You Won’t Believe Just How Good Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It (FANTASTIC) Is
Title: Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It
First Non-Festival Release: TBD
Director: Yernar Nurgaliyev
Writer: Zhandos Aibassov, Yernar Nurgaliyev, Daniyar Soltanbayev
Runtime: 84 Minutes
Starring: Daniar Alshinov, Asel Kaliyeva, Erlan Primbetov
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Fantastic Film Festival 2021.
Dastan (Daniar Alshinov) is bickering with his pregnant wife Zhanna (Asel Kaliyeva) when he decides to go on a fishing trip with his best friends Arman (Azamat Marklenov) and Murat (Erlan Primbetov). After a visit to a creepy gas station and experiencing some issues on the road, they finally find themselves relaxing in the water. Everything is going great until they accidentally witness the murder of a man at the hands of four brothers who are now after them to ensure they never talk. They’ve also crossed paths with a man who has made it his mission to kill the brothers after they killed his beloved pet. And in all this insanity Zhanna calls Dastan to let him know she’s in labor. Take one guess on how she is going to react to all this once, or if, Dastan makes it out alive.
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is a wonderfully gory and sentimental horror comedy import from Kazakhstan.
Slapstick horror comedy done right, Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It succeeds in telling its ridiculous comedy of errors, friendship, and murder. Relying heavily on comedic timing, the film pieces together a nice mixture of excellent jokes to provide levity to the insane situation. Ranging from clever wordplay, physical comedy, and situational irony, nothing is off limits or underdone here. It has a great rhythm of balancing the jokes and moments of tension. The only major story issue comes from the lack of explanation as to why the man has a sudden change of heart and goes after the trio too. There are also a few logic gaps that are noticeable but don’t take too much to ignore. Aside from that, it’s straightforward and well-written.
Everyone does a fine job bringing their characters to life. Their comedic timing is on point and the cast, particularly the three friends, are good at consistently portraying all of their various wounds. It’s a nice touch in a genre where actors often forget they should be limping or otherwise signaling their injury. Another cool aspect to Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is the maturation and development of its characters. By the end of the film, the crew organically understands how to best look out for each other and why their friendship has been so strong. Too often in horror films is this nature of strained friendships ignored or underbaked. It’s nice to see it so well-done here.
Alshinov’s Dastan has a nice character arc moving from avoiding responsibility to doing whatever it takes to be present for his family. His friends go through similar but smaller transformations regarding courage and friendship. This leads to some nice moments on masculinity and what it means to be a man and a friend, which is oddly touching and refreshing in a horror film of this nature. Kaliyeva’s Zhanna gets shafted in the end. She deserves to be more than a nagging wife and her complaints about her husband are super valid.
In addition to the great story and fun characters, Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is just a well-made movie. A concise watch with a rapid-fire pace, it is an easy watch that maximizes every moment to its greatest potential. The soundtrack is energetic mixing a classic horror score with some Kazakh rap and hip hop. It also sports some excellent gore and practical effects. The fight sequences are dynamic, and you can tell that everyone is fully present. This is potentiated by some unique POV shots particularly when the gang is running, avoiding capture, and fighting.
There’s not much left to say, Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is just a fun little film. It has plenty of action, gags, and hilarious moments to make admission worthwhile. Given its short runtime and brisk pacing, it’s also a rather accessible for those wanting a gateway into non-English language horror but want something a bit familiar before straying too far. I recommend checking out when it officially gets its wide release in the US, which will more than likely look like a Shudder or Netflix deal if anything. You’re not going to believe how good of a time you’ll have with this movie.
Overall Score? 7/10