In these times of pandemic and stay at home orders, many independent films that had once been slated to hit theaters are now arriving on demand and for digital rental at such places as iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play. While that’s likely not what their makers were originally hoping for, it’s still a blessing to have one’s film released at all these days. I imagine these various directors, writers, and producers are content to be able to entertain captive homebound audiences and take their minds off the current events at hand, if only for 90-120 minutes.
One such film arriving this week is the Arrow Video release of Kirill Sokolov’s Why Don’t You Just Die! This Russian film had a successful, award-winning film festival run last year, and it’s easy to see why. It is a blood-soaked, violent comedy, with a very dark sense of humor, and right from the get-go, it grabs the viewer by his or her lapels and doesn’t let go.
Matvey shows up at the doorstep of the apartment belonging to his girlfriend’s parents. Armed with only a hammer and a directive to kill his girlfriend Olya’s father, he finds his simple plan not so easy to execute. The father, Andrey, is a dirty cop who would think nothing of executing this interloper whose motive remains unknown to him until later. Complicating matters is the presence in the apartment of Olya’s mother, Tasha. She had been thought to be out of town but is all too present for the carnage that is soon to unfold.
In flashbacks, we learn the background of all of our main characters. Matvey is shown to be in love with Olya. Once we learn why she wants her father dead, we are on board with the planned execution. We also see some of the father’s dirty work with his cop partner Yevgenich, who is to show up to the apartment later and throw a pretty big wrench into the proceedings.
Writer-director Sokolov keeps things flowing steadily with various well-plotted reveals that maintain the viewer’s attention. For a film that is so reliant on one location, it never gets boring. There is always a layer of plot to be peeled back every few minutes or a moment of comedic violence to be enjoyed. The handful of cast members, unknown to American audiences, all fit into their roles well, with Vitaliy Khaev as Andrey impressing most with his bulldog-like pugnacity.
Why Don’t You Just Die! rewards fans of black, gallows humor with a surprise-filled tale of bloody mayhem. Within the confines of one small Russian apartment are enough gunshots and spurting arteries to fill another whole movie. That they’re all contained within just this one 100 minute film is all the better and more entertaining for homebound film fans looking for a fun cinematic distraction.
Recommended if you liked: Night Watch, Shaun of the Dead, Reservoir Dogs
FINAL GRADE: B+
Continue the LRM Online conversation on Discord by CLICKING HERE!
Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcast feed yet The LRM Online Podcast Network? This includes our flagship podcast Los Fanboys, our premiere podcast Breaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, GeekScholars Movie News, and our morning show LRMornings. Check it out by listening below. It’s also available on all your favorite podcast apps!