Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Killing Them Hardly

Less "two steps forward, one step back" than it is "two screeching leaps forward, one violent trip onto your face back," Kirill Sokolov's debut feature titled Why Don't You Just Die! (out this week on demand and also on blu-ray) is kinetic action in a chicken coop -- Run Lola Run if Lola was confined to a kitchen cabinet. A kitchen cabinet on fire. A kitchen cabinet on fire with four other folks inside beside her. Four other folks inside beside her who are all holding running chainsaws. It's a big swing and, if you ask me, a gorehound's new goofball classic -- nihilist neo-noir to the Looney Tunes Nth.

I don't know that anybody has ever asked themselves, in the history of being, or of thinking, what it would look like if you were to smash up early Sam Raimi at his violent slapstick wackiest with the slow-mo hyper-saturated groove of Wong Kar-wai -- like seriously who would have thought to ask such a thing? But if they were to consider such a query out the other end of their brain would've popped this  nutso little trinket, an Evil Dead starring Russian Gangsters, Dirty Cops, Scheming Daughters, Sacks of Cash and the prettiest snub-nosed dumb-assed sucker mark you ever done seen.

That snub-nosed dumb-assed sucker mark goes by the name of Matvey (played by the leaner, stranger Jai Courtney doppelgänger Aleksandr Kuznetsov), and the film opens with him standing on an apartment doorstep ringing the doorbell with a big ol' hammer hidden behind his back. The door will eventually open and all hell of the hammer-sort will break loose, over and over and over again, doubling and tripling and possibly quadrupling (I definitely lost count with the flashbacks) back upon itself, all in order to shake out the who-what-why's that led to that doorstep and that hammer and every square inch of violence hidden inside those cramped, crumbling quarters.

The main beat is the apartment belongs to Matvey's new girlfriend's Olya's parents, and believe me unless your name is Hatfield-McCoy (or perhaps Capulet-Montague) you've never seen a "Meet the Parents" riff quite anything like this one. You know the old line about the father holding the shotgun to the groom's back beside the pregnant bride? This is like that just run through a paper shredder, taped back up, and then translated into Russian. Everybody's got ten secret intentions, two hidden partners, and not nearly enough time to explain any of it before the next part's started -- this is ninety minutes of go go go, where those go's are standing for good gore and gone before the mutilated carcasses hit the floor. Great fun!

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