'All My Friends Are Dead' Review
Plot Synopsis: A New Year's party goes awry after a night of mayhem involving sex, drugs, betrayal and secrets being spilt.
Bringing a weird mix of 'American Pie' and 'Bad Times At The El Royale', 'All My Friends Are Dead' is the latest film from Poland to partner with Netflix, adding dark comedy into the mix as well as glimpses of horror. 'Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight' saw the first original Polish Netflix film reach the U.K. shores as a decent starting off point, producing a throwback to old 80's slasher films. The horror genre appears to be on the rise within the Central European country, producing ideas that oppose and challenge some of the political-Catholic beliefs that are rife within the country right now. The film doesn't present these parts in a rebellious fashion but their inclusion in such a nonchalant way is certainly a good thing, sticking a subtle middle finger up to those within the country who hold such outdated views. It's encouraging that even in this genre's first steps in a nation, the creators aren't holding back with their viewpoints and are still gaining support.
Despite the praise for the film's content use, it sadly does not mean that it is all good, in fact, there is a fair amount of dross within this flick. At only 96 mins long, the film spends a large chunk setting up each and every character and their current viewpoints. With this, the film does suffer from some pacing issues, with it taking quite a while to have an impact on the viewer, in either a shocking or comic sense. The story isn't added at all by the fact that the film has no likeable characters to the point where most become quite insufferable. In a horror setting like this, it is important to have someone that you want to root for but there isn't a single character to relate to or get behind. This reflects in a lot of the film's humour where there are many instances where its comedy is incredibly mean spirited. Yes, humour usually has a victim or someone whose misfortune is exploited but there are many instances where the jokes aren't natural, clever or simply funny. There are choices made by characters in this film that are really quite baffling and due to this, it becomes hard to buy into due to it not landing its laughs.
That's not to say the film doesn't have its moments, the aforementioned targeting of religious figures brings the films best ongoing gag that manages to remain fresh throughout the film. It is a very funny ongoing gag that the film could have done with a lot more of opposed to its main features. This cleverness is further shown in the way how the film manages to connect every person to one another, providing some shocks out of nowhere and injecting the film with some much-needed urgency. This does come quite late on but when the film goes all guns blazing, it can be a real good time, although there's a certain inclusion that spawned from the mean-spiritedness that feels completely out of place. On a further note, the very end of the film is a bizarre choice as well, halting the film's momentum rather unnecessarily for a film attempt at some comedy.
Similarly to 'Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight', there are glimpses in this film that show potential within some of the talents both on and off the screen. Julia Wieniawa stars in both of these films and continues to show her star power, this time taking a more silly turn as a cosmic obsessed loon. Wieniawa has shown good range in these two Netflix features so far and looks to be a talent they are looking to push as an emerging star. With plenty of time on her side, Wieniawa is one who could continue to progress and even look to merge with the world's mainstream if she continues at this rate.
'All My Friends Are Dead' is an easy enough watch but isn't exactly one to go and scream and shout about. It does have certain potentials but doesn't fully deliver on either the laughs or the thrills but is still entertaining enough in its own right. Another decent effort that will open the doors for more, check 'All My Friends Are Dead' out now on Netflix, available in both subtitled and dubbed versions.