Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Our guy in the Cemetery (orig. Парень с нашего кладбища / Paren s nashego kladbishcha) [2015]

MPAA (Would be PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
KinoPoisk.ru listing*
Kino-teatr.ru listing*
Megacritic.ru listing*

afisha.ru (S. Obolonko) review*
KinoArt.ru (N. Tsyrkun) review*
Kino-teatr.ru (A. Flipov) review*
Kommersant.ru (A. Solntseva) review*
NewsLab.ru (S. Mezenov) review*
OVideo.ru (I. Kershnev) review*
Rossiyskaya Gazeta (A. Litovchenko) review*
TenStars.ru (Y. Sa) review*
TimeOut.ru (D. Ruzaev) review*
VashDosug.ru (I. Gireiev) review*

Our Guy in the Cemetery (orig. Парень с нашего кладбища / Paren s nashego kladbishcha) [2015] [IMDb] [KP.ru]* [KT.ru]* [MC.ru]* (codirected by the brothers Anton Chizhikov [IMDb] [KP.ru]* [KT.ru]* [MC.ru]* and Ilya Chizhikov [IMDb] [KP.ru]* [KT.ru]* [MC.ru]*, screenplay by Vladimir Seryshev [IMDb] [KP.ru]* [MC.ru]*) is a rather straight-forward but effective youth-oriented Russian "scary movie" which serves as the 4th stop on my 2016 Russian Film Tour.

Unsurprisingly ;-), this film has proven FAR MORE POPULAR among Viewers/Readers on the MegaCritic.ru website (who ranked it as the #5 best/most popular Russian film of 2015) than the previous (headier, if also taken more seriously) two films that I reviewed as part of this tour.

The film centers around Kolya (played by Aleksandr Pal [IMDb] [KP.ru]* [KT.ru]*) a 20-or-so year- old "kid" from "the Provinces" who comes to Moscow having been promised a job by his somewhat swarmy Uncle Vasya (played by Aleksandr Ilin [IMDb] [KP.ru]* [KT.ru]*).  Yes, Kolya's uncle wasn't lying to him, completely... He did have a job for him -- as a watchman at an ancient creepy looking cemetery (where he himself was the manager) at the far, FAR EDGE of ... "Is this still Moscow?" asks a bewildered Kolya who may have wondered why he "left the village" for "all this" to begin with.  "Yes it is," his uncle insists (even as he's forcing Kolya to call him Vasiliy Ivanovich, even though he's supposed to be his uncle) "You know, Moscow's growing everyday."   Kolya's unconvinced, but what's he supposed to do?  He's already talked to his grandma that he's arrived, that uncle Vasya's picked him up at the depot and all ... Why cause waves?

Well a pretty good reason to have caused waves or at least ask questions would have been once he spotted HUGE dried blood stain on the floor right by the bed in the watchman's shack where he was to stay.  Instead, while _definitely_ taking note of the HUGE blood stain, he -- a young man from the countryside -- gets a pail of water, some lie soap and a brush, washes the stain away.

Indeed, A GOOD PART OF what makes the film FOR ME (and I suspect a lot of the Russian Viewers/Responders who liked the film on megacritic.ru) was Kolya's attitude.  YES the job sucked, YES he was repeatedly lied to by his swarmy, "city-slicker WANNA BE" uncle.  NO he wasn't even told that the last 5 watchmen RAN AWAY _screaming_ from this job ... Hence probably why his "uncle" had to reach back all the way to _his family_ back in the Provinces (who wouldn't have known any better...) to find someone like his nephew Kolya to take the job.  But there he was, Kolya, AND THIS WAS HIS JOB.  And so he did it.

There's _a lot_ of "Paul Blart" in this film (which I also LOVED).  Indeed, part of what made the film endearing is that yes, as a GOOD "genre film" it _freely_ borrowed from _a lot_ of similar (but also SIMILARLY POPULAR) "genre films" from both the U.S. and Russia.   Among the American films that this film borrowed from would have been the Night at the Museum [2006-2014] movies as well as The Sixth Sense [1999] and perhaps The Evil Dead [1981].  There is also explicit reference (arguably more like an advertisement ;-) to a recent Russian horror film called The Queen of Spades: The Dark Rite [2015] [IMDb] [KP.ru]*[MC.ru]*.

So why did all those watchmen run _screaming_ from this job before?  Well, the place was "hopping" (with all sorts of characters) pretty much every night ... late, late at night.  Yet, also amusing was self-deprecating humor of it all:  For this was Russia after all ... and with all the organized crime in Russia these days -- the Living are OFTEN _EASILY_ as FRIGHTENING as ... the Dead ;-).

So even the Dead that he runs into walking the grounds of the Cemetery at night look to poor 20-year-old Kolya "from the Provinces" / "from the Village" to "keep them safe."

So this is a GREAT and often VERY FUNNY FILM :-)

Honestly good job! ;-)

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser. 

** To load Websites from South, East and Eurasia in a timely fashion, installation of ad-blocking software is often required.

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