A suspect meeting with the in-laws smacks with all the ferocity of a hammer to the groin at the start of Kirill Sokolov’s nutso comedy, Why Don’t You Just Die!, which is coincidentally just about the only thing that doesn’t take a hit in the first 20 minutes. From the second the doorbell rings and young Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) enters the abode of his girlfriend’s parents, it’s clear he has every intention to go full Oldboy on her father for reasons yet to be revealed. From there the stage is set for a fight sequence that zips and flies around this two-bit flat with the pace of a Mark Millar comic book, with Sokolov using every corner of it to cause damage in a ferociously wonderful effect – and he’s just getting started. Soon a few more vile visitors come knocking, leading to all-out carnage that continues to raise (and bloody) the bar, as secrets, betrayals and a big TV get thrown into the mix.
By minimising the terrain for the majority of the film to a living room and a bathtub escape that’ll make your tongue turn and your leg itch, Sokolov demonstrates (for the most part) great resourcefulness in just what he’s got on show and how he shows it. The only time we leave this crime scene-in-the-making is for flashbacks and off-kilter bits of info, which more often than not, act as breathing space to flesh out the despicable characters you’re spending time with. The main focus is on Kuznetsov’s heroic stranger (bloodied Batman hoodie and all), who takes a licking and who you quickly hope will keep on ticking. He’s squaring off against, Vitali Khayev’s dodgy detective (and father of the love interest) who has his own troubles besides a hammer-wielding 20-something, of which he shares a great chemistry with.
Pulling from the style and substance of Tarantino, Edgar Wright and Matthew Vaughn, Sokolov sticks them in a blender with just the right amount of red to paint the walls and his main players with impressive flair. Ensuring that no cast member walks away unscathed, he has enough carefully timed claret explosions to make you wince and wonder how certain people are standing (that title isn’t there for the hell of it). All of that would be schlock and awe-fully horrific injuries if it weren’t for a fairly compelling story that has some genuine surprises tucked away in the film’s third act. The only issue is the slight delays in getting there.
Even with all the adrenaline that’s pumping through its veins, there are times when the film’s pulse drops for superfluous stand-offs backed by operatic scores that don’t make an impact. For every bone-crunching hit that Sokolov throws between his cast, there are occasional misses, taking you out of the utter insanity that’s unfolding. These moments are thankfully blips in a brutally entertaining bit of fun. Why Don’t You Just Die! is a refreshing, action-packed entry with bruised knuckles and a twisted sense of humour. Enjoy!
Why Don’t You Just Die! is out on Blu-ray & Digital HD 20th April and on the Arrow Video Channel 4th May
Directed by: Kirill Sokolov
Written by: Kirill Sokolov
Cast: Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Vitaliy Khaev, Evgeniya Kregzhde, Michael Gor