Netflix is releasing another bloody Polish film production. With All My Friends Are Dead This time there is a lively, cynical party comedy to marvel at. We’ll reveal in our review whether it’s convincing.
All My Friends Are Dead by Netflix
The plot summary
It was just supposed to be a lively New Year’s Eve party. But no one present could have anticipated how disastrously this celebration would derail: the uptight couple was persuaded that they were not yet mature enough for marriage (and that they had bad sex). Other couples argue about party behavior due to jealousy or embarrassment. The pizza boat finally wants to be paid – and is constantly receiving bad news on the phone. The exchange student discovers sexual desires for the first time. And then the pistol drawer is unlocked…
A casual, heavy bass is plucked while yellow letters are emblazoned on a black background. But not just any yellow letters: the opening credits of “All My Friends Are Dead” are in the ITC Benguiat font. If it doesn’t ring a bell for you yet, that would be understandable – after all, who cares so much about the fonts that can be seen in films? Nevertheless, director Jan Belcl very accurately evokes a certain feeling: yellow letters (optionally on a black background) are one of the stylistic trademarks of cult director Quentin Tarantino – and the font ITC Benguiat was used in the opening and closing credits of his international breakthrough film “Pulp Fiction”. Add to that the relaxed retro rock on the soundtrack, and at the beginning of “All My Friends Are Dead” you feel like you’re in a Tarantino homage.
May the party escalate…
However, the comedy with a high body count, also written by Jan Belcl, is not a freeloader that comes almost three decades too late and wants to ride a “Pulp Fiction” wave. The Tarantino influence cannot be denied even beyond the visual and acoustic design of the opening credits: there are numerous pop culture quotes (characters speak of Lolek and Bolek, “Home Alone” and quote Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man”), pointed ones Pop music elements are used, a character is rammed into the chest with a syringe in the style of “Pulp Fiction” and there is accidental, drastic violence that Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield have already endured. But despite these references and influences, “All My Friends Are Dead” is its own thing: a teen party comedy that escalates to death.
“There are numerous pop culture quotes, pointed pop music inserts, a character has a syringe rammed into his chest in the style of “Pulp Fiction” and there is accidental, drastic violence like Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield had to endure.”
The biggest point of criticism that “All My Friends Are Dead” has to put up with is that it gets comparatively little out of its premise. The film opens with the police raiding a house on New Year’s Day and finding mountains of corpses there – as well as a seriously injured survivor who shudders: “All My Friends Are Dead” The cops wonder how that could have happened, and one Flashback gives us the answer. The macabre tension curve (and at the same time humor mechanics) is obvious: We know the absurd, bloody outcome of the New Year’s Eve party shown as a flashback – and it is a cynical pleasure to tensely wait to see how the good-humoured start of the party turns into the desolate aftermath , which we already know. But anyone expecting a comedy battle record peppered with slapstick violence will inevitably be disappointed by “All My Friends Are Dead”.
“Shining” reference included.
It takes a very long time to create a large part of the deadly commotion in a very short narrative time. So there’s no bloody, bone-crunching, hilarious tour-de-force like the Russian Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino nod to “Why Don’t You Just Die!” – the New Year’s Eve party full of teenagers derails for long stretches and people in their twenties who continue to pursue young adults, just in a way that derails the bachelorette party in Girls’ Night Out. And with significantly less wordplay than in the Scarlett Johansson vehicle. But once you have adjusted your own expectations, “All My Friends Are Dead” is a mean little comedy full of thieving foreshadowing (pay attention, for example, to which characters are staged in such a way that their heads are between two decorative guns in the living room appears) and hustle and bustle threaded with cynical humor. The ideas for how Belcl upsets the party they have created are sometimes very clumsy: there are two “sisters in spirit” who are so horny that they overlook the most obvious warning signs in their sex campaign. Then there is the strictly religious schoolboy who rushes headlong into sexual adventures and therefore has remorse. There is the uptight couple who let friends and confidants heat them up. And so forth…
“For long stretches, the New Year’s Eve party full of teenagers and people in their twenties who continue to pursue young adults just derails in the way that the bachelorette party in Girls’ Night Out derails.”
This illustrious group of cannon fodder is really not characterized imaginatively, and therefore some of the gags are very predictable. However, the young cast plays their roles with a certain, not too gaudy, liveliness, which works well in this film: the actors create their characters in such a cartoonish way that it fits their character drawing without turning them into annoying shooting gallery characters ( Except for the extra-ratty “sisters in spirit” who remain a bilious cliche). Even if the promised peaks of cartoon violence in “All My Friends Are Dead” remain sparse, waiting for them also has its charm, as Jan Belcl sends his exaggerated partygoers to their doom with suffering and misunderstandings with pointed joy and the whole thing has a solid look lost. If the overstretched middle section were crisper, All My Friends Are Dead would be a wickedly funny Netflix insider tip. This title, on the other hand, falls into the category: Fresh talents who still need to hone their skills make a film that you can watch if you are interested in the basic idea, but really doesn’t have to watch.
Conclusion: All My Friends Are Dead is a cynical, frivolous youth comedy with a bloody promise, flat (but cheerfully played) characters and a great role model that it is nowhere near equal to.
All My Friends Are Dead is now available to stream on Netflix.