Fantasia 2021 Review: SWEETIE, YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT, a Hilarious And Bloody Good Horror Comedy
Dastan has had about enough of his very pregnant wife’s nagging. On the cusp of the due date he decides to run away for at least one day with his friends, Arman and Murat, on a fishing trip. With a van loaded with fishing gear and blow-up sex dolls they head out into the country. Unfortunately for the trio they witness a mob shooting and are now running for their lives from a group of mostly inept brothers, including one who faints at the sight of blood. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to everyone, a one-eyed stranger is now hunting everyone. Misadventure, violence, and more await everyone over the course of a single night.
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It more than meets the requirements needed to be a complete and total crowd pleaser. There is a perfect balance of blow out laughs and blow up violence. Every joke lands, every bout of violence hits. At first the humor is statico banter, lengthy lines of yes you did, no I didn’t type of conversation that elicits its share of laughs. The majority of it is sight gag humor with traces of toilet humor tossed in for good measure.
Nurgaliev maintains near perfect pacing, knowing when to change up the moment, when to come back down from the laughs and the gore. It is cliche, but indeed there is never a dull moment in his horror comedy. He also understands that he needs to change his setting, that out in the backwoods, there are also cabins. If we all know one thing, nothing good comes from cabins in the middle of nowhere.
The violence comes by way of blade and a gun and provides an ample amount of gore. In the gore there are moments of shock and moments of levity. Everything comes in equal measure; there isn’t too much, there isn’t too little. It’s well executed, sometimes surprising, but is worthy of praise from all gorehounds.
The underlying message in Sweetie You Won’t Believe It though comes with the test of the trio’s friendship. Dastan is the only one who is married and the only one expecting a child. Arman runs a sex-toy business and Murat is a community police officer, who quotes a Russian tv series, Brigada. Theirs is the typical attitude towards the man who is in a relationship and it’s one that any guy has had however many times over in his lifetime (we cannot speak for the ladies). That attitude is that he no longer has time for his boys now that he is in a relationship.
Well, here is Dastan, in the ultimate level of relationships, who feels like he is being pulled in both directions, from his wife waiting for him to grow up, and his friends, who refuse to and just want to hang out. The definitions of friendship have changed for Dastan though and they’ve been having a hard time accepting that. In the end, when the dust settles and fire burns itself out, they will always be brothers but Dastan needs time for his family now. With that he accepts his responsibility as a husband and now a father. Will Arman and Murat accept this change as well?
Having survived the night Dastan races back home to find his wife, ready to accept his responsibility as a husband and a father. And though they may fall back into the same routine, that of rapidfire questioning about where he’s been and what happened, this is his choice. He will no longer run away.
The real shame of our current situation with the health crisis is that we are missing those moments that are talked about in the days after a screening. The were-you-at-that-screening moments. Ernar Nurgaliev’s horror comedy deserves those moments. It deserves to be on the tip of our tongues in the days that followed a hysteric late night screening with a rambunctious crowd.
Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It is now playing On Demand during the Fantasia Film Festival. Do yourself a favor. If possible, see it with as many family and friends as you can, it deserves the best crowd environment you can give it.