26th Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘Why Don’t You Just Die!’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Vitaliy Khaev, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Evgeniya Kregzhde, Mikhail Gorevoy, Elena Shevchenko, Igor Grabuzov, Aleksandr Domogarov, Ilya Gavrilenkov, Vasiliy Kopeikin | Written and Directed by Kirill Sokolov


Do you remember The Raid? If you’ve seen it you probably won’t ever forget it. Now imagine taking the brutality and physical violence of that film and transpose it to one apartment and only a handful of people. That’s Why Don’t You Just Die! in a nutshell.

The film tells the story of Matvei, who ends up at the door of corrupt detective Andrei after his resentful daughter asks Matvei to kill him for her. The reason? She claims that her father has repeatedly raped her since she was a child. Now Matvei does what every longing boyfriend would, he says yes. Only Matvei doesn’t bank on things going south quite so fast. He also didn’t bank on Andrei fighting back, his wife being there or on Andrei calling in backup in the name of his corrupt cop-buddy Evgenich. Locked inside this tiny Russian apartment, it turns our each one of the guests has a reason to kill Andrei but will any of them succeed?

Less a horror movie and more a violent action film, Why Don’t You Just Die! will be compared to a myriad of films, though in terms of pure storytelling methods I don’t think we’ve seen anything quite like this before. Lifting ideas from numerous movies and numerous filmmakers, Why Don’t You Just Die! mixes them together and throws in enough ideas of its own to feel like its own beast. And what a beast.

Starting off strong with an epic fight between Andrei and Matvei, Kirill Sokolov’s film never really lets up once it gets going. And that opening fight is brilliantly choreographed, mixing the modern stylings of John Wick with the gloriously over the top, often wince-inducing action sequences from the likes of Police Story and Armor of God – where you’re never really sure where the stunts end and the real-life pain begins; with one particular crash through a table that Jackie Chan would be proud of!

Whilst the violence keeps up a swift pace, Why Don’t You Just Die! does suffer from a mid-film lull as Sokolov slows the film down to tell more story, expanding on just how corrupt a cop Andrei really is. And while it may slow down the pace to something of a crawl, the film NEEDS this break not only to allow the audience to breath but also to convince said audience to – if they haven’t already – side with Matvei in these proceedings. For despite Matvei coming to kill Andrei, it turns out he really kind of deserves it!

Stylistically Why Don’t You Just Die! not only makes the most of the trappings of the action genre, all the wjhile lacing the film with some tremendously over the top splatter – there’s more blood in this film than there is in some horror movies. Seriously. Why Don’t You Just Die! features slow-motion, x-ray vision (as seen in the likes of Riki-Oh and Romeo Must Die), bone-crunching fist-fights, drills going through bone, gun shots, TV’s to the head, and even people thrown into walls – literally sticking in place! It’s complete and utter madness in the best possible way.

***½  3.5/5

Why Don’t You Just Die! screened at Arrow Video Frightfest on Saturday August 24th 2019.


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