There is nothing more terrifying than having to meet the parents. When you have fallen in love with someone, it is the most excruciating rite of passage. After all, you have to make a massive impression on the mother and father, right? To show that you are good enough for their precious grown-up babe.
There is a (somewhat sexist) trope that new boyfriends meeting the father of their girlfriend is worse. After all, the Dad is a daughter’s “great protector.” How can any man compete with that?
Well, imagine if you had to meet your girlfriend’s dad for one reason alone – to kill him. Then you’ll understand the predicament of Kirill Sokolov’s debut feature Why Don’t You Just Die!
Bombastic and bloody, Why Don’t You Just Die! revolves around thug Matvei, a young man very much in love with this girlfriend Olya. At her behest, he turns up at the family Moscow apartment with hammer in tow and a killer intention of murdering patriarch Andrey. Havoc ensues when Matvei discovers that retired detective Andrey is more resilient than first presumed. Soon the house becomes a stage for hilarious hijinks and insane injuries. What’s more, sordid secrets are about to soak the floorboards with the blood.
Sokolov’s movie is a devilish and delightful film. The film is an inventive simple story that keeps unravelling in unique and unpredictable ways. Drenched in strong red and green colours (as well as copious amounts of that red stuff,) Why Don’t You Just Die! is horrific and hilarious but also striking to look at. There are ingenious and fluid camera movements that are reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino and classic samurai movies, showcasing the first-time feature filmmaker’s clear passion for cinema.
Why Don’t You Just Die! is movie is not without heart and there is a pulse beating beneath the bloodshed. This is in the form of lead actor Aleksander Kuznetsov who is plucky as the distressed Matvei. Fun to watch, Kuznetsov is a superstar in the making with such brilliant verve and comic timing. Kuznetsov plays opposite Vitaliy Khaev, the bald-headed villainous father who is tough, brutal, and yet has some sort of bewildered tenderness to him (especially when he talks to Olya, played with fantastically with Evgeniya Kregzhde.) He is great and watchable and the two make good sparring characters.
This (almost) one-set absurd play feels like a homage to classic Hitchcock or Tarantino films but with a brand new bite to it. Although there is a bit of a lag as new characters are introduced and the story becomes something completely different. Plus, there is a character here who is sadly side-lined and treated so poorly it is a shame they never get their revenge.
However, this splendidly grotty and brilliant film is an amusing adventure and utterly worth plunge into the gore. Sokolov is a great new voice in cinema. Why Don’t You Just Die! is highly entertaining and at a gleeful 95 minutes, it’ll keep you amused until the very end.
Why Don’t You Just Die! is out on Blu-Ray & Digital 20th April
It is on Arrow Video Channel, 4th May!