshold of physical and mental sanity.
Marked by formalistic flourishes and the claustrophobic atmosphere of approaching madness, Excursions probes the limits of intimacy, meaning and transcendence with equal parts lucidity and farce. Daniel Martinico's second feature premiered at Slamdance, Chicago Underground, East Oregon and New Orleans, and was named one of The Film Stage’s Best Undistributed Films of 2016.
"Excursions is one of the craziest things I've seen all year, an assured dive right into the deep end done with so much confidence and precision that it demands admiration… Much of Excursions is inexplicable in the best way possible, with Martinico abandoning convention as his film becomes more and more abstract once the characters come closer to their goal. It's a compelling and exhaustive experience, one that always feels like it's on the verge of devouring itself, but I think about it more than any other film I've seen all year"
"[A] beautiful yet beguiling experience… [Martinico's] enrapturing approach to purely visceral storytelling creates an entrancingly oblique piece of art that will most likely be too challenging for the average moviegoer, but will lull adept cineastes into a state of cinematic bliss"
"The best worst trip… Excursions, as a whole, is a blast to watch. It curtails exploitation and horror tropes with just enough verve to make fans of those genres nod in approval, yet makes fun of such things all the same. The film's funniest and most human thematic through-line probably comes in the notion that enlightenment can come in myriad ways... even in the ironic notion that there's no such thing as enlightenment at all"
"Carnal is a good word for this extremely visceral and disturbing piece— it's a movie both rhythmic and alienating; chances are that you won't hit the credits without feeling at least a little transformed"
"Stylized and wonderfully acted, Excursions provides us with a confident filmmaking style, a rigid internal logic and mesmerizing performances— all of which serve to take us through a transformative experience equal to those of the characters"