Wisconsin Death Trip (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wisconsin Death Trip1999

Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Wisconsin Death Trip Photos

Movie Info

This film adaptation of Michael Lesy's 1973 book takes a look at the sordid and disturbing underside of life in a small Wisconsin community in the 1890s. In the early 1970s, Lesy discovered a large collection of curious photographs from Black River Falls, Wisconsin, taken near the end of the 19th century, and began doing research on the town in hopes of learning the story behind them. Lesy was startled by what he learned; over the course of a decade, Black River Falls fell victim to a severe diphtheria epidemic, the local economy collapsed following the shutdown of a mining business, a serial arsonist terrorized the community, a lunatic claiming to act under God's orders held 26 people hostage at the local church, two children murdered a farmer, a number of infants were abandoned or killed, and an undercurrent of violence and madness seemed to taint all aspects of the town's history. Using both the original photographs and silent recreations staged by director James Marsh (accompanied by narration from Ian Holm), Wisonsin Death Trip attempts to recreate the disturbing qualities of the photos and news clippings that formed the basis of Lesy's book. The film also features an original score by turntablist DJ Shadow.


Ian Holm
as Narrator
Jo Vukelich
as Mary Sweeney
Marilyn White
as Pauline L'Allemand
Jeff Golden
as The Newspaper Editor
Marcus Monroe
as Young Anderson
John Baltes
as Undertaker
Raeleen McMillion
as Crying Woman
Krista Grambow
as Mourning Woman
Clay Anton
as Eloping Man
Bobby Jo Westphal
as Eloping Woman
Zeke Dasho
as Edgar L'Allemand
Dave Broeren
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Carl Holzchuh
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Everett Schulz
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Mich Steenbenners
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Chris Holzchuh
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Dennis Laubenstein
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Jason Schraufnagel
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Matt Van Haren
as Sheriff's Posse Member
Mark Gubin
as Photographer
Jim Jones
as Editor's Assistant
Tess Miller
as Coffin Girl
Clay Simchick
as Hanging Man
Michael Olson
as Asylum Guard
Gerald Myhre
as Asylum Guard
Larry Birkett
as Unemployed German
Bob Hirschi
as Man in Snow
Steve Strobel
as Man in Snow
Jahn Rasmussen
as Norwegian Lunatic
Lloyd Mueller
as Krist Wold
Thomas Jacobson
as Baby in Snow
Will Roshke
as 9-Year-Old Shooter
Eddie Kunz
as Abandoned Boy
Leah Delaney
as Frozen Woman
Joseph Dana
as Girl at Window
Todd Bausch
as Hearse Driver
Brittany Istre
as Baptised Girl
Ron Pasta
as Minister
Jason Loewi
as Anderson's Brother
Harold Fager
as Holmfeldt
Jeana Stillman
as Drowned Girl
Ruth Johansen
as Norwegian
Roy Johansen
as Norwegian
Mary Jo Kennedy
as Norwegian
Forrest Stevens
as Norwegian
Colin Webster
as Edwin Miller
Julia Newby
as Lena Watson
Christy Monroe
as Kissing Girl
Michelle Vollmer
as Pregnant Girl
John Mason
as Stretcher Bearer
Kevin Gural
as Stretcher Bearer
Richard Johnson
as Religious Lunatic
Jessica Woodrow
as Minnie Dominitz
Molly Anderson
as Mrs. Larson
Liam Anderson
as Larson Child
Katherine Anderson
as Larson Child
Kevin Anderson
as Larson Child
Gene Kalmes
as Barn Fire Man
Angel Hamilton
as Fire Girl
Vania Prahcharov
as Praying Woman
Oscar Gutknecht
as Mr. Jones
James Gollato
as Bank Assassin
Don Rashke
as Bank Manager
Dave Schuster
as Colleague
Darleen Gutknecht
as Woman in Carriage
Drew Brhel
as Drunk Shooter
Sara Freeman
as Amy Miller
Lance Marsh
as Fred Shepherd
Karl Lewis Miller
as Jealous Husband
James Tasse
as Porter Ross
Carol Zippel
as Porter Ross's Victim
Lyn Neuenfeldt
as Porter Ross's Victim/Woman on Fire
Scott Glasser
as Porter Ross's Victim
Debbi Suomi
as Servant Girl
Molly Nikolic
as Servant Girl
Ali Idle
as Winter Bride
Paul Baesing
as Husband
Mary Jo Kassner
as Vomiting Woman
Mike Hanko
as Sheriff
Jim Moc
as Aged Father
Tyler Marenes
as Running Boy
John Battram
as Old Lunatic
View All

Critic Reviews for Wisconsin Death Trip

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (13)

Marsh's film alludes to the poor economy of the former mining town but has little else to say about potential causes or motivation. Marsh just piles the events on, as if there's black humor in their sheer volume. Nope, just a big boring pile.

March 3, 2014 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

The main problem with Wisconsin Death Trip is the way the format distances you from the subject matter, so that stories may shock, but they never move you.

March 3, 2014 | Full Review…

Wisconsin Death Trip chronicles, in bleakly funny vignettes, the marathon of perverse, violent, and frequently inexplicable acts of violence and insanity that gripped the seemingly cursed Wisconsin town of Black River Falls during the late 19th century.

March 3, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Wisconsin Death Trip is always lyrical, sometimes blackly farcical, and sometimes terrifying, as it reveals the romanticised American frontier's true desperation.

March 3, 2014 | Full Review…

Chillingly beautiful cinematography makes the state's landscapes appear timeless as it sets the stage for a grim history.

March 3, 2014 | Full Review…

Those who pine for the presumed simpler life and upright morals of yesteryear's small-town Midwest have a rude, albeit wry, awakening in store with Wisconsin Death Trip.

March 27, 2009

Audience Reviews for Wisconsin Death Trip

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