Polish Cinema: All My Friends Are Dead (Jan Belci, 2020, Poland)

Drawing inspiration equally from American sex comedies like American Pie (1999), the Final Destination franchise, and Gaspar Noe's Climax (2018), All My Friends Are Dead is the feature film debut of director Jan Belci. The Netflix-produced film has an ensemble cast of mostly young actors, the most notable of which is probably Julia Wieniawa-Narkiewicz, who has featured in several other Polish Netflix films and boasts an enormous Instagram. The setup is simple - two police detectives arrive at a home where a New Year's Eve party has gone wrong, leaving everyone at the party dead. From there we go back in time to the start of the party, which starts innocently enough as the Polish equivalent of an American teen sex comedy.

Things begin to spiral out of control when a secret couple accidentally fires a gun mid-coitus, shooting and killing the host of the party. The proceedings become gradually raunchier, gorier, and generally nastier as the film progresses. Over time, all of the rivalries, jealousies, and personal grievances come to the fore, leading to chaos and eventually murder. Along the way are homages to various other movies - including Home Alone and The Shining - as well as a pop culture soundtrack that includes none other than Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart" at the finale.

All My Friends Are Dead is by no means a great film, but it is what it aspires to be - crass and raunchy entertainment. There are some inventive and humorous moments across the film, but the caricatures holding the film together just barely keep it sustained across the course of 90 minutes. Still, the film's finale is a quite impressive set piece that ultimately makes it worth the wait. For those looking for something mindless and stupid to watch over the holidays, you could do worse than this film.



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