As far as high-concept features go, the idea of setting a story in one location may be the most intriguing of all. Do you choose an open loft to breakaway from traditional confines? Do you set it in a sprawling house, so that each room can potentially hold its own brand of horrors? Or do you cheat ever so slightly, by jumping, via flashback, to one or two other locations without ever exploring the world as a whole? While it does step into that last arena ever so slightly, Why Don't You Just Die! is an immensely thrilling tale of two men trying to kill each other.
When Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) arrives at a nondescript Russian apartment, he does so with one goal in mind: to kill Andrei (Vitaliy Khayev ). The task was handed to him by his girlfriend, Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde), after she unloads upon him the tragedy of her childhood. Armed with only a claw hammer, Matvei's resolve is strong, convinced he can follow through and free the woman he loves from her great burden. The only problem is that Andrei is a police detective, as well as a hulking brute of a man.
Why Don't You Just Die! truly comes to life when it embraces absurdity and launches into one action sequence after another. Staging this all in one locale may seem limiting, but not when you throw all sense of reason or physics out the window. It just means that everything that appears onscreen can either be destroyed or used as a weapon. Butts get knocked through walls. Bones are broken. People are shanked. Heads get knocked around. Blood flows freely.
Substance-wise, Why Don't You Just Die! can be said to be lacking. Yet that's a small price to pay when the rollercoaster ride is this enjoyable. This is the kind of non-stop runaway train of a midnight film that people lose their minds over. Each moment raises the stakes in terms of tension, humor, and bloodshed. Oh goodness, the bloodshed. While not an outright horror movie by any means, this action spectacle rivals many films this past decade in terms of gallons of blood that we see spilled here.
At a scant 95 minutes, director Kirill Sokolov rushes headlong through his set pieces, stopping only the briefest of times to allow members of the audience to catch their breath. He uses these instances to fill in the backstory of some of the film's main players, which helps strengthen the twists and double-crosses along the way, and if you squint ever so slightly, you'd easily be forgiven for mistaking what transpires in Why Don't You Just Die! as a neo-noir of sorts. It doesn't fully commit to those tropes, though, but neither does it hurt the whole by including them. It just makes the film that much more wonderful in the process.
To be honest, the more you discuss Why Don't You Just Die! is to border on the hyperbolic. There's so much here to champion that it's surprising it never loses its focus. The chaos that transpires is just so cheer-worthy, and the gore quotient is rather high, with an endless stream of bloody geysers. It's just a fun film that's extremely well-made. And since this is only Sokolov's first feature, Why Don't You Just Die! should put him on everyone's radar immediately.
Movie Score: 4/5
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