A group of men looking to escape their everyday lives, a couple of inept gangsters, and a one-eyed killer who thirsts for his kills cross paths in Ernar Nurgaliev‘s wild horror comedy Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It.
Slapstick comedy and irreverent bloodshed work hand-in-hand throughout the film’s crisp 85 minute running time, centring initially on the exhausted Das (Daniar Alshinov) who, to put it lightly, is growing increasingly frustrated with his pregnant wife. It’s something of a cliched set-up, but there seems to be an intention to playing to the expected tropes initially so that when Das and his archetypal buddies (Azamat Marklenov and Erlan Primbetov) set off on their fishing trip, we are all the more taken with the unexpected route the narrative takes them.
There’s a surprising depth to Das and his friends in the sense that its grounded in the fear of his impending fatherhood and their worry that once his baby is born they will lose contact. There’s something kind of beautiful about such vulnerability from masculinely-drawn men, but, at the same time, Sweetie… makes sure it never bogs itself down under an emotional core and delights in practical gore whenever it can.
Said gore – which included a surprise decapitation, gun shots to the head, and one helluva dislocated jaw – comes into proceedings when the side plots of the aforementioned gangsters and the one-eyed killer merge as one. The way Nurgaliev’s script fuses all their stories together is surprisingly natural, as high concept and coincidental it may be, and the eventual climax delights in maintaining the bloody yet comedically adept temperament it displays constantly throughout.
It may lean into juvenile jocularity on the odd occasion – who doesn’t love a well-timed fart joke though? – but considering that horror and humour are far more deceptively difficult to merge than people may expect, the conserving of its energy to execute laughs and shocks in equal measure means we can indirectly answer the title’s posing thought; we actually can believe it, sweetie.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is screening as part of this year’s Fantasia Film Festival, which is being presented both virtually and physically between August 5th – 25th, 2021. For more information head to the official Fantasia Film Festival page.