Sweetie, You Won't Believe It Movie Review
Written by Joanna K. Neilson
Released by Art Dealers
Directed by Yernar Nurgaliyev
Written by Zhandos Aibassov, Yernar Nurgaliyev, Daniyar Soltanbayev, Il'yas Toleu, Anuar Turizhigitov and Alisher Utev
2021, 84 minutes, Not Yet rated
Released on 13th September 2021
Daniar Alshinov as Dastan
Asel Kaliyeva as Zhanna
Azamat Marklenov as Arman
Yerlan Primbetov as Murat
Dastan is a hapless husband, trying and failing to do what’s right by his pregnant and extremely angry wife, Zhanna. But things are not going well. It just seems like he can’t catch a break with her and nothing he does is ever right. Sick of being constantly berated, and rather than lose his temper, he understandably decides to let off some steam by going fishing with his two equally hapless friends.
Unfortunately, their little ‘back to nature and escape the wife’ fishing trip soon turns into something far more insane. Not least because none of them knows how to fish in the first place and their boat is made out of, well...not a boat.
What happens next isn’t quite Deliverance, thankfully, but also not that not far off, as a lot of VERY BAD THINGS begin happening in the Khazakstan backwater. Turns out, trying to escape your problems inevitably leads to almost certain death! Things get increasingly surreal, bloody and bloody funny as they try to survive a series of truly unfortunate events. An angry local gang, a very sketchy garage attendant and a poor dead dog all add up to make their lives a living hell. The question is, can the underprepared best mates ever make it out of this backwater in one piece and just who is that lethal, hardcore survivalist that they’ve also managed to enrage?
Look, if horror films have taught us anything it’s that you just don’t go on holiday to the countryside, OK? It never ends well. This film has more than enough spooky cabins and creepy locals to enforce that trope, but at least it delivers all of that with a welcome change of pace. Spot-on comic timing and masterful tension in the same breath combines beautifully with these characters who we actually give a damn about. Dopey and unreliable as the three men are, it’s clear they’ve blundered into all of this and are completely out of their depth. You’re never quite sure what terrible thing is going to hit them next. In fact, this is more like Deliverance meets The Hangover!
Frankly, it’s best to go in blind and then watch wide-eyed as the insanity unfolds. Less a typical horror film than a very well-made, hilariously gory comedy-thriller. Every scene gets maximum fun out of its inventive ideas. However, its biggest strength is those excellently drawn characters, which keep the wackiness grounded and the survival stakes properly high. Nobody is quite what they seem here and even Zhanna the angry, scary wife gets a moment of real sweetness.
A smart and unusual movie from an unexpected place, you really can believe that this is worth a look. True, it is also very rude, very silly, and very over the top - but because, and even despite all of that, it’s also brilliant and very funny. Recommended.
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